1100- Selection of Textbooks & Instructional Material


Policy Number: 1100
Dated: 01/24/2019 Updated: 10/24/2023



The purpose of this policy is to provide direction for selection of textbooks and instructional materials.


The American Leadership Academy Board of Trustees recognizes that the selection of textbooks and instructional materials is a vital component of the school’s curriculum. The instructional materials shall be selected to enhance student learning, support approved curriculum and assist students in attaining standards, grade level expectations, and school goals. They also recognize that they have the authority to make final decisions on selection of all textbooks and instructional materials.


    1. Utah Core Standards are established by the Utah State Board of Education in accordance with Title 53E-4-202 to identify the basic knowledge, skills, and competencies each student is expected to acquire or master as the student advances through the public education system.
    2. Print Resources include textbooks, consumable workbooks, fiction and nonfiction books, and any other print resources which students are required to have, use, or access during instruction.
    3. Digital Resources include digital textbooks, electronic documents, digital tools, online applications or programs, software, video clips, websites, learning management systems, instruction and assessment platforms and any other digital resources which students are required to have, use, or access during instruction. Videos that are rated will be subject to ALA Standards for Video Use in Schools.
    4. Learning Materials has the same meaning found in UTAH CODE ANN. § 53G-4-402(26) and means all physical or electronic materials used by a teacher for the Instruction of students, including Primary Source Materials, Supplementary Materials, and Incidental Materials. School and classroom displays are considered Learning Materials. When a website is used as Learning Material, the content of the page must comply with this policy.  Links to resources beyond the original page cited have not been vetted, and content of displayed ads and other linked websites are not considered Learning Materials.
    5. Supplemental Materials are instructional materials that enhance primary curriculum materials or are used in combination with other supplemental materials for teaching Utah core standards or course specified standards. Supplemental materials may include print and digital resources for educator or student use. Supplemental materials and requirements for use are outlined in the Instructional Guide for the course.
    6. Intervention Materials are materials intended to build specific skills with students who are below benchmark in reading, language, writing, and/or mathematics.
    7. Primary Source Materials are any Learning Materials intended to be the primary source of information and Instruction in all classrooms in a grade level, course, or subject area.
    8. Teacher-Selected Materials are specific instructional materials selected by teachers or licensed educators to enhance a lesson(s). Teacher-selected materials are not intended for extended use.
    9. Age Appropriate means generally suitable for students of the same age or level of social, emotional, and cognitive development. The context and prevalence of violence, sex, language, and illegal substances as well as the social and cultural factors of the learning communities must be considered when selecting instructional materials.
    10. School setting:  means, for a public school, in a classroom, in a school library, or on school property.  School setting includes the following activities that an organization or individual or organization outside of a public school conducts, if a public school sponsors the activity:
      1. An assembly;
      2. A guest lecture;
      3. A live presentation; or
      4. An event.
    11. Sensitive Material:  means an instructional material that is pornographic or indecent material as the term is defined in Utah Code Section 76-10-1235.
      1. Sensitive material does not include an instructional material: the school selected under 53G-10-402 (Health Curriculum Requirements); for medical courses; for family and consumer courses; or for another course the state board exempts in board rule.
    12. Library Materials means all books, pamphlets, magazines, audio/visual materials, software, electronic materials, subscriptions, online access, or other information accessible to students in or through a school library. Library Materials do not include leveled libraries.


While the Board of Trustees retains its authority to make final decisions on the selection of textbooks and instructional materials, they also recognize the expertise of the professional staff and the vital need of such staff to be primarily involved in the recommendation of textbooks and instructional materials. Accordingly, the Board delegates to the director or his/her designee the responsibility to direct the professional staff in formulating recommendations to the Board on textbooks and other instructional materials. 

