School Board Passes Racial Equity Resolution

School Board Passes Racial Equity Resolution
Posted on 12/03/2020
While much of our attention has been focused on teaching, planning and delivering services during a pandemic, we continue to focus on racial equity. South Washington County Schools is not immune to racism, harassment and educational disparities. We know this from our data, but also because our students are telling us directly.

The issues in our schools were put in stark contrast following the death of George Floyd. Students reached out, told their stories, bravely spoke their truth and shared ideas on how we could improve. Recommendations included professional development for staff, training in cultural sensitivity and ensuring that curriculum represents diverse perspectives. Most recently, another group of students brought forth the importance of a curriculum that enhances productive dialogue around race and identity to ensure accurate portrayals of people of color. We must empower these students to use their voice for real change and take time to listen and reflect on what they are asking of us.

During the school board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 19, the board unanimously approved a racial equity resolution. The school board recognizes the need to take decisive action to provide each student with a welcoming and inclusive school environment that will directly contribute to learning and success. The resolution will serve as a foundation for moving forward to create a better educational experience for our Black, Indigenous and students of color. The resolution, in part, directs administration and myself to take the following steps:
  • Create a curriculum review process that incorporates accurate portrayals of Black, Indigenous and people of color. 
  • Foster a culture of anti-racism and to take all legal steps necessary to further racial equity through the creation of a racial equity plan that addresses the academic achievement and mental/social-emotional well-being of each student.
  • Provide professional development opportunities for staff that focuses on combating racism and developing the attitudes, skills and beliefs that are necessary to support all students and families.
  • Adopt the following messages as official government speech: “We Believe Black Lives Matter.” “Stand Up, Stand Strong, Stand Proud” with approval of additional messaging, signage and visuals that are consistent with the resolution.
  • Amplify diverse perspectives in support of students of color, their families and educators to help inform our decisions.
  • Authorize the superintendent to create a process that integrates equity into all district decision-making, school board policy review and adoption processes, including an annual review of policy 102.1 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Please take some time to read the full racial equity resolution here.

We will continue to ask for your support as we work to make South Washington County Schools a district where all feel welcomed.

Be a champion,

Julie's Signature

Julie Nielsen