Board Meeting Highlights
What Happened at the Board of Education Meeting Wednesday, June 24, 2020. What follows are highlights, not minutes, of the meeting.
Graduation. Superintendent John Simpson described how the graduation ceremony for 2020 seniors will be held on Friday, June 26. He said that it will take place at Moss Field, with social distancing and masks required. Students will be seated in the bleachers; family or friends will have space on the field to watch the ceremony. The district will live-stream the program for the public.
Racial equity work. Dr. Simpson said that he and Assistant Superintendent Sandy Wiley Skinner had looked into development of an anti-racism policy that they plan to share with a diverse subcommittee for feedback. It will then be brought to the board.
Other efforts include continuing to work with Dr. Kira Banks of St. Louis University on dismantling racist systems; creation of an annual report that would include data on strategies regarding academics, discipline and other areas, training on trauma-informed practices and developing leadership capacity among white staff members.
Dr. Wiley Skinner described her work hiring and supporting diverse staff members by ensuring that the interview screening process brings a diverse group of people together to work together; staying in contact with candidates of color and conducting anti-bias training before the interview process begins for those participating.
Chief Financial Officer Pam Frazier told the board that the Business Office is looking at the district budget to ensure that equity work has appropriate funding.
Assistant Superintendent for Learning Jason Adams said his department would focus on incorporating multiple perspectives in a review of the social studies curriculum, possibly with the help of a consultant. In addition, he will consider bringing an anti-bias, anti-racist program here that was developed by the Anti-Defamation League and hopes to re-imagine the anti-racist professional development for staff.
March for Change. Dr. Simpson said that the school district committee that organized the March for Change will continue its efforts this summer by having a weekly challenge, to be published by the Webster-Kirkwood Times and shared with the community.
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Simpson said that he would recommend that the board approve hiring a director of diversity, equity and inclusion, to support the equity work here. He will bring a job description and information on its impact on the budget to a future meeting.
From Student Leaders. Board member Kita Quinn presented information from current and former students on the issue of equity. Their suggestions included making the schools safe and nurturing for all, incorporating a social justice class at the High School and greater emphasis on African-American history.
Next Steps. Board members discussed possible next steps including developing a racism database, re-envisioning the current Equity in Education group, improved communication, approving an anti-racism policy and hiring a director of diversity, equity and inclusion.