Monday, 29 July 2019 15:46

Equity, Justice, and Inclusion

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Lillian Tsosie-Jensen

Equity Official

(801) 476-7869

Karen Miller

Restorative Practices and 504 Coordinator

(801) 476-7830

Sandy Lambert

Equity Secretary

(801) 476-7865

5320 ADAMS AVE PARKWAY
OGDEN, UT 84405

Equity

Every community, at some point, must confront issues of racial diversity. Oftentimes, the active response addresses only the immediate crisis, is done in isolation, and without strategies and tools. This may attend to the immediate need but often is not inclusive of the culture of the community or school as a whole.

Weber School District has taken a much more comprehensive and systemic approach to develop a shared vision of educational equity. School and district officials have carefully examined data from multiple stakeholders regarding equity concerns. This data was gathered from focus groups, teachers, parents, and student surveys, and has been formulated into a framework with meaningful indicators. This equity work began in 2018 with the formulation of the Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Committee (EJIC). The Equity Committee is comprised of key district level leadership, including Superintendent Jeff Stephens and Assistant Superintendents Lori Rasmussen and Art Hansen, as well as teachers and building level administrators. The EJIC has been guided by social change facilitator Kilo Zamora, with state leadership advisors included in the discussion on educational equity for Weber School District. Through this thoughtful process and the commitment of equity, the committee recommended the hiring of an Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Director in 2019.

During the 2019-2020 school year, an Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Team (EJIT) was formed. This team is led by EJI Director, Lillian Tsosie-Jensen, and includes educators and staff from Weber School District, with representation from all district geographic areas. This past school year, both the EJIC and EJIT reviewed the framework based on stakeholder input, and listed priorities to WSD equity work. One of the top priorities from stakeholders is providing a Safe Learning Environment. In the 2019-2020 school year, the EJI Director has focused training staff in this area including topics on unconscious bias, micro-aggressions, and building an inclusive school culture. Currently, the EJIC is working on an action plan, based on the data set listed above, to be released for fall of 2020. We will have resources and strategies in place to support our students and staff returning to school this fall. With our hearts full of humanity, we will walk through this together.

It is important in equity work to distribute leadership. The adoption of this framework was essential to the cultural transformation process. Understanding that this is a learning journey that necessitates staff to stretch and learn about race and racism, to managing discomfort with difficult conversations, and building capacity among all for this work to thrive and grow. When it comes to racial equity, such efforts often carry an extra level of pressure. This is because efforts seeking to enhance equity and inclusion can trigger both conscious and unconscious anxieties when individuals examine values, norms, behaviors, and perceptions. When a framework is implemented effectively, racial equity work can be the catalyst to exploring lived experience, as well as individual transformation. Interactions that make us want to shut down are moments where we are being challenged to think differently. Too often, we cloud this healthy stretch zone with our personal discomfort zone. As a result, we tend to shut down. Committing to staying engaged through the uncomfortable stretch is necessary to push through to real change.

Weber School District is committed to ongoing learning. The work of building and maintaining an inclusive, racially equitable culture is never done. This work is not easy. It will take the support of all to move this work forward. However, we have the framework to guide us and the heart to achieve a positive, safe culture in our schools.


Jeff Stephens; Superintendent

Lori Rasmussen; Assistant Superintendent

Art Hansen; Assistant Superintendent

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Back-to-School Equity Resources for Staff and Students

(coming soon)

Mission Statement

Help create a safe and inclusive climate throughout the district wherein diversity/differences are embraced and celebrated, every student and employee is inspired to achieve, thrive and grow, and where each is empowered to act against any form of intolerance, bigotry (and/or) injustice. 

Director's Corner

Support from the Equity, Justice, and Inclusion (EJI) department aims to empower educators as educational leaders and establish equity for all students. The Equity, Justice, and Inclusion department and teams are partners and collaborators in school improvement. The EJI department and team members use standards and data, supporting schools forward in a growth mindset by way of advocacy, social justice, and systemic change. As we work together towards eliminating barriers to student success, we assure that every student has the opportunity for access, attainment, and achievement.

WSD Demographics

Weber School District is home to 32,588 students, with 5999 students of racial diversity and 1198 students identified as English Language Learners.

Wordology

Multiracial

Biracial identity development includes self-identification. A multiracial or biracial person is someone whose parents or ancestors are from different ethnic backgrounds, while multiracial identity development refers to the process of identity development of individuals who self-identify with multiple racial goups.

Hispanic, Latino, Latinx

Hispanic - those who trace their ancestry to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Spanish-speaking countries of Central and South America.

Hispanic or Latino? 

While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, "Hispanic" is a narrower term that only refers to persons of Spanish-speaking origin or ancestry, while "Latino" is more frequently used to refer generally to anyone of Latin American origin or ancestry, including Brazilians. Latinx – [Pronounced “La-teen-ex”] Latinx is a gender-neutral term for people of Latin American heritage. By dropping the traditional –o or –a ending at the end of the root word ‘Latin,’ Latinx encompasses those who identify outside of the gender binary, such as transgender people or those who are gender-fluid.

Race

Race - the socially constructed meaning attached to a variety of physical attributes including but not limited to skin and eye color, hair texture, and bone structure of people in the US and elsewhere.

LGBTQIA

LGBTQIA. Initialism of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and allies. Initialism of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual.

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