Statement on Equity and Anti-Racism from the Washougal School District Board of Directors, Superintendent Dr. Mary Templeton, and the District’s Leadership Team
WHAT WE BELIEVE:
The Washougal School District believes that we have a responsibility to disrupt unjust educational systems that perpetuate inequitable opportunities and outcomes for students. We recognize that we have work to do to make sure that our commitment in words is actualized into actions that truly reflect change. Our data illustrate that among student learning outcomes, race, ability, language, and socioeconomic status continue to be the most persistent predictors of student performance. Consequently, we have prioritized our efforts and resources toward strategies that eliminate institutional racism and each and every form of oppression that perpetuates inequities in our system.
We believe that our students who have experienced systemic injustice need to hear directly from us that we see them, value them, and are committed to their success. They need to hear from us that we do not tolerate discrimination, hate, or racism within our schools. Our students with disabilities want to know that we value them and have high aspirations for their futures…and we do! Our students who do not speak English as their first language want to know that we value their strengths and unique abilities…and we do! Our LGBTQ students want to know that we support and respect them…and we do! Our students experiencing socioeconomic challenges want to know that we see them as deserving of a bright future….and we do! Our Black students want to know that black lives matter to us…AND THEY DO!
We are committed to engaging in courageous conversations about equity, race, and diversity because we know that our students, families, and staff deserve to learn and live in a community where intolerance, racism, and inequity are not part of our environment. We have high hopes for our school district and know that all of our families, including local communities of color, are counting on us to take a stand against intolerance and continue to foster classrooms where all students are seen, known, nurtured, and valued.
The road we are on is a bumpy one, and we’ve only just started down the path. We are counting on all of us to enter into this work with hope, civility, and determination. Some of us have not been aware that the systems of oppression were causing harm to those furthest from educational justice, while others have been racing ahead, and frustrated that we have not traveled farther more quickly. We need all voices and experiences with us, learning together, to get to a place where we want to be – a school district with every student graduating with the social capital to grasp any opportunity they want, and with equity in the outcomes for all of our students.
And finally, we believe that our teachers are critical in this work and we support our courageous educators as they raise issues with students in respectful, fair, honest dialog, and those who are pushing themselves to learn culturally responsive classroom practices. We believe that through authentic relationships, our teachers can better understand the needs of each student, and find creative ways to make sure that all learners feel welcome, valued, and understood in our community. We know that, without this critical work, every student cannot be truly known, nurtured and challenged. Together, we can continue to rise toward authentic change and guarantee hope and resiliency for each child.
The work of this team is vital to the development of our District Equity Plan. In addition to helping the District identify pressing equity issues, the team will provide input into the development of the policy and an equity decision-making tool that we will use to engage everyone involved in the Washougal School District to be aware, learn, think and determine how equity impacts choices in instruction, programming, staffing, funding, and policy. All members of the Washougal School District should strive to improve equity and anti-racist practices and equity awareness through all of our activities and decisions. Together, we can continue to rise toward authentic change and guarantee hope and resiliency for each child.
December 10 – At the first Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Team meeting on December 10, members introduced themselves and shared their “why” for joining the team. Equity Team facilitators Aaron Hansen and Ben Ibale, Equity Consultant, led the group in dialogue about foundational equity-focused learning, theory of change, and reviewed the team’s purpose and goals. The team began identifying the most pressing issues of equity in Washougal.
January 28 – We welcomed new members to the team and those who were not able to attend the first meeting. With the new members, we have approximately 30 members on our team which includes representation from a diverse set of patrons, staff, and students, ensuring voices from all parts of the Washougal community are present and have a voice in guiding this important work. We reviewed the purpose of our team, looked at the pressing equity issues we identified, and identified additional concerns. The next step will be to begin organizing and prioritizing the equity concerns we have identified as well as we will be looking district trend data.
February 18 & March 4 – During these two meetings we focused on reviewing disaggregated district data to identify patterns that can be masked by larger, aggregate data. We mainly focused on graduation rate and student suspension rate trend data. We looked specifically at sub-populations based on race/ethnicity and by category (special education, free & reduced lunch, etc.). Additionally, we began organizing our list of ‘pressing equity issues’ into categories/themes.
March 18 – At the beginning of the meeting we reviewed excerpts from State Superintendent Reykdahl focused on equity. Ensuring every that every member of our school systems should feel safe from discriminatory violence and harassment is a high priority. OSPI is committed to building our collective knowledge and leadership for anti-racist policy and implementation across all levels of our K–12 system. We also spent some time looking our Equity and Anti-Racism statement. The remainder of the meeting was on reviewing the importance of board policy and procedure, the board policy and procedure approval process and analyzing several equity policies and procedures from other districts.
April 29 – Our sixth meeting was focused on providing feedback and suggestions regarding the proposed Equity Policy and Procedure. The suggestions made by the team will be reviewed by the District Equity Planning Team who will make recommendation to the school board regarding the suggestions and then update the policy and procedure. The WSD School Board had an opportunity for the first reading of the policy at Tuesday’s (4/27/21) board meeting and the second reading will be at the May 11 board meeting.
2020-21 Meeting Schedule
Why Nurturing Classroom Relationships Matters recording from September 30, 2020
The current committee will serve for two years. In 2022, we will solicit for additional team members.
The Washougal School District Board of Directors has established the Equity Pillar of the Strategic Plan 2019-2025 as a goal for this school year.
As part of this important work, we are excited to begin the application process for the new Washougal Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Team. This new committee will consist of 10-12 members, representing our historically under-served populations as well as multiple stakeholder groups, and will advise the District Equity Planning Team in identifying and eliminating systems, policies, procedures, and practices that create inequities among our students and staff.
Once selected, the team’s first two tasks will be to:
Applications will be accepted until November 20, 2020.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Team Member Requirements
To apply, complete the application by following this link: Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Team Application AND by answering the following question (in 250-500 words):
I want to be a part of Washougal Schools District Equity Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Team because…. and here are the skills or insight I can contribute to the committee…
Please include your name, email address and phone number at the top of the response.
Submit your application via the link above, and then email your 250-500 word response separately to Julie Ferguson, the Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent for HR and Student Services, email@example.com.
We look forward to hearing from you!