A commitment to Anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusionary practices and initiatives
District 214 is fully committed to and engaged in anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusionary practices and initiatives. This means creating a culture and school climate that supports every student and staff member. The national events and racial justice awakening of recent months have prompted District 214 to expand action and efforts that already were underway and had stemmed from much discussion among 214 leadership and Associations (employee groups).
Professional Development and Learning in Anti-racism and DEI
District 214’s commitment to Anti-racism DEI work has generated numerous professional learning experiences for all staff in all schools. Below are just a few examples from the 2019-20 school year:
Teacher-led Equity committees: Teacher-led groups planned ongoing professional learning experiences for staff throughout the school year, leveraging professional learning time to offer learning experiences that included:
- Book studies and exploration of resources - such as podcasts, articles and documentaries - on equity
- Equity training, including Beyond Diversity seminars
- Student panels, in which students shared stories and experiences to build staff understanding
Instructional coaching: District teaching and learning coaches conducted conversations for teachers to reflect on classroom practices to ensure equitable experiences for all students.
Institute Days for all staff: February Institute Day professional development focused on equity experiences, which included, at various schools: privilege walk experiences, a guest speaker on equity and a staff student panel.
Social Emotional Learning / Trauma Informed learning / Restorative practices: All District schools have administrative positions and staff committees focused on social-emotional, trauma-informed and restorative approaches to learning and discipline. These practices embed a focus on diversity, equity and access by understanding and meeting the needs of every student and their families.
District 214 equity committee: Composed of administrators, the committee met eight times during 2019-20 to plan various initiatives. Committee members completed 2-day Beyond Diversity training. All 214 administrators completed an Administrator Academy titled “Leading through Equity and Excellence,” provided by a local Regional Office of Education. This focused on reviewing the district's systems from an equity perspective.
New staff onboarding: District 214 conducts a 2-year onboarding process for all new staff members; this is currently being revised to include equity training in every phase and element.
Principal / Student advisory committees: A forum for administrators to embed student voice in decision making. Monthly meetings offer students the opportunity to share concerns and collaborate on solutions related to diversity and equity issues. These conversations sparked in many schools the formation of student-led panel presentations to staff. Students have led initiatives to continue to be involved leading and facilitating professional learning experiences for both staff and students.
District-wide Institute Day Presentation: Author and Brookings Fellow Elizabeth Kneebone spoke to all staff on the suburbanization of poverty and the impact on teaching and learning as it specifically relates to the D214 community. Schools leadership teams created followup experiences for all staff.
Curriculum Audits: Assistant Principals for Instruction are consulting with the Surge Institute on leader training and curriculum audits.
Counselor focus on First-Generation students: Counselors have been working with first-generation students and providing regular support around college applications, FAFSA/Alternative Application, etc.