Anti-racism on the move in Parkland curriculum

Latest in a series of posts on Education

Gadfly has his antennae up for responses to the George Floyd murder in our area. Gadfly knows from experience that curriculum change is complex in the best of times and tips his hat to such activities during the pandemic. Dr Roy has made strong statements about similar changes in the BASD curriculum (see here and here). “We need to educate for anti-racism,” he said with definitive clarity. Taking on these activities during these trying times is sharp testimony to the impact of the Floyd murder.

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selections from Kayla Dwyer, “Parkland sets racial equity plan into motion, including curriculum review and discussions on race.” Morning Call, September 23, 2020.

This school year, the Parkland School District will launch a curriculum review, staff training, a community committee and a slew of other initiatives around racial equity and inclusion, as outlined in an Equity and Inclusion Action Plan the school board unanimously approved Tuesday night.

A team of administrators has been collecting ideas for the plan for nearly two years, curriculum director Kelly Rosario told the board. They put pen to paper over the summer, shortly after the school board approved a resolution supporting an “anti-racist school climate,” declared in response to the national racial reckoning following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The plan centers on student and diverse voices in three spheres: culture, curriculum and community. Though the goals have tentative timelines extending through August 2021, Rosario said the document is meant to be thought of as “living and breathing.”

Culture

  • Train staff on the effects of trauma on students and coping strategies.
  • Implement “class chats” on race and resiliency.
  • For new students, develop a new student club, peer buddy system and assign a teacher “adviser.”
  • Survey all students about school climate.
  • Form a staff/student committee to address student concerns.
  • Have an “Equity and Diversity Day” across schools.
  • Build a diverse employee pipeline, beginning with promoting the education field at the high school’s job fair and attending job fairs at colleges with diverse student populations.

Curriculum

  • Complete an audit of K-12 curriculum by October.
  • Develop a teacher committee to brainstorm what contemporary events should be added to social studies curriculum; collect feedback from students and parents.
  • Develop a plan for curricular changes that include multicultural perspectives to present to the school board in May 2021.
  • Review English curriculum in tandem, proposing modern novels that add multicultural perspectives.
  • Develop staff training on inclusive practices to roll out in February 2021.

Community

  • Launch an Equity and Inclusion Community Committee in November, meeting quarterly.
  • Host a broader community event with guest speaker in April 2021.
  • Translate districtwide communications into Spanish.

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