“ Each of these workgroups is led by community members who have children in the district , but the workgroup members consist of persons who were within the Inclusive Excellence Steering Committee and also includes students that identify or have part of their identity that is the focus of that group , as well as faculty and administration and staff ,” she says .
By Dr . Heather Bennett , PSBA director of school equity services
Today , our students , families , teachers and staff must navigate a public health crisis that has exasperated already existing concerns in safety , health care , food and shelter , trauma and mental health , poverty , access to learning devices and technology , as well as access to rigorous curriculum . Furthermore , our students also desire for community and belonging in school , so they have a safe space to learn . Educational equity focuses on the individual needs of students and addresses the barriers that students and families face inside and outside of the classroom . PSBA defines equity as the just and fair distribution of resources based upon each individual student ’ s needs . In most school districts ’ mission statements , there is a focus on “ all students .” It is the role of school board directors , through their governance position , to address the barriers to opportunity that students might face , as well as create opportunities through policy , vision and mission , budgets , oversight , evaluation , and through engagement with families and students so that all students have access to the tools and supports necessary to achieve their highest potential . To support this goal , it is important that school boards are also involved in consistent professional development , to support the ever-changing needs of their students . Professional development focused on what equity is , why
“ It ’ s that continuous improvement piece that is often found in organizational development , change management , things of that nature . So that ’ s the approach we work with rather than focusing on just the relational piece where you set yourself up to target people ’ s attitudes and beliefs initially ,” she says .
“ I ’ ve done this work for more than 10 years and that part of the work when you focus on training and attitudes and beliefs takes a long , long time and it takes a long time to ultimately see results .