Diversity & Equity
The summer of 2020 has been more than heartbreaking and unsettling to watch as our nation continues to struggle with racism and discrimination.
I have had opportunity to listen and hear how Shenandoah CSD has fallen short in areas by not adequately responding to concerns or supporting people of color (POC), students, and families. It is difficult to accept and hear stories such as the incident involving the use of Black Face that was shared in the 2011 school yearbook. While I was not part of the District at the time, I am regretful that it happened. I have also heard reports of the use of racist derogatory terms and demeaning comments made toward students. This language is hurtful and has no place in our schools. I stand in support of our students and their families and acknowledge that these actions are not acceptable. These accounts of discrimination and racism have caused me to reflect and consider how I personally can take actions to be part of the solution and also consider what can be done from a systems perspective.
Shenandoah CSD acknowledges we can and will do better to demonstrate support for our students. This includes our students of color, their families and other minority groups. This is important to acknowledge as some have suggested that they have not felt that support.
As an educator, leader, and policymaker, I find there are many opportunities to affect change in eliminating bias and racism. It takes commitment and courage, but it is for all the right reasons that our district leaders and I are committed to implementing policies that support and protect our students and staff of color and other protected groups. Policies are more than paper; policies are the guiding principles and the structure for our work. It is what allows us to consider the work in areas of professional development and curriculum that have been referenced. This an area we are continually aiming to improve.
The District has committed to provide professional development for our staff over the next two years with a focus on Climate, Culture and Equity. This plan identifies the direction of work and signals to our staff, students and community we are committed to growing and further developing our staff’s capacity to lead and teach in culturally diverse environments.
Committed to the Work,
Dr. Kerri Nelson
New Policies Under Consideration: