We will engage our community to build shared ownership & responsibility for the success of all.
The Kirkwood School District owns our achievement gap and takes responsibility for meeting the needs of our students. We also believe our work will be more successful – and ultimately our students will be more successful – if we engage the community in collaborative partnerships toward reaching this goal. We cannot deny the historical tracks that have brought us to this point, nor can we deny the emotions that are felt when talking about race, equity, and justice in our community. Working together, we must examine the data, understanding and addressing what lies beneath them, if we are be successful in our efforts.
- We will be intentional and persistent in two-way communication about the efforts of our Task Force and the district as a whole. Positive actions within the district sometimes go untold or unnoticed. We must be consistently mindful of messaging and communicate our successes, and what we’ve learned from our failures, at the building and district level. We must also actively listen to students, families, and members of our community to better understand our work and grow as a district.
- We will engage those in the African-American community in leadership efforts to truly understand issues, experiences, and feelings that will impact and inform district efforts. Aggressive outreach must become our new normal, as we cannot wait for people to approach the district until they feel genuinely valued and included in our efforts.
- We will provide safe and sincere opportunities for those within the Meacham Park community to share ideas and concerns, potentially facilitated by someone not employed by the district. We cannot deny the historical significance of race, privilege, and prejudice in our community, nor can we make assumptions about how people have been impacted or hurt along the way. Many people do not have positive feelings about the Kirkwood School District – some rooted in experiences that happened several decades ago. We must listen to those within the community. We must learn from our history, as a district and community, so we can be better for our children now and going forward.
- We will establish and promote a range of opportunities for all families of color to engage with schools and network with each other. We must be proactive and persistent in reaching out to families, offering alternative times/locations to meet, as necessary. Teachers and administrators, at the building and district level, will need to actively engage in these meetings and support efforts to get people to attend.
- We will provide dedicated time for teachers, principals, and district administrators to learn from others about successful practices for community engagement and discuss strategies that are less effective. Efforts to engage those within the community will be designed with empathy and understanding about our targeted audience.
- We will form intentional partnerships with and between churches, businesses, and PTO to foster ongoing engagement of diverse families and ensure equitable opportunities for all students and families. We will work intentionally with PTO/PPO at each building to foster more inclusive participation from a diverse group of parents and families.
- We will provide training to ensure that all teachers and administrators possess the skills and confidence to develop positive, trusting relationships with families of color. Professional development must be differentiated and job-embedded as much as possible, but we must ensure that baseline learning experiences are guaranteed for all within our district.