Inclusiveness and Equity
As our world becomes more global and our communities more diverse, it is incumbent on District 90 to prepare all our students for the multicultural world that awaits them. The social science research is clear: diverse and inclusive classrooms, faculty, and workplaces benefit all children both academically and social-emotionally.
District 90 is undertaking a coordinated and complementary approach to the issues of diversity, inclusiveness, and educational equity. Both the Inclusiveness Advisory Board (IAB) and the Board of Education’s Equity Committee are tasked with making the District intentionally inclusive and educationally equitable. However, both groups have distinct responsibilities. The IAB has been charged with developing a better understanding about issues of diversity and inclusiveness within the District 90 school community, as a whole. While the Board of Education’s Equity Committee will be investigating educational equity as it relates to the student performance gap across a variety of diversity dimensions. Based on the work of both groups, the District will be considering additional initiatives to improve inclusiveness and equity in areas such as professional development, community outreach, and instructional practices.
The following information about the Inclusiveness Advisory Board and the Board of Education’s Equity Committee illustrates some of these efforts and provides information about additional resources that can help everyone become intentionally inclusive.
District 90's Vision for Equity
To ensure that every student feels empowered to achieve to his or her full potential, we commit to provide equitable opportunities for all learners, grow an inclusive school community, and demonstrate we value diversity.
The Purpose of the Inclusiveness Advisory Board (IAB)
The Inclusiveness Advisory Board (IAB) values and aspires to further become a school community that:
Promotes a culture of individuals who are sensitive, responsive and inclusive of each other
Nurtures, supports and educates every individual stakeholder – students, staff and families – to be intentionally inclusive
Holds in high regard, models and teaches important life-skills of: awareness, self-reflection, sensitivity and responsiveness, so as to practice being inclusive as we relate to each other on a daily basis
The Purpose of the Board of Education Equity Committee
The Equity Committee makes recommendations to the Administration and Board of Education on issues of:
Research-based pedagogy that will foster increasingly strong student engagement
Targeted professional development to support the goal of equitable instruction for all learners
Improved equity in recruiting and hiring practices
Equity Committee Members
IAB Schedule of Meetings (2017-18)
May 9, 2017
March 14, 2017
January 24, 2018
November 15, 2017
September 19, 2017
Equity Committee Meetings (2016-17)
IAB Events and Activities
- District 90's Inclusiveness Survey (see below for results)
- District 90 and ADL Hold Anti-bias Workshop
District 90 Advisory Board Ground Rules
IAB and Accomplishments 2016
Addressing the issues of diversity, inclusion and equity requires a common understanding of the terms and issues. Diversity and inclusiveness have many definitions depending on the organization, industry, objectives, and their values. The definitions below represent the manner in which District 90 intends to develop a common language to address the subjects.
Diversity can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. The dimensions of diversity include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language, gender identity and expression, culture, national origin, immigration status, physical characteristics, age and generation, religion, family status, mental and physical ability, class, and veteran status. While diversity itself is not a value-laden term, the way that people react to diversity is driven by values, attitudes, beliefs, and so on. — Adapted from NEA (National Education Association) and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)
Inclusiveness, also known as inclusion, describes the extent to which each person in an organization feels welcomed, respected, supported, and valued as a member. Belonging is an important element of this. Inclusion represents two-way accountability; each person must grant and accept inclusion from others. In such an environment, everyone will tend to feel more engaged and will be more likely to contribute toward the organization’s goals. This requires people from diverse backgrounds to communicate and work together, and understand each other’s needs and perspectives. Definition from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM)
Cultural competence is a discrete skill that can be learned, practiced, and institutionalized to better serve diverse students, families and staff members. It is the ability to recognize, value, and navigate through cultures other than one’s own. On the educational front, cultural competence is the ability to successfully teach students who come from a culture or cultures other than our own. It entails developing certain personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, understanding certain bodies of cultural knowledge, and mastering a set of skills that, taken together, underlie effective cross-cultural teaching and culturally responsive teaching. Adapted from Diversity Best Practices and the NEA (National Education Association)
Educational equity represents the educational policies, practices, and programs necessary to eliminate educational barriers based on gender, race/ethnicity, national origin, color, disability, age, or other protected group status; and provides equal educational opportunities that ensure that historically under-served or underrepresented populations meet the same rigorous standards for academic performance expected of all children and youth. Adapted from the definition by Barbara A. Bitters, the former Assistant Director for the Career and Technical Education Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Achievement Gap/Opportunity Gap
The Achievement Gap refers to the disparity on a number of educational measures between the performance of groups of students, especially groups defined by gender, race/ethnicity, ability, English language proficiency, and socioeconomic status. It is often used interchangeably with the Opportunity Gap. While both describe the disparity between groups of students, generally, the achievement gap refers to outputs – the unequal educational results. Conversely, the term opportunity gap refers to inputs – the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities. Adapted from the NEA and the Great Schools Partnership
The results of District 90’s recent Inclusiveness Survey are below. The survey was commissioned by the District’s Inclusiveness Advisory Board (IAB), comprised of a group of parents, faculty and staff, administrators, Board of Education members, and community members. The IAB has been working to better understand issues of equity and diversity within the District 90 school community and to ascertain how the District’s policies, practices, and procedures affect individuals’ experiences and the current school climate. To view the survey results, click on the links below.
More information and resources about Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Educational Equity:
Article: Unconscious Bias: When Good Intentions Aren't Enough, by Sarah E. Fiarman
Colorism in the Classroom -- September 19 & September 27, 2017, CTUF Quest Center, Chicago, IL
National Equity Project: Teaching with a Cultural Eye -- July 24 - 25, 2017, Madison, WI
IRRPP Summer Education Workshop: Advancing Racial Justice in Schools -- July 12 - 20, 2017, UIC Campus