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601 Policy: Academic Standards and Instructional Curriculum

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601 Policy: Academic Standards and Instructional Curriculum


The purpose of this policy is to establish broad curriculum parameters for the school district that encompass the Minnesota Academic Standards, the

federal requirements, and to establish a uniform grading approach.


The district is committed to providing a comprehensive educational experience for students that is defined by academic standards and implemented through an aligned instructional curriculum for preschool through grade 12+.  The school district will deliver the standards and curriculum at identified grade levels through classes and/or courses.


A. “Instruction” means methods of providing learning experiences to enable students to meet academic standards.

B. “Curriculum” means district adopted written plans for providing students learning experiences that lead to knowledge and skills.

C. “Academic standards” describe the concepts, processes and skills students will learn and the level to which they must be mastered.


A. Academic standards will require that all students demonstrate knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a changing global environment.  These skills include:

1. Reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing in the English language.

2. Mathematical and scientific concepts and processes.

3. Locating, organizing, communicating and evaluating information and developing methods of inquiry.

4. Creative and critical thinking, decision making and study skills.

5. Work readiness and independent learning skills.

6. Historical, economic, geographic and cultural understandings.

7. Knowledge and skills to analyze and take action against the harmful effects of bias, injustice, and inequity at a personal, local, and global level.

B. Each student will have the opportunity and will be expected to develop and apply essential knowledge that enables that student to:

1. Live as a responsible, productive citizen within local, state, national and global political, social, and economic systems.

2. Bring many perspectives, including historical and scientific, to contemporary issues.

3. Know and understand democratic institutions.

4. Communicate and collaborate effectively with people of all racial, cultural, gender, ability, and all other backgrounds and identities.

5. Practice stewardship of the land, natural resources and the environment.

6. Use a variety of tools and technology to gather and use information, enhance learning, solve problems, and increase productivity.

C. Students will have opportunities to apply creativity and self-expression through visual and verbal images, music, literature, world languages, movement and the performing arts.

D. School practices and instruction will be directed toward developing within each student self knowledge and a sense of personal and communal responsibility for:

1. Establishing and achieving personal and career goals.

2. Adapting to change.

3. Leading a healthy and fulfilling life.

4. Civic behavior and citizenship.

5. Becoming a self-directed learner.

6. Contributing to positive change in our society.

E. Students will be given the opportunity to acquire interpersonal skills necessary to:  

1. Interact respectfully and purposefully with consideration for diversity and interdependence.

2. Address human problems through team effort.

3. Resolve conflicts with and among others.

4. Function constructively within community.

5. Promote a society that is sensitive to issues of race, culture, gender, ability and all characteristics that contribute to the uniqueness of each individual.

F. School practices and instruction will be directed toward ensuring every child is reading at or above grade level no later than the end of grade 3. Reading instruction will be grounded in evidence-based practices and balanced instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension with attention given to continuously assessing, evaluating, and communicating students’ reading progress and needs. A local literacy plan that includes the process for identifying students not reading at grade level and providing appropriate interventions will be created on an annual basis. RPS employs a balanced assessment approach that identifies, through multiple measure benchmarks, each student's performance relative to grade level proficiency, beginning in Kindergarten. Additional diagnostic assessment are administered to students who fall significantly below grade level benchmarks, and the results of these assessments are used to develop a plan for providing targeted interventions that supplement core instruction.


A. The Assistant Superintendent shall be responsible for the implementation of the district’s academic standards and instructional curriculum.

B. The district shall have defined academic standards and a comprehensive instructional curriculum for the following content areas:

1. Science

2. Reading and language arts

3. Social studies

4. Math

5. Physical education

6. Business education

7. Science/technology/engineering

8. Media literacy

9. World languages

10. Family and consumer sciences

11. Visual and performing arts

12. Health, including a comprehensive sexual education curriculum as outlined in Policy 106 (Students and Employees with Communicable and Infectious Diseases).

