GV Board of School Directors Reaffirms Commitment to Equity
At its meeting on June 29, the Great Valley Board of School Directors passed a resolution that reaffirms the District’s commitment to building a school community characterized by equitable practices and inclusive and respectful learning environments. The resolution affirms the School Board’s commitment to opposing and preventing racial bias, inequity and injustice in Great Valley public schools, programs, and operations.
The School Board was prompted to pass the resolution by recent events that demonstrate racial injustice and inequity. Citing the opportunity that exists in schools to enable positive and tangible social change, the resolution seeks to empower students and staff to support inclusive learning environments and oppose systemic biases and racism. The resolution also calls for action by the School Board to engage the entire school community in meaningful and honest conversations about racial inequity, and to build alliances with those committed to justice and equality as a means of working together to end racial injustice and inequality.
The resolution is not the first effort of the Great Valley School District to address equity and inclusion. In 2016, the District joined the Delaware Valley Consortium for Equity and Excellence to begin to lay the foundation for equity work. Last year, the District developed a committee of teachers and administrators who began meeting to focus on hiring, recruitment, and retention of diverse teachers. In addition, the District first convened its Council for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) in the fall of 2019. Comprised of multiple stakeholders, including central office and building administrators, staff, parents, students, a school board member, and community representative, the CDI met five times in the 2019-2020 school year to begin more purposeful planning related to educational equity and belonging. Guided by a five-year Equity Plan, work in the area of equity and inclusion will focus on building awareness, professional development of staff, creating student-centered practices, policy and practice review/revision, increasing diversity among staff, examining and correcting evidence of implicit bias in student discipline and course placement, and increasing diversity and inclusion in community engagement.
Other district-wide efforts during the 2019-2020 school year focused on diversity and inclusion and include: curriculum work to embed units in grade 8-12 English courses, and the development of a new high school English elective focused on diverse voices; preparation for the implementation of Responsive Classroom in the 2020-2021 school year; increased professional opportunities on equity through a partnership with Delaware Valley Consortium for Equity and Excellence; revisions to gifted screening; increased translation for communications; and BASIS (Belonging and Sociocultural Identities in Schools) training for stakeholders.
During the 2020-2021 school year, the District will participate in an Equity Audit, conducted by the Penn Coalition for Educational Equity. The CDI will continue to meet and will expand its membership to include alumni and the development of subcommittees. Finally, a comprehensive communications plan will inform and involve the Great Valley community, and will promote district-wide efforts related to equity and inclusion.