Lakeville Area Families,
Martin Luther King Jr. Day provides an opportunity for each of us to reflect about the racial and cultural injustices in our nation and here in the Lakeville Area community. In the midst of monumental racial and political unrest and a global pandemic, observance of MLK day reminds us our students are looking to the adults in their lives to help guide and support them through these significant issues our communities are facing.
Our mission is to educate and foster an equitable education, provide opportunities, and support all students. We cannot ignore that student achievement disparities, systemic racism and social injustices exist in Lakeville Area Schools. We unequivocally condemn racism, bigotry, hateful speech, and social injustices. And we are taking intentional steps to align with the values of being culturally responsive to the needs of our community by identifying, describing, and dismantling systemic racism and social injustices.
Right now, our work for racial justice in Lakeville Area Schools is focused on creating a stable foundation of equity across our system, which will unite our Board of Education, staff, students and community through common understanding and goals. To that end, I want to share with you some of the work that is happening in our district.
- Family Voice Conference: External Consultant Tony Joseph, leadership coach, with expertise in equity and diversity will facilitate a conversation with Lakeville Area parents, guardians and primary caregivers in February to gather feedback on student and family experience and sense of belonging. Find out more about this conference and RSVP to attend here.
- Student Voice Conference: Paula Forbes and Dario Otero will be working with high school students and key staff to hold a student voice conference in Spring 2021, which will help us collect valuable feedback about school culture and the current atmosphere in Lakeville Area Schools.
- Affinity Groups: Our high schools are working with Tony Joseph to create affinity groups to increase students’ sense of belonging and identity, which leads to stronger academic outcomes, increased critical thinking, problem-solving skills and creativity. For more information on Affinity Groups click here.
- Administration Diversity Coaching: Tony Joseph also began monthly coaching with district administration this month to support their continued work for equitable schools.
- Board of Education Equity Training: External Consultant Paula Forbes, attorney, with expertise in problem solving, consensus building and cultural inclusion and respect, will facilitate a learning series on educational equity for the Board of Education beginning this month.
- Achievement and Integration Plan: This is our district’s 2020-23 Achievement and Integration Plan, which outlines actions to support closing the achievement gap amongst our students of color and students on Free and Reduced Lunch Plans (Educational Benefits).
- Resolution for Justice in Education: On October 13 the Lakeville Area Board of Education passed a resolution affirming its commitment to diversity, equity and justice.
The events, opportunities, and initiatives listed above are only steps and parts of this work. Equity is not a box that is checked when a professional development session is completed. Equity is not work that is done by one individual or one department. It takes all of us. We will do our very best to create classrooms and school environments, indeed a whole community where all students belong and can thrive.