The Jamestown Board of Education adopted the Equity, Inclusivity and Diversity in Education policy at tonight’s meeting. The policy states that the Board of Education is committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive learning environment where all students, especially those currently and historically marginalized, feel safe, included, welcomed, and accepted, and experience a sense of belonging and academic success.
“The Board of Education understands, and is committed to, an equitable and inclusive education for all students in our district,” said Joseph Pawelski, Jamestown Board of Education Policy Committee Chair. “We also know that is an ongoing process requiring shared commitment and leadership if the district is to address the needs of an ever-evolving society, the unique learning needs of all students, and the support of people from diverse backgrounds in our communities and schools. The Board accepts responsibility, and will hold ourselves accountable, for every student to have full access to a quality education, qualified teachers, challenging curriculum, full opportunity to learn, and sufficient, individually-tailored support for learning so they can achieve successful academic and personal lives.”
The policy sets forth district goals and how they will reach those goals including:
- Ensuring that policies, systems, curriculum and instructional materials reflect the Board’s commitment to educational equity, including examining all curriculum materials for bias;
Class instructional activities and extracurricular programs shall be designed to provide opportunities for cross-cultural and cross-racial interactions that foster respect for diversity;
- Establishing appropriate district-wide and building-level coordinating committees to conduct the work. Committees will include representation from staff, administration, students and parents who will assist in developing and implementing specific prevention initiatives and develop and implement a plan for ensuring equitable educational opportunities are being provided to all students. More information will be forthcoming on how to join a committee;
- Provide training programs for students, and annually for employees, to raise awareness of the issues surrounding cultural responsiveness, equity and inclusion and;
- Identify indicators necessary to monitor student outcomes, engagement and school climate and to ensure that academic outcomes will not be predictable by actual or perceived personal characteristics. All findings will be made accessible to the community.
“Our school district has a mission statement, and that mission applies to all students,” said JPS Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker. “I am glad that the board has made this commitment to review our practices and systems to ensure that all students have access to the best education possible. I look forward to our work on this into the future.”
The Equity, Inclusivity and Diversity in Education policy is posted in its entirety at www.jpsny.org/equity for public review.