In reviewing textbooks, instructional and learning materials during the selection process, the professional staff shall select materials which: 

      1. Support the goals and objective of the education programs
      2. Align to the Utah Core Standards or specified course standards and ALA Board Policy
      3. Supported by generally accepted standards of evidence
      4. Accurate and factual
      5. Age appropriate
      6. Reflective of contributions from authors, artists, or appropriate experts in the field that represent diverse viewpoints, ethnic and cultural backgrounds and experiences
      7. Free of biases or stereotypes related to sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity
      8. Contributes to a balanced perspective
      9. Aligned to support personalized competency-based learning (PCBL)
      10. Compatible with ALA technology systems
      11. In compliance with Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
      12. Accessible to all students with scaffolding
      13. Free of sensitive materials
      14. Must comply with all applicable copyright laws and licensing agreements
      15. Fit within the constraints of the school’s budget

The director or designee shall be responsible for developing procedures and guidelines to establish an orderly process for the review and recommendation of textbooks and other instructional materials by the professional staff. Such procedures and guidelines shall provide opportunity for input and consideration of the views of students, parents and other interested members of the school’s community. This procedure shall be coordinated with the school’s curriculum development effort and may utilize advisory committees.


The Board’s adoption of instructional materials shall be based on a determination that such materials meet criteria specified in law and are an effective learning resource to help students acquire facts, skills and opinions; develop cognitive processes; and achieve grade level competency.

The educational aims, teaching techniques, existing resources, curriculum and the extracurricular interests of the students serve as the basic guidelines for selection of resources. Resources are selected on the following basis:

Overall purpose

      1. Alignment to the standards in the core curriculum areas of reading/language arts, mathematics, science, and history/social science.
      2. Age appropriateness for the students being instructed.
      3. Importance of subject matter,
      4. Quality of the writing and/or production,
      5. Readability and popular appeal,
      6. Authoritativeness,
      7. Professional reputation of the author, publisher or producer,
      8. Format and cost,
      9. Suitability and ability to appeal to its intended audience, and 
      10. Requests from community citizens, faculty and students.

A Curriculum Committee will be selected from and in representation of principals, teachers, instructional support specialists, and other school and personnel as appropriate according to assignment and subject matter expertise.

      1. Supplemental Instructional Materials are approved by the principal or his/her designee.
      2. Fiction and nonfiction books used as supplemental instructional materials must be approved through the Fiction and Nonfiction Book Approval Process.
      3. Intervention materials are selected by school departments as needed and approved by the principal, or his/her designee.
      4. Teacher-selected materials are selected by individual teachers for use as part of a particular lesson or lessons. It is recommended that teachers have a colleague or administrator review materials to ensure appropriateness for student use in the classroom.
      5. Presentations from individual classroom guest speakers should adhere to the Instructional materials selection criteria.
      6. School assemblies or events utilizing guest lecturers or live presentations for the student-body or school community shall be reviewed and approved by the Executive Director or his/her designee.  
      7. Student-led, teacher-led, and principal-led assemblies during the school day will adhere to applicable instructional materials selection criteria.
      8. Sex Education Materials are selected and approved in accordance with Policy 3220 School Instruction of Sex Education.

Selection Aids

      1. School personnel shall evaluate existing resources and use reputable, unbiased professional prepared selection aids.
      2. School personnel shall consult specialists from departments and/or grade levels.
      3. Resources acquired by subscription are examined carefully and are acquired only to fill a definite need.
      4. Standard resources that are lost or worn are replaced periodically. 
      5. Gifts will be accepted only when they meet the basic selection standard.
      6. Resources may be acquired from publisher's catalogs, bookstores, and public or private collections as long as the resources meet the criteria for selection which have been outlined above.
      7. The school may pilot instructional materials, using a representative sample of classrooms for a specified period of time, in order to determine how well the materials support the school’s curricular goals and academic standards.
      8. The school will avoid controversial materials associated with such sensitive subjects as:
        1. Racial, ethnic, and sexual prejudice
        2. Political philosophy
        3. Alternate life styles
        4. Sexual references
      9. When considering “sensitive” areas, it is necessary to:
        1. Be aware of legislative guidelines.
        2. Be sensitive to the feelings of the school community.
        3. Be consistent with curricular goals.


