KINGMAN— Kingman Unified School District counselors and administrators held an event to educate parents on a new program and dispel myths about the rebranding of Critical Race Theory.
Parents were invited to the Mind Up and Muffins meet and greet Tuesday, Aug. 16
from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. for information on what Mind Up has to offer for this year’s K-8 curriculum.
Mind Up is a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) program to provide a safe foundation for a safe and positive learning environment.
“This is teaching kids to calm down, manage their emotions and focus on academics,” said Misty Martin, Hualapai Elementary School counselor.
Gretchen Dorner, KUSD Superintendent, has plenty on her plate and assures the public that Critical Race Theory isn’t a new version of anything being taught in the district.
“We do not teach CRT, which is a collection of ideas and theories, not a curriculum,” she said. “We teach and expect students to do their personal best to follow school-wide procedures, be kind to one another, and work together to build a safe learning environment.”
Dorner added that KUSD learning pathways are mapped by the Arizona Academic Standards and serve as a guide, by grade level, as students progress toward high school graduation. She wants all families and students to be informed and engaged regarding all instructional materials, including supplemental programs.
“This is why we take curriculum resources before the school board, leave it on display for at least 60 days, and welcome parent input,” Dorner said.
Mind Up curriculum is based on brain science and how the mind learns.
“The program is not intended to replace family values, teach social theories, or interfere with home-based decisions,” said Dorner, who has been teaching and leading at KUSD for more than 30 years.
There are nearly 5,000 students in that category enrolled in K-8 KUSD right now with 238 teachers serving those students. Eleven parents showed up to ask and learn.
Eleven. That’s 0.22 % of the KUSD population.
The 2022 Mohave County Primary Elections had a 35 percent turnout.
Mother and grandmother duo Lucinda and Linda Pyles were stopped by to get the info.
Lucinda has a first grader enrolled at KUSD. She wasn’t sure what to expect and was leery of a CRT-based curriculum, but later learned that Mind Up had nothing to do with CRT.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect between CRT and what this (Mind Up) is,” Lucinda said. “I feel like what I got was more geared toward helping the kids, not so much CRT.”
“I was concerned where the curriculum was taking the kids,” said Linda. “Was it giving them tools to deal with different feelings and emotions or were they going to be given opinions from other people?”
After making the rounds to counselors teaching about the various phases, the parents were excited to know the kids can learn to understand themselves, their thoughts, and how to navigate through their emotions.
Vicki Trujillo, Director of Special Education for KUSD confirmed and confirmed again that Mind Up is not a rebranding of Critical Race Theory.
The counselors and administrators started the Mind Up program to educate parents and get them more involved, so they know what their students are doing at school.
“Knowledge is power, and something that is new is scary,” Trujillo said. “We’re not telling parents how to parent their kids. There’s no hidden agenda.”
KUSD administration is always ready to answer questions.
“We’re not teaching CRT or gender-affirming education,” said Joseph Walker, a Special Education teacher at Manzanita Elementary School. “We teach that we all have feelings.”
Mind Up is an elective part of the regular K-8 curriculum and kids aren’t forced to take it. It’s part of a social and emotional curriculum and parents can opt out of the program.
“Parents can ask to review curriculum anytime,” said Trujillo.
Mike File, School Superintendent for Mohave County’s Educational Service Center (MCESC) gets calls about issues and communicates with the districts MCESC serves.
“The biggest and worst education misinformation campaign placed upon the children, misinformed parents and schools was the Common Core curriculum,” File said. “All districts responded (they) don’t use it.”
File has no authority to fact-check the district boards adopting all curricula, they must be available for review by parents and community members for two months while an adoption process is underway.
There’s still plenty of misinformation going around and KUSD administrators and teachers will do their best to dispel the rumors.
“A positive classroom environment and safe school setting lead to higher levels of learning and less stress among students,” she said. “This has nothing to do with CRT and everything to do with promoting student academic success.”
Curious parents get find more information about Mind Up at www.mindup.org.