Lakota board appoints residents to help with curricula review

A first-time citizens advisory team to provide Lakota Local Schools officials with reviews of school curricula has been chosen by the members of the district’s school board.

The appointees — one each from the five board members — were recently shared publicly by the Lakota Board of Education.

The Community Curriculum Advisory Team (CCAT) is a new feature for the 17,200-student school system, which is the largest in Butler County.

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The team’s creation stems in part from discussions last year by some board members and residents alleging that portions of Lakota’s curricula contained Critical Race Theory (CRT) lessons.

Lakota district officials, however, have refuted such allegations while noting the school system follows Ohio Department of Education guidelines for the teaching of Social Emotional Learning (SEL).

Moreover, both district officials and board members have repeatedly invited school parents or others since 2022 to report any alleged CRT-oriented learning materials for their review.

Earlier this year, the board voted to conduct an audit of its curricula and that process would include participation of the five just-appointed Lakota residents, all of whom have no employment connections to the district.

Each of the five CCAT members will serve for two years, Lakota officials announced in a recent statement.

Among the five appointees is Vanessa Wells, a former Lakota school board candidate who in 2021 won a lawsuit settlement against Lakota for the board’s violations at that time of Ohio open public meeting laws.

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Wells was appointed by member Darbi Boddy.

Interim Superintendent Robb Vogelmann said the team will review both current and new curricula added to the district’s classroom offerings.

“They might provide a first glance at the program of studies each fall, for example, and new courses that are coming online,” said Vogelmann.

Lynda O’Connor, president of the school board, said newly created team “is much broader than just a curriculum audit or a curriculum review.”

Besides Wells, other board members and their appointees are: Julie Shaffer appointee Michael Albrecht; Kelley Casper appointee Regina McCall; Isaac Adi appointee Ian Murray and O’Connor appointee Dr. Diane Wiater.

For more information and to review the participant applications filled out by school board members go to the Lakota website.

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