VIBRANT SCHOOLS SCHOOL BOARD BRIEFING: FEBRUARY 25, 2016

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                              VIBRANT SCHOOLS TACOMA COALITION

SCHOOL BOARD MEETING ONE PAGE BRIEF FOR FEBRUARY 25, 2016:

TESTIMONY

  • Alton McDonald testified regarding his concern around mistreatment of black staff members in the district.
  • Lucas Smiraldo of Vibrant Schools praised the district for spurring a significant improvement in school liaison participation in the Equity Advisory Committee and expressed his desire to see this impact replicated system wide around similar priorities.

TOPIC AND ISSUES

  1. SAFETY

Dr. Jennifer Kubista, Director of Student Life, presented a report around changes in suspension and expulsion rates among “cohort” groups compared to previous years and noted specific advancements at specific schools.

VIBRANT SCHOOLS QUESTIONS:

  1. In lieu of long-term suspensions or expulsions, what discipline tactics are being used?
  2. Are we seeing fewer incidents of behavior leading to these forms of discipline or are administrators addressing these behaviors differently?
  3. How is the term “cohorts” defined here?

(For example, if a student is expelled from third grade…is s/he included then in her/his fifth grade cohort, or is that student out of the cohort?)

AN OBSERVATION

  • Vibrant Schools noticed specific schools were highlighted in the report and wondered about other schools and regions not highlighted.

 

TOPICS AND ISSUES

  1. THE MEANING OF “GAP”

Vibrant Schools welcomed a clarification from Superintendent around the phrase “gap”. The Superintendent clarified that the phrase “gap” should be used when comparing one group of students to another such as report outs by race.

  1. Vibrant Schools agreed with the student representative who indicated that while CIHS is a great program, many families may not be able to afford them and for this reason, access could be an equity issue.

 

VIBRANT SCHOOLS CALL TO ACTION: NONE AT THIS TIME

 

School Board Brief and Full Report Feb 25.2016 Web Version 4.13.16 pdf

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Undoing Institutional Racism (UIR) Workshops

Interested in Lasting Change Within Our Tacoma Community Surrounding Race?

Vibrant Schools hosted two Undoing Institutional Racism (UIR) Workshops with facilitators from The People’s Institute Northwest. These workshops were August 28th-29th and September 18th-19th.  Each workshop session had 40 participants.  The August session was for community and civic organizations.  September was dedicated to educational organizations and institutions.

In October we brought together ALL participants from the August and September workshops for information sharing and development of action steps as a result of the UIR training.  Those involved in the workshops have been asked to continue on as a cohort looking at collective action within our Tacoma community to address issues surrounding equity and race within their own institutions.  Everyone who participates in our quarterly workshops will have the opportunity to share the anti-racist and equity work they have done at the 2014 Race and Pedagogy Conference.

These initial workshops would not have happened without our sponsors: Tacoma Public Schools, Race and Pedagogy, Solutions for Humanity, Community, and the Environment, League of Education Voters, and Asia Pacific Cultural Center. If you have been through an Undoing Institutionalized Racism workshop through The People’s Institute Northwest, you qualify to attend our quarterly events and be apart of this work. We still have our quarterly workshops that we are looking for sponsors and volunteers for. In order to keep momentum with this work we wanted to have each institution and organization take on an anti-racist and equity project for 2014.

For more on these quarterly workshops, please check out: Undoing Institutionalized Racism Workshops & 2013/2014 Cohort. To be a participant, volunteer, or to sponsor these events, please contact us at:Info@VibrantSchoolsTacoma.org.