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

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.

Equity and Inclusion Vision Statement and Pillars

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.  Common themes resonated among students, staff, and community that were used to create the vision above.

The steering committee identified three pillars as a focus for the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Develop a culture of belonging and dignity
  • Build the cultural competency of our professional learning communities
  • Recruit, select, and retain a staff that is reflective of our student demographics

 

Action Steps 2021-22 School Year

During the summer of 2021 District 54 building leadership participated in training with Dr. Floyd Cobb and John Krownapple, equity consultants and authors of the text Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity.

Each school formed an equity team composed of building administrators, members of the Equity and Inclusion Task Force and additional interested staff members. Team leaders attended day-long training in August and follow up meetings through the year to develop common language around equity, inclusion, bias, belonging and dignity, to develop greater understanding of the cultures of District 54 students, and build skills in listening and validating. Equity teams are providing professional development opportunities at their buildings.

Optional district level professional development has been offered for staff including book studies and salary lane credit courses.

Human Resources expanded partnerships with identified universities to recruit staff representative of our student demographics.