2019-2020 Racial Equity Initiatives
Executive director of equity and student success. Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, LeVar J. Ammons, Ed.D., serves as the district’s inaugural executive director of equity and student success. (To read more about Dr. Ammons, click here.) Charged with overseeing implementation of the district's new racial equity policy, Dr. Ammons is developing specific procedures and metrics in 12 different areas that support the policy. Procedures are expected to be completed by December 2019.
Racial equity policy. In April 2019, the Board of Education approved new policy 7:12 Racial Equity. Developed by a committee of administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community members, the policy holds the district accountable for eliminating racially predictable disparities in achievement. Key components of the policy include accountability and monitoring; equity analysis; equitable practices, procedures, and programs; resource allocation; stakeholder and community engagement; diverse workplace initiatives; professional development; discipline disparities; welcoming school environment; culturally responsive and relevant teaching and learning; equity leadership and infrastructure; and racial incident protocol.
Freshman curriculum restructuring. The priorities of the district’s strategic plan include increasing access to rigorous curriculum and eliminating race, socioeconomic status, and other social factors as predictors of student success. In 2021-2022, we are making a change to institutional barriers that prevent students of color from reaching higher levels of achievement. Beginning that school year, District 200 will change to a single curriculum that provides access to honors-level work for freshman English, science, history, and world language courses.
Restorative justice training. Students of color are disproportionately represented in the discipline system. Using a restorative approach to discipline helps schools move away from strictly punitive consequences and focus on mediation, damage repair, and community-building in order to improve school culture and student outcomes. Last year, a group of about 25 faculty, staff, and administrators worked with consultant Umoja in a year-long "community of practice" training to deepen their skills and practices. Building on this work, some members of the group are being trained as advanced practitioners who will coach colleagues.
Racial equity curriculum. Led by student members of SAFE (Students Advocating for Equity), the district is developing Equity and Youth Action, a pilot curriculum that, in the students' words, "fosters open discussion on uncomfortable topics and goes deeper than just the slavery/oppression topics in class." The pilot class will run during the second semester of this school year.