Equity and Inclusion

In District 54, we will promote a culture of unconditional belonging in which all students, staff and community members will be treated with dignity. We will ensure high levels of access to resources, experiences and success. In District 54, we strive to ensure that all students, staff and community members are

Safe, welcome and cared for;
Heard, validated and supported; and
Represented in curriculum and staffing.

District 54 Equity and Inclusion Vision Statement

District 54 strives to make all students and staff feel welcome, dignified, respected and heard. Fostering diversity, inclusion and equity is an integral part of our core values. We recognize that education can both enhance individuals and strengthen communities.

By supporting an environment that facilitates and encourages safe and open dialogue on diversity, and by empowering our students and staff to embrace their diversity, we are striving to ensure that our students will be equipped to succeed in our diverse world.

All Staff Professional Development

All staff have participated in cultural competency training focused on implicit bias, culturally responsive teaching strategies and facilitating conversations about discrimination with students.

Cultural Competency and Implicit Bias Presentation

  • Defining Cultural Competency
  • Differences in Communication Patterns Across Cultures
  • Implicit Bias and stereotypes
  • The negative impact of implicit bias and stereotypes on student learning

Summer Symposium Presentations offered included:

  • Building Trust Across Cultures
  • Integrating Culture into the Classroom

Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies Presentation

  • Individualistic and Collectivist Cultures
  • Characteristics of a “warm demander” teaching style
  • Bias toward families and its impact on relationships

Summer Symposium Presentations offered included:

  • Use the Hive to Thrive: Leveraging the strengths of students from collectivist cultures
  • Better is Possible: Being a Warm Demander to Motivate Students and Rigorize Learning

Facilitating Conversations about Bias and Discrimination with Students Presentation

  • Self assess comfort level around facilitating difficult conversations
  • Discuss the importance of, benefits of, and obstacles to difficult conversations
  • Identify concrete strategies for facilitating difficult conversations with students.

Additional Professional Learning Summer Opportunities 

  • Unlocking the Potential Through Podcasts – Unpacking Race Guide
  • August 2020 Institute Day Keynote: Hitting for Contact: Consistent Success in Race Conversations presented by Matthew Kay
  • August 2020-January 2021: Equity and Inclusion Task Force Steering Committee meets bimonthly to plan the work of the Equity Task Force
  • February 2021-May 2021: Equity and Inclusion Task Force Meetings

Equity and Inclusion Team Planning Fall, 2021

  • Created an awareness on the impact of implicit bias
  • Used the reframing model as a tool to encourage self-reflection 
  • Explored and defined ways to cultivate an environment that promotes belonging

Equity and Inclusion Team Planning Winter, 2021

  • Named indicators of belonging 
  • Discovered ways to honor dignity

Equity and Inclusion Team Planning Spring, 2022

  • Identified indicators of indignity 
  • Discussed concrete practices to develop deep listening skills

Summer Symposium Presentations offered included:

  • Convivencia-Equity and Inclusion 
  • Cultivating a Culture of Belonging Through Representation
  • Get Ready to Celebrate! Developing an Inclusive Classroom Library
  • Understand how to correct dignity distorters and nurture dignity dispositions.
  • Build capacity to identify and disrupt implicit bias.
  • Examine the cultural competency of the PLC and the equitable student academic and behavioral impact.
  • Reflect on patterns within the classroom that could create inequity.
  • Recognize the impact implicit bias plays in discipline.
  • Expand our ability to recognize how culture impacts our perception.
  • Share how teams are building capacity and promoting belonging.
  • Gain a deeper understanding on how to identify and avoid dignity distortions.
  • Explore challenges and gain practical tools to enhance your own listening skills.


  • Discover ways my instruction can help students learn about themselves and others.
  • Expand our ability to know students by name, need and their genius.

District 54 Equity and Inclusion 

From February – April 2021, a 52-member District 54 Equity and Inclusion Task Force was formed with representatives from each building and community members to develop a vision for Equity in District 54 and identify initial pillars of focus.

The task force used the text Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity: The Keys to Successful Equity Implementation by Floyd Cobb and John Krownapple to engage in discussions and build common understandings. Educational consultants Teresa Lance and Nita White supported the Task Force steering committee to help build capacity, develop a shared understanding of common language, and lead the team in data review and root cause analysis. 

Task force members were asked to identify what equity meant to them and what a positive vision for equity and inclusion would look like for students, staff and community if there was access and belonging. The steering committee identified three pillars shown on this page as a focus for the district’s equity and inclusion work.