WESTBROOK — An upcoming outside review of Westbrook schools’ curriculum for inclusivity and racial equity could result in long-term changes to what the schools teach, the superintendent says.

The audit, the first of its kind for the schools, will ensure the district’s instruction matches its “dedication to equity,” Superintendent Peter Lancia said this week.

“In order to be responsible to our equity plan, we need to make sure that our curriculum provides the opportunities for all stories to be told, all voices to be heard, is unbiased and is a viable curriculum for students to learn,” Lancia said.

Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, a Maryland-based nonprofit, will conduct the audit. Funding comes from grants to MEAC and there will be no costs to the school district, Lancia said. No timeline has been set. School officials were scheduled to meet this week on the details.

School Committee Chairperson Noreen Poitras said the audit will ensure “we are teaching kids what they need.”

“It’s truly helpful because we could think we are on track with equity, but they may come in and see something totally different,” Poitras said Wednesday.


Lancia expects changes across all grade levels and subject matter.

“In social studies, we might see we haven’t done as strong of a job in telling the native American history or Wabanaki studies, a required part of the state curriculum. We may realize we need to strengthen that. We would rewrite some units or bring in some new learning experiences,” Lancia said.

In English, Lancia said, the audit will look at books assigned by teachers and at the school library collections.

“We may realize that the majority of books that students are exposed to and taught with are not contemporary books. They may be books from the late 20th century or didn’t represent authors of color or other cultures or characters,” he said. “If we realize we need more books by people of color, that may lead to how diverse our library collections are.”

The schools’ hiring and disciplinary actions also will be examined to make sure they are sound and fair to minority groups.

Another example, he said, is determining if the high school’s AP classes are proportionate to the student body.

“As we look at systemic change, all things are connected but need a spotlight, he said.

Mid-Atlantic will leave the district with instructions on how it can self-audit the curriculum, so the work can be ongoing.

I’ve never done a formal equity audit like this or worked with this organization. I’ve heard great things about what they’ve done for Portland and South Portland. I’m anxious to see what the process will be like” Lancia said.

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