C. Each curricular content area will have a guide that includes:

1. Purpose and real-world application

2. Grade-appropriate standards

3. Curriculum materials

4. Assessment

5. Differentiation models

D. Each curricular content area will be reviewed and revised on a cyclical basis as per Policy 612 (Curriculum Decision Making for Continuous Improvement).

E. The academic standards and instructional curriculum shall align with those established by the Minnesota Department of Education or by local adoption as provided in statute.

F. The elementary schools shall offer the following:

1. Visual arts

2. Music

3. Integrated language arts

4. Math

5. Physical education

6. Science

7. Health, including education on infectious diseases

8. Social studies

G. The middle school shall offer the following:

1. Visual arts

2. Integrated language arts

3. Math

4. Music

5. Physical education

6. Science

7. Health, including education on infectious diseases

8. Social studies

9. World language

10. Technology education

H. All requirements, temporary changes, and provisions for graduation are documented in Policy 521: Graduation Requirements.

I. The school board shall review and affirm all academic standards and instructional curriculum revisions.

J. The district shall provide professional development opportunities to advance staff members’ knowledge, skills and abilities in effectively delivering the standards and curriculum through instruction.


A. Richfield Public Schools understands grades to serve the sole purpose of communicating what students have learned or are capable of doing as a result of their learning. To that end, grades at RPS should be absent of subjective, non-academic factors such as behavior, homework completion, participation, attendance, persistence, effort, stereotypes, etc., that may inflate or deflate students’ grades and distort the message about their learning. Rather, our aim is to work towards a more just and objective end where all students receive grades based on a clear set of academic standards and performance expectations that ultimately communicate what they have learned and can do.

B. Currently, RHS uses the following system to determine a grade’s value for Grade Point Average (GPA):

A+          = 4.333

A            = 4.000

A-               = 3.667

B+          = 3.333

B            = 3.000

B-               = 2.667

C+          = 2.333

C            = 2.000

C-               = 1.667

D+          = 1.333

D            = 1.000

D-               =  0.667

F             =  0.000

C. Currently, RHS calculates GPA by multiplying the value of the grade above by the following weighting system and then averaging all those values:

AP, CIS and PSEO     = x 1.2

Honors                          = x 1.1

All other classes          = x 1.0

D. Currently, RHS assigns class rank from highest to lowest according to accumulative GPA as defined in item “C.”

E. Beginning with the Class of 2026, RHS will stop assigning class rank, and will also stop using the weighted grading system defined in item “C”. Additionally, A+ grades will no longer be offered; the highest possible grade to achieve will be an A. Thus, GPA will be calculated by averaging the values of all of a student’s grades, none of which can be higher than 4.000.

F. In general, RMS does not assign class rank nor calculate GPA. However, RMS does assign a GPA number to classes that middle school students take for high school credit. In this instance, they use the same system for calculating GPA as is used at RHS.


Legal References:

Minn. Stat 120B.02 (Educational Expectations for Minnesota Students)

Minn. Stat 120B.11 (School District Process)

Minn. Stat. § 120B.12 (Reading Proficiently no Later than the End of Grade 3)

Minn. Stat. § 120B.30, Subd. 1 (Statewide Testing and Reporting System)

Minn. Stat. § 120B.35, Subd. 3 (Student Academic Achievement and Growth)

Minn. Stat. § 122A.40, Subd. 8 (Employment; Contracts; Termination) 

Minn. Stat. § 122A.41, Subd. 5 (Teacher Tenure Act; Cities of the First Class; Definitions)

Minn. Stat. § 123B.147, Subd. 3 (Principals)

Minn. Stat. § 125A.56, Subd. 1 (Alternate Instruction Required)

20 U.S.C. § 5801, et seq. (National Education Goals 2000)

20 U.S. c. 6301, et seq. (Every Student Succeeds Act)


Cross References:

Board Policy 101 (Strategic Plan)

Board Policy 106 (Students and Employees with Communicable and Infectious Diseases)

Board Policy 521 (Graduation Requirements)

Board Policy 612 (Curriculum Decision Making for Continuous Improvement)



REVISED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION: February 7, 2011; August 15, 2011; June 17, 2014; December 6, 2021