Throughout this past year, institutions have been called upon to re-evaluate their role in the perpetuation of implicit bias and systemic racism. The Beaverton School District is no exception. It’s our responsibility to identify and change inequitable practices that harm our students and staff of color.
You may have read recent news reports about a concept called “Critical Race Theory,” often referred to as CRT. The core idea is that racism isn’t merely the product of an individual’s bias or prejudice but instead embedded in our systems, institutions and policies. We would encourage parents, guardians and students to read more on this topic. CRT is not a curriculum in the Beaverton School District but a lens that teachers and students can use when discussing issues around race and racism.
CRT is often confused with Culturally-Relevant Teaching which has been a longstanding practice in the Beaverton School District. This teaching approach attempts to affirm students’ ethnic and racial backgrounds and empower students to excel intellectually, socially and emotionally. This practice aligns with state standards set by the Oregon Department of Education.
In the district’s continual striving to become a truly anti-bias antiracist district, it’s our responsibility to be transparent about the steps that we’re taking toward more equitable and socially just practices. In response to student, staff and community needs, we’re working on the following:
- We’ve collaborated with our staff and community to update our social studies curriculum to meet the Oregon Department of Education’s Ethnic Studies, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and Tribal History Shared History standards. The School Board is scheduled to vote on the curriculum adoption on June 21.
- Our new 40-member Equitable Policies Task Force has met four times. Made up of students, parents, staff and community members, the Task Force is charged with the development of a district Antiracist Vision Statement and review of the existing Board Policy ACB - All Students Belong. Future work will include:
- Conducting focus groups with students, staff and stakeholders
- Reviewing and possibly proposing revisions to our protocol for reporting and responding to incidents of bias and hate speech
- Our staff continues to engage in regular professional development about culturally- and historically-responsive teaching strategies. In addition, our staff is exploring our individual and collective roles in identifying, interrupting and eliminating the negative impacts of bias and racism.
- Finally, we’ve hired an outside consultant to better identify, address and eliminate our equity gaps in access, opportunity and advancement where our data indicates disproportionate impacts on students.
As a district, we’re committed to this ongoing and critically important equity work. Our goal: to make sure that every child, staff member and community member in our district feels welcomed, supported and encouraged.
For more information, please visit our Equity and Inclusion webpage.