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Department of Equity Hosts Retreat for School Equity Teams

July 20, 2022 - Equity teams from across SSD staff members participate in equity training activities. the District came together to connect, celebrate achievements, and create goals for the 2022-23 school year during a retreat, presented by the SSD Department of Equity in July.  

School equity teams regularly meet on their own, but this was the first time that groups from all eight SSD schools were able to converse under one roof. Equity teams consist of the school principal, assistant principal, and other staff members who have passion for creating equitable outcomes. The ultimate goal is to ensure that all students have opportunity and access to an equal learning environment. 

“It was a humbling experience," said Dr. Darryl Diggs, assistant director of equity. “When I was first hired, there was a consistent narrative of the great work that has been done and excitement about the new journey ahead. I was able to see that play out when we met with the equity teams. Although everyone is in a different place, they are all committed to furthering this work. I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and do that work with them.” 

During the first part of the training, schools recognized goals that were met in the previous school year. For example:

  • Ackerman School set a goal of decreasing incidents that required isolation or seclusion by 5%. However, they greatly surpassed their goal and decreased those incidents by 36%. 
  • Bridges set out to understand trauma and how poverty impacts students' learning. After a two-part training that included a visit from New York City University Professor Dr. Napoleon Williams and paying visits to the communities where Bridges students live, more than 95% of staff agreed that they had a better understanding of trauma. 

“With this being our first school year back to fully in-person, it’s pretty incredible the amount of work that each building accomplished,” said Kevin Andert, executive director of career technical education and college career readiness. “Getting recognition from peers in our District was extremely positive as well.”

Next, each team created goals for 2022-23, assigned roles and responsibilities, and defined their tool of measure. 

“If you’re not measuring, it’s not happening,”  said Dr. Michael Maclin, executive director of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. “It’s not just about conversation, but ensuring that there are actionable items that are achieved. That is where most people get lost in equity training. They learn, but there are no actionable items that go with it. Equity is about action.” 

Following the retreat, 100% of participants said that they could apply the strategies learned and have a positive impact on student achievement. Maclin would like the teams to continue to come together one or two times a year. 

“My team engaged in some of the best student and staff centered conversations that we have ever had,” said Dr. Jacob Lohse, South Tech principal. We were also able to generate a specific purpose for our team and actionable goals. This workshop was an excellent kickoff for our equity team and the 2022-23 school year.”