As the problems of racial inequity and inequality continue to plague the nation, Suffield Public Schools is determined to make sure that we are educating both our children and ourselves on what has become foundational issues in our society. This past summer, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council was created to guarantee that the district’s mission, “To prepare all students with the knowledge, skills and attributes required for success in a rapidly changing world,” continues to be the guiding light or North Star, as we continue to navigate a school year with many uncertainties. The DEI Council consists of parents, Board of Education members, school administrators, and students. In creating the DEI Council, we believe that we are, at long last, creating the time and space in which all voices can be heard and issues involving diversity, equity and inclusion can be discussed and analyzed and systems challenged for continuous improvement.
On August 17, the Board of Education adopted the District Goals. Goal six states that we will, “Promote diversity, equity and inclusion for students, faculty and staff by fostering acceptance, mutual respect, civility and non-discrimination, per BOE Policies 4118.11 and 5145.4, across all areas of our District including employment, policy, curriculum and instruction, professional development, and the working and learning environment.”
SPS administration, faculty, and the DEI Council, are confident that with the collective effort of everyone, we can come together to meet this BOE goal. DEI Council’s plan will include:
• Ensuring our libraries and curricula include a range of diverse experiences, voices and perspectives including racial representation, LGBTQ representation, and diverse family structures;
• Professional development for all faculty to equip them with the tools needed to challenge racism, recognize bias including implicit bias, promote civility and mutual respect and to create inclusive and supportive classrooms;
• Utilization of data to determine goals with measurable action steps to ensure equitable practices and systems are in place;
• Community outreach efforts to increase the understanding of DEI’s goals.
The DEI Council will meet frequently throughout the year, with dates and location being posted on the District website. All are welcome to join us at the public meeting. The DEI Council will engage in equity-focused dialogue, review goals and action steps and monitor data throughout the year.