The Northshore School District is expected to be among the first in the state of Washington to adopt a Diversity and Equity Policy.
The Northshore School Board will hold a second reading on Tuesday, May 23, on the proposed policy, the product of about six months of work and study by the district’s Equity and Diversity Committee, led by Director of Student Services Chris Bigelow. The committee comprises principals, teachers, parents, community members and other school staff.
“A very passionate group of people made this happen,” Bigelow said. “The work of the committee is grounded in the desire to meet the educational needs of the increasingly culturally diverse population in our communities. The policy is truly an institutional framework for change. I know that we have much to learn and much to do; this is a good step in our work for equity.”
Bigelow, who credited the School Board and Superintendent Michelle Reid for supporting the work, noted that so few districts have adopted similar policies, it was difficult for the committee to find models.
“As our community grows, the school board is committed to ensuring a world-class education for each and every student who walks through our doors,” said School Board President Amy Cast. “We are very grateful to the dedicated group of educators, parents and community members who came together to partner with us on this policy.”
Like many suburban Seattle districts, Northshore’s diversity is growing significantly. In just the past 10 years, district demographics have shifted from 76.1 percent white to 60.9 percent white, and the number of home languages has increased from 71 to 94.
“Our growing diversity is such a strength,” Reid said. “This policy boldly outlines our work together in the coming years on this topic so integral to the success of our students, staff, and families here in this amazing district.”
The policy emphasizes the district’s commitment to equity and diversity in concrete terms, from providing equitable opportunities for student success, to recruiting more diverse staff, to improving family engagement, to training teachers on culturally responsive and relevant practices, and more.
The policy also builds in accountability measures, including regular reports to the School Board on the district’s performance toward those commitments.
“To fully realize our mission to educate all students, it is imperative we recognize the institutional barriers, including racism and bias, that contribute to the pervasive, disparate educational outcomes within our school system,” the proposed policy reads. “We will take action to eliminate barriers as we strive for educational equity for all student groups.”
Read the latest version of the proposed policy on Northshore’s Board Docs agenda: http://www.boarddocs.com/wa/nsd/Board.nsf/files/AMEURP7C91F9/$file/DRAFTDiversityandEquityPolicy0001SecondReading.pdf.
Northshore School Board meetings are live-streamed and archived at https://www.nsd.org/Page/25299.