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 over the past four years, 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 Task Force

However, our work in diversity, equity and inclusion is ongoing. A District 54 Equity Steering Committee has been meeting since August to outline our next steps. A 50-person Equity Task Force, which includes two board members, employees and community members, had its first meeting on Feb. 16. They have been tasked with the following:

  • Explore the current organizational inequities that are preventing us from fully achieving our mission of Ensuring Whole Child Success;
  • Promote a safe space and opportunity for staff members to share their experiences and perspectives; and
  • Recommend actions, strategies and best practices to promote inclusion and whole child success.

All updates will be posted below, so that our work in this area will be open, transparent and shared with the community. 

Task Force Updates