      1. Materials displayed in and around a classroom are generally considered Learning Materials and must comply with this policy. They may be selected by the classroom teacher but are subject to removal by the principal. 
      2. School Advertising Restrictions, classrooms are not public forums for the display or distribution of political, religious, or personal viewpoints, and employees may not use them for the posting or display of materials to promote or convey a political, religious, or personal message.   
      3. Because classroom displays may reasonably be perceived as having the school’s approval, they constitute government speech under the First Amendment, subject to control by the school.
      4. Materials that do not convey the school’s educational message may be removed by the school principal.
      5. An educator or other employee who uses instructional time or space to convey a political, religious, or personal message after being directed not to may be subject to disciplinary action. 


Audio and visual media means electronic media that has either a sound or visual component, or both. It includes music, audiobooks, videos, and any other type of live or recorded media presented for hearing or viewing. This section outlines restrictions and requirements for use of audio and visual media with students. As used in this section, the term “media” means audio, visual, or audiovisual media. 

      1. Media that contains vulgarity, indecency, nudity, excessive violence, or profanity is strictly prohibited in the classroom and at any school sponsored activity. 
      2. Livestream programs that give the teacher no opportunity to preview or control content should not be watched by students at school in most circumstances.
      3. Exceptions require approval by the school principal. 
      4. Instructional Use
        1. Use of media during instructional time is limited to instructional purposes and not for entertainment or as a reward. It may be used to initiate, enhance, or culminate teaching units. Students should be guided by the teacher in connecting media to academic content through pre- and post-activities related to the Curriculum. 
        2. The instructional value of a particular piece of media shall be weighed against the value of the academic time it consumes. Only those segments of media which illustrate the topic or Curriculum content should be presented, rather than a lengthy program in its entirety.
        3. Media must be used under the direct supervision of the instructor and follow the guidelines set in Policy 2150 Use of Movies and Videos in the Classroom.


      1. Sensitive material is prohibited in the school setting.  A school may not adopt, distribute, provide a student access to, or maintain in the school setting sensitive materials, or permit a speaker or presenter in the school setting to display or distribute sensitive materials.
      2. If a parent/legal guardian of a student believes instructional materials meet the definition of a “sensitive material,” the parent/legal guardian will contact the principal to complete a Review of Sensitive Materials Form.  The completed form will be provided to the Executive Director.
      3. The Executive Director or his/her designee will form a Committee to review the Instructional Materials for sensitive material.
        1. The Committee will read, view or listen to the instructional materials and determine if the instructional material is sensitive material as that term is defined in Utah Code 76-10-1235.  The Committee is allotted ten (10) school days to organize and review the material.
          1. The school will take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of the sensitive material review process and committee members (i.e., names and other personally identifiable information).
          2. The committee’s determination will be communicated to the Executive Director.
          3. The parent/legal guardian will be notified of the determination within a reasonable time period, within three (3) school days after a decision is reached.
          4. The same instructional material cannot be resubmitted for review for a period of (three) 3 years.
          5. An administrative record of the Committee decision will be maintained.
          6. A decision made by the Committee is the final decision.   
          7. Following the Committee decision there is no further administrative action.  


      1. A school may not in any aspect of school:
        1. Require or incentivize a student to affirm or deny the student’s or student’s parent’s religious belief or right of conscience;
        2. Engage a student in a practice that violates or is contrary the student’s or parent’s religious belief or right of conscience; or
        3. Penalize or discriminate against a student for refraining from participation due to the student’s or the student’s parent’s religious belief or right of conscience.
      2. Request for Alternative Curriculum:
        1. If a student refrains from participating in any aspect of school that violates the student’s or the student’s parent’s religious belief or right of conscience, the school shall promptly notify student’s parent if the secondary student makes a request may offer an alternative that does not violate the student’s or the student’s parent’s religious belief or right of conscience.
        2. A school may not require the student or the student’s parent to
          explain, defend, or justify the student’s or the student’s parent’s
          religious belief or right of conscience.
      3. A student’s parent may waive the student’s participation in any aspect of school that violates the student’s or the student’s parent’s religious belief or right of conscience.
      4. A student’s academic or citizenship performance may not be penalized if the secondary student or the student’s parent chooses to exercise a religious right or right of conscience in accordance with the provisions of this section.


