WSESD Ongoing Social Justice and Anti-Racist Commitment
Recent race-related events, coupled with similar events that have been occurring since our country’s founding, have implored us to take a thorough inventory of our district’s commitment to addressing social justice issues, including those involving Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Although the COVID pandemic requires that we take measured steps to ensure everyone’s safety, we view that social justice and anti-racist actions must also be taken with the same intensity and rigor. Include students and parents/guardians with diverse backgrounds in addressing all of these commitments to ensure that their voices are heard and addressed.
On July 1, 2020, the WSESU and WSESD School Boards made the following commitments:
- In each school, evaluate curricula, books & materials, staffing complement, hiring practices, policies & procedures, building atmosphere, and community engagement regarding addressing social justice and anti-racist issues with students, staff, and community. Focus on ensuring that we are not only teaching our students inclusion but also actively teaching anti-racism using current-world events and practices as examples. Ensure that our curricula, books, and materials accurately describe the formation of our country and why systemic racism continues to this day.
- Provide social justice awareness and anti-racist training to all staff on at least an annual basis.
- Create space and provide the resources necessary for teachers to do the internal work of becoming critically conscious, reflective anti-racist practitioners equipped to shift mindsets. For example, continue to hold regular anti-racist study groups for teachers, incorporate anti-racist readings and discussion at faculty meetings.
- When openings occur within the School Board, district office, and on the staff in each school (administration, faculty, support), make a concerted effort to hire people from marginalized groups with a focus on BIPOC. Emphatically address obstacles which may interfere with accomplishing this such as attracting qualified applicants and school environment.
- Where choices are available, only do business with outside organizations and individuals that have demonstrated commitment to social justice and anti-racism, including BIPOC owned/ operated businesses and practices.
- Thoroughly evaluate the successes and failures of remote educational strategies and techniques that have been used. Develop a specific plan for how to improve those strategies and techniques with specific attention paid to marginalized students, including BIPOC.
- Ensure that each school has: 1) a student-focused organization where BIPOC students can provide each other with support and collectively define issues needing additional attention or focus 2) a Diversity & Equity (D&E) Committee which includes responsibility for leading regular discussions about white supremacy at staff meetings 3) Qualified D&E Teacher Leaders identified who have demonstrated commitment to addressing social justice and anti-racism issues.
- Hold ourselves accountable to at least annually taking an organizational inventory of how well we’re doing in terms of meeting the above commitments and then taking corrective action, as required.
Drafted and proposed by the WSESD/SU Diversity & Equity Committee (June 2020)