Based on the 2012, Salt Lake City School District enrollment numbers, we can boast that 57% of our student population are children of color!
I recently wrote a blog entry on one way we can meet the demands of a Majority, Minority School District: Associate Superintendent of Educational Equity?
The picture above was a few of the participants of a meeting we had on May 1, 2014 at the Westside Community Learning Center next to Mountainview Elementary. The meeting was facilitated by Rosa Salamanca who is a conciliation specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice out of Denver, Colorado.
The stated purpose of the meeting:
To Identify and address educational access concerns for race and ethnic youth attending the Salt Lake City School District.
From a community standpoint, that meeting turned out to be pivotal. In this meeting with Ms. Salamanca as facilitator, we determined that we need to develop a district-wide approach in which all schools, not just isolated campuses, are places in which children of color experience the same kind of school success that most of their peers have always enjoyed.
“Rather than focusing reform efforts primarily upon the building as the focus of school change, a district-level approach acknowledges the critical role of the central office and school board in making learning improvement. The strategic linking together of many institutional elements can support improved learning outcomes.” (James Berry and Charles Achilles, 1999)
In this meeting, and in conjunction with the district’s Equity Leadership Team (met on May 22, 2014), we concluded that beliefs in educational equity, no matter how powerful or how compelling, make little difference in the absence of practices that translate those beliefs into day-to-day reality.
To that end, we are recommending that the district elevate the current position of Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Advocacy (Director I, same level of a high school principal) to that of an Associate Superintendent of Equity and Diversity. This will then allow for the implementation of focused equity practices throughout the district.