November 2021 Newsletter

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DEI Mission: The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) is committed to a culturally responsive workplace which enables us to build a greater understanding of our students, staff and community. We embrace the challenge of eradicating district and community wide inequities to build and sustain a diverse workforce, champion inclusive curriculum, and implement data driven approaches to close achievement and opportunities gaps for all students and staff. Our efforts are intentional and not limited to assessing and evaluating district policies and practices, but to ensure equitable fiscal accountability in the resources, programs, services and partnerships of our learning community. We instill that equity is not a choice, but our responsibility in creating and sustaining the academic and operational excellence that is Arlington Public Schools.

What we are working on: DEI is working on 3 main goals for this year: Equity Policy, Equity Profile, and Equity Teams. Read on to learn more.

Equity Policy: Following the hiring of a new Superintendent, the CDEIO reengaged the Equity Policy workgroup to review the current policy and prepare for the adoption process. The Equity Policy presented and posted for Information at the July 30th school board meeting and adopted in August 2020. The Equity Policy was adopted as a living document with a charge in the “Monitoring” section of the policy (stating that it will be reviewed annually through a monitoring report to include recommendations for review and revisions, if any, to the policy). The annual review of the policy is ongoing and the board will review edits to the policy by April of 2022.

Equity Profile: The Equity Profile compiles educational data in an objective way for comparison across the entire school division and is intended as a tool to assist external stakeholders (county residents, families, and community) and internal stakeholders (APS) in understanding where inequities exist. In an effort to portray an explicit picture to all stakeholders of ways APS reports and measures district effectiveness and accountability, the Equity Profile will be used as a metric for closing our equity gaps. This profile will also help our organization make data-driven decisions to ultimately improve outcomes for all students and stakeholders in APS.

Equity Teams: As of October 2021 Equity Teams have been established in each of our schools. This team includes staff members of all scales, students, parents/community members. The Equity Teams are led by Equity Team Influencers at the elementary schools and by the Equity & Excellence Coordinators at the secondary level. Equity is one of our core values and in order to move forward we need to have teams in each of the buildings that are action oriented. This year each team will create a SMART goal for their school that focuses on self-reflection and growth for equity, specifically looking at biases and assumptions. Each school will have a different goal that is specific to the needs of their school environment. At the end of the school year each team will be able to share what goal their team worked on and the progress made towards that goal.

DEI’s definition of Educational Equity & Targeted Universalism: The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (APS) defines educational equity as, “The practice of ensuring personalized educational resources for all students to achieve academic success based on their individual needs which eliminates opportunity gaps.” Educational equity bridges the gaps that exist between all students and staff. To operationalize educational equity, our office has adopted Targeted Universalism as a platform to be sure we are equitable and inclusive in all our practices. to learn more, watch this short video: Targeted Universalism

What we are reading: DEI participates in a book study every 6 weeks to deepen our knowledge and sharpen our skills. We encourage you to read along with us.

  • Just read: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Now reading: My Time to Speak by Ilia Calderón

No Place for Hate: In partnership with Student Services, DEI will continue to support staff as they utilize No Place for Hate as a strategy to continue to improve school climate.

List of participating schools.

La Sopa de la Abuela: The Parent Resource Center, Family and Community Engagement, AETV and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion welcome you to register for the Nov. 22, debut of La Sopa de la Abuela/Grandma’s Soup created in collaboration between parents and staff to support families navigate the Special Education process.