Urbandale CSD puts together list of definitions in new education law

A local school district is trying to find the best way to correctly interpret Iowa’s new education law. SF 496 was signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds in May. The law went into effect on July 1. The sweeping education law covers topics including gender identity, sexual orientation, age-appropriate books and parental rights. More than two months after the law went into effect, however, educators say they still lack clarity and guidance from the state on how to implement the law in classrooms. “We’ve had the pleasure of getting feedback from staff,” Urbandale Superintendent Rosalie Daca said. “Staff has a lot of questions and that helped us, I think, frame — OK, where are they going to be confused?” The school district wanted to be proactive and take things into their own hands. Equity and inclusion of staff from the Urbandale Community School District put together an 11-page list of definitions for words and phrases used in the law. Daca said this is just the first step in getting more clarity for students, staff and parents.”We felt like it would be important to start with some reasonable definitions,” Daca said. “This is an area where we don’t feel the state has given us the clarity that we need.” Once the board approves the definitions, Daca hopes the work can continue in making sure they are in line with state law. She also said the list will help the district interpret the law in the most correct way possible and answer any questions people may have. “We have until Jan. 1 to make sure that we’re to the letter of staying out of trouble with the state,” Daca said. Board members were asked to provide feedback and will vote on the list in October. The school board also reviewed a proposed policy on students’ preferred pronouns. It gives parents the opportunity to list all nicknames and/or pronouns that their child uses on registration paperwork. The policy will be reviewed again in October.

A local school district is trying to find the best way to correctly interpret Iowa’s new education law.

SF 496 was signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds in May. The law went into effect on July 1. The sweeping education law covers topics including gender identity, sexual orientation, age-appropriate books and parental rights.

More than two months after the law went into effect, however, educators say they still lack clarity and guidance from the state on how to implement the law in classrooms.

“We’ve had the pleasure of getting feedback from staff,” Urbandale Superintendent Rosalie Daca said. “Staff has a lot of questions and that helped us, I think, frame — OK, where are they going to be confused?”

The school district wanted to be proactive and take things into their own hands. Equity and inclusion of staff from the Urbandale Community School District put together an 11-page list of definitions for words and phrases used in the law. Daca says this is just the first step in getting more clarity for students, staff and parents.

“We felt like it would be important to start with some reasonable definitions,” Daca said. “This is an area where we don’t feel the state has given us the clarity that we need.”

Once the board approves the definitions, Daca hopes the work can continue in making sure they are in line with state law. She also said the list will help the district interpret the law in the most correct way possible and answer any questions people may have.

“We have until Jan. 1 to make sure that we’re to the letter of staying out of trouble with the state,” Daca said.

Board members were asked to provide feedback and will vote on the list in October.

The school board also reviewed a proposed policy on students’ preferred pronouns. It gives parents the opportunity to list all nicknames and/or pronouns that their child uses on registration paperwork. The policy will be reviewed again in October.

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