District 41 supports our Black, Asian, and Latinx communities, as well as all communities of color facing racism and injustice. We believe that eradicating racism is the responsibility of each of us. Violence, hate and discrimination have no place in the world we are shaping for our children.
To this end, in August we created a small committee of administrators and teachers to focus on the constructs of equity. We were fortunate to partner with the Great Lakes Equity Center (GLEC) in this process. GLEC is committed to school and system transformation toward racial, disability, and other forms of educational justice. GLEC provides assistance related to race, sex, national origin, and religion desegregation to K-12 public education agencies in a 13-state region free of charge. We also participate in ongoing bi-monthly consultation calls and roundtable discussions. We are fortunate to be paired up with Holt Public School District in Michigan as they serve as thought partners in our equity work. Our partnership with GLEC will last a minimum of three years.
This year our district also became part of a national equity group. We are part of the American Association of School Administrators’ (AASA’s) very first Equity in Action Cohort. We meet once a month on Saturday as administrators across the country to discuss intentional and deliberate actions to address equity in school districts. The cohort provides school leaders and their teams with a safe, collaborative and action-oriented learning space for courageous conversations about equity in schools.
As part of our involvement with the Equity in Action Cohort, we teamed up with Hanover Research to conduct our first annual staff survey on their perceptions of equity. We are now in the process of analyzing the data of the 203 respondents to help us better understand our next steps in ensuring and promoting equity.
In the meantime, we are examining our student data to determine where inequities exist. We have changed our interview questions when we hire new staff so we are capturing individuals who have a “critical consciousness” about equity. We are reviewing our curriculum to ensure that it is culturally responsive. We understand that equity is a mindset, not an initiative and we have a great deal of work ahead of us. We want our district to be one where all students feel safe, all students feel valued, and all students feel empowered.