      1. Curriculum that the school uses must be readily accessible and available for a parent to view.
      2. Teachers should provide parent access to Curriculum materials through their normal means of classroom communication, including disclosure documents, learning management systems, newsletters, etc. 
      3. In order for parents to have the opportunity to review literature that is required as part of an English or language arts course, each teacher will send home a general list of the major works or novels that may be required reading during the year. The list should include a content description or provide links or references to outside sources available to parents where they can find a content description for the items on the list. The descriptions and references should be objective and fact-based.   
      4. If a parent has a specific concern about a work or selection as it affects his/her student, the parent may request a waiver or alternative.
      5. Parents who object to material and desire for it to be removed from the Curriculum may request a review of materials.
      6. This policy will be available on the school’s website.


The Board recognizes differences of opinion on the part of some members of the school community relating to certain areas curriculum, instruction and learning materials. Interested persons may request an opportunity to review materials and submit a request for reconsideration of the use of certain textbooks or instructional materials.  If parent concern is validated then the teacher will be required to provide an alternate curriculum resource.

      1. Upon request and consistent with this section, instruction and Learning material may be reviewed and considered for removal.
      2. A request for review of instruction or Learning material may only be made by the following: 
        1. A parent of a student to whom the instruction or Learning material has or will soon be presented; 
        2. A student to whom the instruction or Learning material has or will soon be presented;
        3. An administrator at the school where the instruction or Learning material is presented.
      3. The school may limit the number of requests an individual may make in the course of a school year.   
      4. The Executive Director may deny a request if the Challenged Content has previously been reviewed.
      5. Requests must be made in writing on the school’s Request for Review of Instruction or Materials form (“Request Form”). Requests made under this section are to review Challenged Content for all students to whom it is accessible.
      6. The procedures outlined in this section may be used only to review Instruction or Learning Materials selected or under the control of the school or its employees. The procedures in this section may not be used to challenge or review Core Standards, Core Courses, or any other content, material, or methodology prescribed by law, rule, or regulation or otherwise selected by a state or federal entity and which are not chosen or used at the discretion of the school or its employees. 
      7. The Request Form must be submitted to the principal. Challenged Content will typically not be removed until a final decision is made according to the procedures outlined in this section. Removal before a final decision is at the discretion of the Executive Director.
      8. The Executive Director will organize a Review Committee that may include members of the Board of Trustees, administrators, teachers and/or parents.  The Committee will meet to review the request. 
      9. If the Challenged Content is specific to a particular teacher, that teacher will be invited to the meeting. 
      10. The Committee should discuss and answer the following questions. Answers and recommendations are documented using the Review of Learning Material Committee Report form. 
        1. For what age is the Challenged Content appropriate?
        2. Is the Challenged Content supported by generally accepted scientific standards of evidence? 
        3. Does the Challenged Content focus on, enhance, or help students achieve mastery of the Core Standards? 
        4. Does the Challenged Content comply with school policies and procedures?
        5. Does the Challenged Content comply with applicable copyright laws and licensing agreements?
        6. Does the Challenged Content promote views or conduct that are false, inaccurate, threatening, harmful, hateful, or invasive of a person’s privacy? 
        7. Is the Challenged Content indecent, vulgar, lewd, or obscene as defined in reference to minors?
        8. Is the Challenged Content libelous? 
        9. Does the Challenged Content promote unhealthy activities?
        10. Does the Challenged Content promote activities that are illegal for minors?
      11. The Committee will make a written recommendation on the report form to either approve or prohibit the Challenged Content. The form will contain answers to the questions listed above.
      12. The recommendation of the Committee is advisory in nature and does not supersede the authority of the principal, the Executive Director or Board of Trustees.   
      13. If the Challenged Content consists of Primary Source Materials or Supplementary Materials, the principal must submit the request, the completed report form, and a copy of the Challenged Content to the Executive Director. 
      14. If the Challenged Content consists only of Incidental Materials or Instruction, such as assignments or particular learning activities, the principal may make a decision to either approve or prohibit the Challenged Content. The principal shall make a written determination indicating his/her decision and provide it to the person(s) who submitted the Request Form and to all school employees affected by the decision. The principal’s decision may be appealed to the Executive Director.


UTAH CODE 53G-10-103