IWCS late on ‘alignment’

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Virginia law §22.1-253.13:1 states, “The curriculum adopted by the local school division shall be aligned to the Standards of Learning.”

During the Aug. 12 Isle of Wight County School Board meeting, Dr. Jim Thornton, who as superintendent has the responsibility to enforce school laws, and Susan Goetz, executive director coordinating curriculum and instructional programs, presented two Powerpoints titled “Curriculum Alignment” about their purchasing Hampton City Schools’ curriculum to ensure the division has curriculum alignment with Virginia’s SOLs.

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Goetz commented: “With a small instructional staff, it has proven difficult to create our own curriculum. If you were a new teacher coming into our schools you did not have a curriculum.  You (only) had the Standards of Learning and some resources, but you did not have a curriculum you could follow. We have an alignment issue. Some of our standards are not aligned as they need to be and this will help fix that.”

By her statements, she told everyone IWCS has not been in compliance with the law. Goetz and Thornton have worked together since July 1, 2015, and should have developed a curriculum aligned with the SOLs in this period. Why not?

Will the School Board hold them accountable for their incompetence for the last six years, which, according to, has seen the district rankings sink from 16th to 45th among 130-plus Virginia school districts? Will parents now sue the school division if their child failed an SOL test, subject, grade or did not graduate because their teacher did not have a curriculum aligned with Virginia’s SOL required by law to teach their child ?

Why did Chair Jackie Carr and Thornton sign their names on the SOQ Compliance Verification Report dated Aug. 18 and answer “yes” to question B.3., that during the 2020-21 school year (which ended in June) the curriculum adopted by the local school division is aligned with the Standards of Learning? They both knew on Aug. 12 that the Isle of Wight school division did not have a curriculum aligned with the SOLs because they had to purchase the aligned curriculum from Hampton City Schools!

The truth is nowhere close to being told by these two, it appears. Why?


Sharon and George Hart