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Robious Corridor

School Board receives Equity Committee recommendations

Chesterfield County Public Schools

Equity Robious Corridor OnlineA broad committee of community stakeholders and school division employees has released a report recommending strategies Chesterfield County Public Schools can continue to implement and/or initiate to ensure that all students have access to high quality educational opportunities. The report, presented to the School Board on Dec. 12, includes more than 100 recommendations to create a level playing field for all students and their families.

“The Superintendent and School Board are committed to maximizing the potential of each student,” School Board Chair Dr. Javaid Siddiqi said. “To do so, we must find ways to remove systemic barriers so that every child has an opportunity to experience success. The recommendations also are helpful in preparing Team Chesterfield staff members to serve a diverse community of learners.”

As part of Superintendent Dr. James Lane’s transition plan last year, an equity committee was formed with more than 75 community members including parents, teachers, administrators, community supporters and faith and business leaders. The committee was charged with:

  • Identifying current practices and gaps in service
  • Researching practical applications and making recommendations
  • Creating subcommittees to look at specific areas

“Through its five-year operating plan, the School Board established equity as a major priority and opportunity for growth in the school division,” Dr. Lane said. “The committee’s charge was simple yet challenging: Develop recommendations that would provide every Chesterfield County student with access to the same opportunities regardless of a student’s zip code.”
The committee used Phi Delta Kappa’s definition of equity: “Equity is the practice of giving every student, according to strengths and needs, exactly what they need so they are able to learn, experience success and thrive.”

The findings of the committee found that there is inconsistency in practice from school to school including access to resources, rigorous, advanced-level courses and communications regarding special programs. The committee also found a lack of policies to direct the schools’ efforts to ensure equity, a lack of diversity/cultural competency training for all staff and that staff demographics did not align with student demographics.

The recommendations from the Equity Committee spanned six broad categories including:

  • Access and opportunity
  • Disciplinary practices
  • Engaging stakeholders
  • Policy and practice
  • Professional development
  • Staffing, recruiting and retaining

Each of these categories has specific recommendations including:

  • Expanding pre-kindergarten opportunities
  • Developing instructional strategies to support differentiation
  • Expanding social-emotional learning programs
  • Creating a community conversation around the importance of having diverse learning community
  • Creating focus groups with diverse perspectives
  • Develop consistent resource allocations procedures
  • Develop equity policy that directs the work
  • Require cultural competency training for all staff members
  • Increase hiring of minority teachers to better reflect the student population

The next steps will be to develop a timeline and identify funding based on priority of recommendations. In the next six months, the committee recommended that:

  • An equity policy be developed
  • The creation of cultural competency training for CCPS staff
  • Engagement of higher education partners in preparing teachers for the diversity in today’s classroom
  • The expansion of translation services with a focus on parent materials about CCPS programs

The full committee report was made public last week. An executive summary also is available online at mychesterfieldschools.com.

 

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