District Diversity Council
June 19, 2020 Update
For the past 18 months, the 63-member strong District Diversity Council has been working to promote Cultural Competence in Carroll ISD. This work has been demanding, difficult and, as all worthwhile endeavors are, frustratingly slow at times. However, we have already accomplished much.
We strengthened the Student Code of Conduct in August 2019 to explicitly cover bullying, discrimination and microaggressions motivated by race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or age and made sure these acts were subject to stricter consequences whether committed on-campus or off-campus if they disrupted the learning environment. We also ensured that consequences remained consistent across extra-curricular activities.
We conducted a Culture Survey to learn about the experiences of CISD families and staff and used those findings to inform a proposed and comprehensive five-year Cultural Competence Action Plan.
This plan draws on the work of six subcommittees:
- Curriculum & Instruction
- Professional Development
- Teacher/Staff Recruitment
- Student-Led Education & Policy
- Celebration of Culture, Bias Reduction & Awareness
- Communications & Outreach
Although still in draft form and not yet approved, the plan makes significant and meaningful recommendations.
Regarding our teachers and staff, the plan proposes:
- Requiring regular professional development by teachers and staff related to diversity and inclusion including a District Day of Learning, in-district after school training, small-group opportunities, departmental field trips and individual training.
- Adopting an appraisal indicator that measures employees' commitment to equity and inclusion.
- Hiring designated mentors (called "Campus Culture Coaches" in the plan) to model culturally responsive teaching practices and monitor the implementation of those practices at each campus.
- Recruiting, rewarding, and retaining minority professional, paraprofessional, and auxiliary employees through specific efforts to ensure that our teachers and staff mirror the composition of our community.
Regarding our curriculum and instruction, the plan recommends:
- Conducting an independent, third-party equity audit of CISD curriculum programs and policies.
- Reviewing the scope and sequence of classes to focus on diverse cultures and increasing the expectations for content delivery of diverse cultures.
- Expanding and increasing opportunities for students to express their cultures through art, literature, and celebrations within the CISD curriculum.
In addition, to ensure that all our Dragons are treated properly, the plan proposes:
- Establishing a grievance process to specifically report instances of discrimination,
- Creating a process for campus administrators to record these offenses (whether microaggressions, discriminatory behaviors, or other disciplinary matters) which would be tracked to Student Services and reported monthly to the School Board.
This is just a brief summary of our proposed plan that is scheduled to be presented on August 3, 2020 for consideration and approval by the Carroll ISD School Board. If approved, the plan will be implemented in the 2020-2021 school year and beyond. It is important to note that there are also recommendations for cultural celebrations at each campus, increased communication regarding the wonderful diversity of races, religions and ethnicities found in our community and much more.
These are our immediate next steps, but not our last. We continue to receive regular feedback and input from students, alumni, and parents about actions we should consider to affect long-term change. Temporary solutions are not acceptable. We are committed to listen and learn from our Carroll ISD community and to promote an inclusive culture in which every Dragon knows that they are valued and respected. There will be absolutely no tolerance for racism and hate in Carroll ISD.
We welcome the Carroll Dragon community to join us on this journey of equity, justice and inclusion.
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About The District Diversity Council. . .
In January of 2019, Carroll Independent School District appointed 63 parents, students and staff members to serve on a District Diversity Council (DDC) with another 120 individuals invited to participate on individual Campus Diversity Councils (CDC). The DDC is a culturally-informed advisory committee that is representative of the students, staff and parents in Carroll ISD when it comes to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability.
The district received more than 180 applications from individuals interested in enacting positive change as part of the district's Cultural Competence Action Plan. Formation of the group is part of the Strategic Plan, but was accelerated after a video of teens chanting racial slurs was posted to social media in October 2018. The advisory councils are just one part of a multi-faceted response by school leaders who have been meeting face-to-face with students and inviting parent/staff input on the topics of cultural competence and diversity.
Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Dr. Janet McDade and Tyisha Nelson, Executive Director of Special Programs, lead the work of the DDC along with citizen co-chairs Pam Francis and Eric Ransom. An orientation meeting was held on January 30, with several meetings to follow in the spring as the DDC worked to make recommended changes ot the Student Code of Conduct. In addition, the DDC formed six subcommittees that began working on various aspects of the Cultural Competence Action Plan.
In December 2018, Trustees approved the Council framework, ensuring that more than half of the DDC would be appointed by campus principals and represent families in each of the district's 11 attendance zones. In addition, each School Board member appointed someone to serve on the Committee, with additional at-large appointments by the Superintendent's Cabinet.
The DDC's charge is to:
- Promote the goal of cultural competence within CISD.
- Facilitate communication and understanding among different constituencies, and serve as a community resource.
- Advocate for and support culturally competent and responsive programs and policies.
- Engage students, staff, and faculty to collect feedback on cultural competence in CISD.
- Propose strategies for reaching cultural competence.
DDC Meetings were held on:
- January 20, 2019
- February 28, 2019
- April 3, 2019
- May 2, 2019
- September 18, 2019
- October 24, 2019
- November 21, 2019
- January 23, 2020
- February 27, 2020
- April 30, 2020 (virtual meeting due to COVID-19 closures)
Co-chairs Pam Francis and Eric Ransom attended CISD's June 3, 2019 School Board meeting to give a public update. The video footage of their presentation is available online: https://carrollisdtx.swagit.com/play/06032019-980
The main focus of the DDC lin the spring of 2019 was to make recommendations and changes to the Student Code of Conduct. On August 5, 2019 the School Board approved the SCOC changes and those have been implemented. You can find out more about the wording and recommended changes here: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicMeetingMaterials.aspx?ak=220919&mk=50337353
This helped CISD align SCOC consequences and wording to address discrimination across various federally-protected groups. CISD has been diligent under Dr. Janet McDade’s guidance to bring consistency to our discipline and consequences under the SCOC when it comes to microaggressions or incidents related to these federally-protected groups. This has been a top priority since the video incidents of October 2018.
The DDC's six subcommittees researched their subject areas and created a measurable goal to include in our Cultural Competence Action Plan (CCAP). The Cultural Competence Action Plan will be presented to the Carroll ISD School Board on August 3, 2020. Then the plan will be handed over to the Strategic Planning Committee to incorporate into the district's updated plan during the spring of 2021. That group will integrate the CCAP into the district’s overall five-year Strategic Plan.