By Barry Brensinger
OUR EQUITY IMPERATIVE
Equity is on our mind and centered in our work. Our increasing awareness of the need for Equity in our schools, community, and country is long overdue. Manchester Proud is determined to ensure that our current state of consciousness leads to enduring change for the betterment of our kids and schools.
Our commitment to Equity is actuated by our fundamental belief in “fairness” – that personal and social circumstances, and the structures and systems of our schools, must not be impediments to educational opportunity. Every student in our District is deserving of equitable supports and opportunities to build happy and healthy futures – futures with better social and economic outcomes for them, and consequently for our entire community.
Manchester School District’s new strategic plan, “Our Community’s Plan for Manchester’s Future of Learning: Excellence and Equity for All Learners”, was built by our community on a foundation of Equity. It calls for a systemic focus on “structures and practices that break down barriers to a truly equitable and inclusive school district”. It acknowledges that our shared goal of exceptional public schools will never be realized unless and until we equitably support the success of EVERY learner.
In spite of the challenges of COVID-19, remarkable progress continues on the implementation of our community’s Plan. This is a powerful signal of the shared commitment of District Leaders, our Board of School Committee, and Manchester Proud to achieve our Equity Imperative. Here are some highlights of current and emerging Equity advancements toward each of the Plan’s three primary goals:
Goal One: Grow Our Learners
- Our District is redoing its course catalog to represent greater cultural and racial awareness
- Simultaneously, it is evaluating graduation credits to increase requirements, align with the Plan’s Graduate Profile, and reflect high expectations for all students
- Policies are being developed to eliminate Leveling and provide teachers and students with the supports needed to optimize opportunities for all students
- Comprehensive guidance policies are being recreated to enable career pathways for all students
- And, our District is about to review disciplinary policies and procedures for fairness and focus on prevention
Goal Two: Grow Our Educators
- Our Superintendent has hired three Network Directors to implement a coherent system of supports for principals and teachers, building capacity and promoting consistency throughout the District
- Professional Development has been expanded, including greater focus on inclusive, equitable practices and cultural responsiveness
Goal Three: Grow Our System
- Our Board of School Committee has pledged to promote diversity and inclusion and has held an Equity Workshop to sharpen its focus and define specific Equity goals
- And, Manchester Proud has assembled a team of local and national experts to build a system-wide network of school-community partnerships, coordinating the utilization of community resources to best serve all students
Join our Equity Imperative!
Every day our work evolves, we learn, and our conviction that Equity must be among our most urgent priorities is validated. Now is the time for us to face the challenge of creating more equitable schools, as the centers of a more equitable community. To this end, Manchester Proud is on a mission to raise the funds needed for our District to hire a fulltime Equity Director, to oversee the alignment and advancement of all Equity work throughout the system. This new Director will coordinate Equity policies and practices; facilitate Equity training and professional development: develop strategies for engagement in Equity awareness and practice; and, assist with recruitment of a more diverse teacher workforce.
We hope that you and your business will join us as partners in this essential work. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.