An Explanation of Procedural Safeguards Available to Parents of Children with Disabilities
Under Provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rules for the Administration of the Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA)
Littleton Public Schools
5776 South Crocker Street
Littleton, CO 80120
Opt-In/Opt-Out procedures have been developed by the district. Parents can expect the use of consistent standards in all district schools for opting-in and opting-out of programs, events, or activities.
Students will not intentionally be made to feel different, nor will parents, choosing to exercise their right to opt-in or -out, be criticized for their decision. Littleton Public Schools places a high value on maintaining strong partnerships with parents in monitoring the use of potentially controversial instructional materials in classrooms. In accordance with Board of Education Policy, parents can expect to be informed of plans to use instructional materials that may reasonably be considered controversial.
Primary instructional materials require approval by the Board of Education before classroom use. Students may be asked to read a fiction or nonfiction book from the district's approved literature list. The district has an approval process teachers must follow to add titles to the K–12 Multiple Copy Literature List.
Opt In/Opt Out Procedures related to Activities, Programs and Events
Parents can expect the use of consistent standards in all district schools for opting-in and opting-out of programs, events, or activities. Under no circumstances will students intentionally be made to feel different, nor will parents choosing to exercise their right to opt-in or opt-out be criticized for their decision.
Opt-out (parent request required for nonparticipation) applies to occasional activities that are related to the Board adopted curriculum. Opting-out always requires a showing of a legitimate reason for the request. Replacement activities may or may not be provided depending on the specific activity.
Parents shall be notified by the school about upcoming programs, events, or activities in sufficient time and detail to allow time to opt out if desired. Subject to district and state graduation requirements and the compulsory school attendance laws, parents may exercise the right on behalf of their child to opt-out of:
Schools will make their best efforts to identify and notify parents of the teaching materials or methods of instruction in upcoming curriculum that may reasonably be foreseen to offend the moral, ethical, religious, or political conscience of individuals, allowing adequate time for parents to review materials and opt-out if desired.
Where there is doubt as to whether a program, event, or activity is opt-in or opt-out, opt-in procedures shall be used.
Opt-in (parent permission required for participation) pertains to school offerings that are not part of the Board-adopted or approved curriculum, are not required by law to meet compulsory attendance or credit standards, and are not generally accepted regular matters of course within the school year. For all opt-in offerings scheduled to take place during regular school hours, replacement classes or other alternatives will be provided for students who do not opt-in. District employees will provide timely notice to parents about opt-in programs, events, or activities so parents can make an informed decision about whether their children will participate. Children will not be allowed to participate in the following programs, events, or activities without parent permission:
Activities having a potential for increasing liability to the district, e.g., field trips, ropes course, jump rope for life, athletics, dispensing medication.
Programs, activities, or materials that can be reasonably interpreted as containing religious messages, instruction in values, or controversial moral or ethical principles, or that may result in an invasion of the student's or family's privacy, e.g.:
Programs where opting-in is a requirement of the law, e.g., special education or any federal program covered by PPRA, supra.
One-to-one or group counseling situations when counselors, social workers, or psychologists are involved with elementary or middle school students, except as required for compliance with state and federal laws concerning the education of students with disabilities, compliance with child abuse and neglect reporting obligations, in emergency situations wherein there is a bona fide concern that the student's safety or health is in jeopardy, and when discussing academics or discipline problems.
Current policies that specifically refer to opting-in and -out of programs and activities include the following: IHAIA; IHAM; IHAM-R; IJOA-R; IMA; IMBB; JLDAC; JRA/JRC.
Opt-in/opt-out procedures were originally discussed by the Board of Education in 1995, and last updated in 2000.
Use of Controversial Instructional Materials
Littleton Public Schools places a high value on providing students with a rigorous educational experience. School Board policy states that it is appropriate for schools to offer opportunities for students to address controversial topics in an intellectual manner. Therefore, as students mature, so does the content that they study in schools.
Core and supplemental materials designated for instructional use must be approved by the Board of Education. A district Literature Approval Committee, comprised of teachers, administrators, and community members, receives literature recommendations from teachers. The committee reviews literature for its alignment to district curriculum, as well as for the maturity level of the students for whom the content is intended. The approval committee then decides which books to forward to the Board of Education for approval.
The district also places a high value on maintaining strong partnerships with parents in monitoring challenging instructional materials. Board policy states that parents will be informed of material that may reasonably be considered controversial. Information to parents should be sufficient to raise their attention to possible controversial material.
In addition, the LPS Opt-In/Opt-Out procedures supports the parent option to request that an alternative material be selected. An effective partnership is established when teachers communicate information about challenging instructional materials and parents actively monitor the books that their children are reading.
To support a conversation about the benefits and drawbacks of exercising the Opt-Out provision, the district encourages parents with questions about the instructional resources to meet with the teacher before making a decision.
LPS teachers will provide information about instructional materials to all parents. Websites such as bookreporter.com and sparknotes.com offer brief summaries of literature for parents to review. Parents are expected to take an active role by monitoring the literature read by their student for classes and communicating questions or concerns to the classroom teacher. Through shared responsibility, LPS students benefit from learning in a setting that values both parent choice and the use of a variety of challenging instructional materials.
Board policies related to use of instructional materials include: IJK, IJK-R, IMA, IMA-R, and INB.
Primary instructional materials must be approved by the Board of Education. The K-12 Multiple Copy Literature List identifies fiction and non-fiction books that support district-approved curriculum learner objectives and may be used as primary instructional materials in classrooms.
The approval process for books appearing on the Multiple Copy Literature List is rigorous and ensures that multiple readers have assessed the merits of new additions to the list. Highlights of the process include the following:
The Littleton Public Schools Literature Approval Committee is comprised of district staff and community members who review all fiction and non-fiction books submitted for approval. Membership is established at the beginning of each school year, and the committee is coordinated by the LPS curriculum department. The committee meets four or five times a year as needed.
Primary responsibilities of the Literature Approval Committee include reviewing books submitted by teachers for consideration to be added to the Multiple Copy Literature List. The committee considers alignment to the approved district curriculum and the appropriateness of content for students at the recommended grade level.
After its review, the committee may accept, reject, or revise requests for approval. Books recommended for approval by the Literature Approval Committee are forwarded to the Board of Education for its review and final decision.