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Staff Development on Equity

Staff Development:

Ongoing staff development is critical to continually build teachers’ knowledge and awareness of the nuanced components of diversity, equity and inclusion. With this knowledge, educators can better critically evaluate their lesson plans, curriculum and teaching style through a lens of cultural awareness, which will result in a more inclusive student learning environment.

To develop their own cultural agility, teachers engage in training to learn best practices around engaging in conversations with students, then practice and reflect on those practices. Avoiding conflicts related to bias, microaggressions, discrimination and racism does not promote the development of cultural agility and further marginalizes students negatively impacted by a given incident. We know that we will not be able to eliminate every instance where a student or group of students feels marginalized. But by providing teachers the tools and skills to engage in these challenging conversations, we seek to turn these incidents into positive learning opportunities where all students can learn how words and actions (regardless of intent) impact others. We seek to provide teachers the skills and training to moderate a discussion in a way that promotes empathy and understanding instead of defensiveness and combative debate.

Anti-Defamation League Partnership:  

In order to meet these objectives, the Mercer Island School District has partnered with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which provides educational programs, training and resources for grades PreK-12 and college/university settings.  

During the 2020-2021 school year, MIHS and IMS staff received training from the Anti-Defamation League focused on microaggressions, building a common vocabulary around ideologies, explicit and implicit bias and dealing with issues of equity and inclusion within classroom settings. Training sessions are required and conducted during designated staff development time.

Incoming staff will receive training in an effort to close the competency gap compared to their peers and all staff will receive ongoing development in an effort to reinforce the developed skills and introduce new best practices related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The District also has access to ADL personnel and resources to provide guidance and best practice advice related to specific incidents. When our teachers or students make mistakes resulting in a conflict related to bias, microaggressions, discrimination or racism, they will be addressed in an effort to promote empathy, awareness and development of cultural agility.

Staff Diversity/Recruitment:

As a requirement of Board Policy 1610, Equity and Diversity, the District is committed to hiring a staff that resembles our student and community populations. The District has an Affirmative Action Plan as required by OSPI detailing the goals for achieving a diverse staff reflective of the community and student population. The District tracks the progress of the district plan by analyzing the diversity data each year and how the District has progressed over the previous five years.