Concern over newsletter showing split curriculum for boys and girls

Some parents were concerned when they received a newsletter showing different lesson plans for boys and girls at a Frisco ISD school. Monica Hernandez reports.

FRISCO – For some Frisco ISD parents, their first reaction was disbelief after an elementary school newsletter showed different curricula for boys and girls.

Nanny Ashley Kennedy felt a pit in her stomach.

"Reading that definitely does not sit easy with me," said Kennedy.

Kennedy is referring to the Borchardt Elementary School counselor's newsletter, emailed to hundreds of parents this month.

On the last page, it said 4th and 5th grade boys would be split up this year during their monthly class with the guidance counselor.

But what raised some eyebrows was the different lesson plans for boys and girls. While boys would talk about college and careers, girls would have "girl talk," on confidence and friendships.

"Is the female supposed to have all these friends and stay at home while the male goes to college?" asked Kennedy. "It definitely is getting the idea of gender roles in children's head at a young age."

Others took to social media to voice their concerns. Two parents called the school with questions, said Frisco ISD.

The newsletter was just a snapshot of what the guidance counselor had planned, according to Frisco ISD spokeswoman Meghan Youker.

The counselor had intended to swap the lessons for boys and girls each month, teaching them the same material over the course of a year.

But, according to Youker, that particular snapshot should have never made the newsletter to begin with.

"It was the intention all along that the students would get the same lessons, and by the time the lessons started in the first week of September, it was already decided to teach the college and career lesson to both boys and girls in the same month due to [the school's] ‘College Week' being in September. The newsletter had not been adjusted accordingly," said Youker in an email.

Parents received the original newsletter Sept. 4. On Sept. 11, principal Jodi Davis sent out an email clarifying the counselor's intentions to parents.

"Andrea Erwin, our school counselor, will be structuring her guidance lessons slightly differently this year for our fourth and fifth grade students," said Davis in the email. "Girls and boys in these grades will take part in guidance lessons separately, but both groups will cover the same topics. Lessons may be slightly staggered in the timing of their delivery, but all students will have the same exposure to the same guidance curriculum during the course of the year. College and career exploration will be a topic for both groups this fall."

Erwin has posted a revised lesson plan on her school web page, showing boys and girls will learn the same material this month.

Some parents, like Aimee Jurado, agree with the idea of teaching separate guidance curriculum to boys and girls.

"I understand that girls at that age, and that stage of life, that interpersonal relationships are really important," said Jurado, who has a 5th grade son and a 2nd grade daughter.

"Having the right foundation will put them on the right path, and college prep will come later."


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