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Committee Updates

October 25, 2018
At this initial meeting, committee members introduced themselves and shared their "why" for joining the team. Conversation protocols were discussed before beginning an activity to determine priorities surrounding the equity work of the committee. A copy of the book, Building Equity: Policies and Practices to Empower All Learners was provided to all committee members.

November 29, 2018
Based on feedback from the first meeting, the committee identified four key areas of focus moving forward: belonging and success among all student groups, inequity in elementary schools, the need for a diverse staff that is trauma-informed and equity-focused, and breaking down barriers to education such as transportation, food instability, and language barriers. The committee focused on the first key area at this meeting breaking into four groups to identify obstacles/challenges these students encounter and brainstorm action steps to address them. The committee will continue this work at the January meeting.

January 24, 2019
This month’s meeting was mostly a working session with the goal of leaving with specific action steps to address areas of inequity among these specified student groups: students with special needs, students of color, LGBTQ+ students and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. After a review of the school budgeting process, groups were tasked with coming up with 2-3 big issues and ways to address them within these three categories: little/no cost, within annual budget and beyond the annual budget. The meeting ended with groups reporting out and a pledge from the facilitators to bring these action items to the Board of Education for them to discuss priorities and next steps.

February 21, 2019
There were two goals for this meeting: listen to student perspectives on their school experience and talk about the BOE’s response to the proposed action steps from the previous meeting. The student discussions were so engaging that they ended up taking up the majority of the meeting time. The focus question for the student discussions was “To what extent do students feel a sense of belonging in their school?”. The committee broke into two smaller groups and heard from 7 students (all current juniors or seniors) about their school experiences from elementary through to high school. The discussions were enlightening and gave the committee a lot to think about as we set our goals for equity.

March 21, 2019
This month’s meeting goal was to use both the student feedback from the previous session and the committee’s action step recommendations to begin to develop a list of priorities moving forward. The committee began by debriefing the student discussion sessions using the focus questions: “What gets in the way of students feeling a sense of belonging in our schools?” and “What are we already doing that makes our students feel connected to our schools?” This debriefing session generated many ideas about ways to further support students in their academic and social-emotional learning.

The committee then received a report on equity action items that the district commits to begin carrying out as well as what the Board of Education has decided to do about one of the major beyond budget items of enhancing mental health/wraparound services for our elementary school students. This will require the district to go out for a “second question” on the ballot in November to provide extra funding for these positions. The meeting ended with the goal of ramping up our equity efforts by focusing on actions the committee can begin to take in our schools and in our community.