Equity Principles - FAQ
What are the Equity Principles and why do we need them?
The Equity Principles seek to focus our system on several identified opportunity and achievement gaps. The Equity Principles serve as guideposts designed to inform our work as we strive to achieve our District’s vision of preparing every student for college, career and life success. The impact of the principles are measured in our strategic goals.
How were the Equity Principles created?
The Equity Principles were developed through a three step process:
The Equity Principles were first drafted by a 52-person Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workgroup consisting of alumni, staff and parents who met between March 2020 through January 2021 in a series of open meetings.
The Equity Non-Negotiables draft created by the workgroup was presented to the District’s Strategy Team, consisting of the entire Board of Education, District and School Leaders, and Community Representatives as part of the annual strategic planning process that began in February 2021. The Strategy Team used three public work sessions to discuss and revise the Non-Negotiables, and also renamed them to the Equity Principles.
On May 11, the Equity Principles were presented to the Board of Education for discussion along with the District’s proposed 2021-2022 Strategy.
How were people selected as members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workgroup?
The members of the workgroup expressed interest via a google form that was posted in weekly announcements to all staff and families. Additional volunteers that expressed interest in the summer of 2020 were added to the workgroup.
Did the District train staff on Critical Race Theory?
No. Our staff have never engaged in training on critical race theory. Staff training is focused on living our mission to educate and inspire every student through rigorous curriculum, targeted instruction, ongoing feedback, and cultivating a culture that honors each student’s unique talents and experiences.
Is Critical Race Theory part of the District-approved curriculum for any subject area?
No, Critical Race theory is not part of the curriculum nor do we teach it to our students. Any claims otherwise are false.
Are the Equity Principles Curriculum?
No. The curriculum renewal process is a months-long process that ultimately is reviewed and approved by the three board member Teaching and Learning Committee (TLC), and then reviewed and approved by the entire Board of Education. As an example, the middle school social studies and high school advanced placement social studies revised curriculum was presented to TLC on May 25 for review. The TLC is scheduled to take action on the curriculum at its June 2 meeting and, assuming approval, the full Board will go through a similar discussion/action sequence.
Does the District still work with Integrated Comprehensive Systems (ICS)?
No, the District’s working relationship with ICS ended on May 1, 2021. In the past, ICS has been used to perform Equity Audits and professional development for staff designed to have teachers reflect on their own identities and belonging in order to meet the needs of all learners. This training provided the basis for professional collaboration among educators with a variety of expertise (content teachers, special education, english language learning).
Will the District’s work on Equity expand opportunities for some at the expense of others?
No. The District seeks to understand the unique challenges and barriers faced by those we serve and provide support to help them overcome those barriers. This in itself may not ensure equal outcomes, but we are committed to creating the circumstances where every student has equal opportunity for success.
Why do the District’s Equity Principles refer so often to key processes?
To make significant and impactful change over time, it is imperative to integrate the Principles into our core processes. Many of our core processes such as Curriculum Renewal, Workforce Recruitment and Retention, and Student Fees - are reviewed (and often approved) by School Board Committees or the entire School Board. These accountability and oversight measures are in place to ensure appropriate community governance and alignment with the District’s Mission, Vision, Values and Goals.
What should I do if I have a concern about what is being taught in my child’s classroom?
Board Policy 1312 details the process that should be used to share a concern or complaint about the curriculum or a teacher’s instruction. Each year several complaints are raised and resolved at the classroom and school levels, and we value the collaborative complaint process that gives students and families a voice while allowing staff to respond to raised concerns.