Equity Work in AUHSD
The commitment to racial equity work in the Acalanes Union High School District is unwavering. As part of the District's Local Control and Accountability Plan, significant investments in professional development, curricular changes and student climate have taken place over the last five years.
Supporting LGTBQ+ students and families: A conversation with Rainbow Community Center: AUHSD is hosting a two-part series in support of our LGBTQ+ students and families in our continuing partnership with the Rainbow Community Center.
- Part I - Monday, November 1 (5:30 - 7:00 p.m.): explores aspects of gender identity, allyship, and fluency with terms and language in support of LGBTQ+ students.
- Part II - Monday, December 6 (5:30 - 7:00 p.m.): takes a deeper dive into intersectionality, the use of pronouns and laws and policies to protect LGBTQ+ students. The invitation link for the Part II webinar will be available after November 6.
There will be time for questions and discussions during both webinars. The webinar will be hosted by Amy McNamara, Associate Superintendent of Student Services; Lynnā McPhatter Harris, Director of Student Support, Equity and Inclusion; and the staff of the Rainbow Community Center. Recording of the first webinar can be seen below.
Part 2 Video:
Equity Lessons: In our ongoing efforts to continue equity work, the Acalanes Union High School District conducts several schoolwide equity lessons/discussions throughout the year. Lessons focus on identity, difference, and how schools can become more safe and welcoming environments for all students. Each site works with teacher leaders, students and stakeholders to design lessons that reflect the needs of their school. For more information on a site's particular lessons, contact the site principal.
Student Experience: In 2015-2016, AUHSD held its first student summit, bringing together students from all four comprehensive schools to discuss the racial experiences of students of color in the District. The need immediately became apparent to do more work on inclusion and culture at every campus. Every school in the district has a student and staff "Equi-team" that meets to discuss site issues, plan activities and lessons on inclusion, hold academy sessions, bring in guest speakers, and meaningfully engage the school community on issues of race and equity.
BSU Summits: Beginning in 2019, the District bought together all four site Black Student Unions for a day of community, engagement and action planning. Our 2022 BSU Summit was held in September and was attended by 114 students who came together for a day of community and education. Writer Arshay Cooper, whose book A Most Beautiful Thing was made into a movie, was the keynote speaker. See his presentation:
Professional Development: As part of the District's professional development program, since 2016 AUHSD has been engaged in training all staff in a multi day workshop, Beyond Diversity, facilitated by Pacific Educational Group. The purpose of the training is for staff to learn protocols to engage, sustain and deepen interracial dialogue and reflect on the impact of race in their lives. We believe that race matters and that it is critical we talk about race openly and candidly so we can reveal the personal and institutional biases that prevent students from succeeding at the highest levels. We have also trained selected staff in Beyond Diversity II and a six day seminar, Leads, which focuses on deepening our personal committment to racial equity work and guides action planning.
In addition to the foundational work facilitated by Pacific Educational Group, site principals and staff are also engaged in work that draws on the experiences of Dr. Anthony Muhammad, a noted consultant, leader and teacher who helps schools identify necessary elements of school culture to close achievement gaps and create inclusive school cultures.
Restorative Practices: As of fall of 2020, Restorative practices are used in AUHSD on a limited basis. Wellness staff, administrators and a small group of teachers, parents and students have participated in several trainings on restorative circles, both for the purposes of mediating conflict and for building school community. The District will incorporate restorative practice training into future professional development opportunities.
Bias Reporting: In the fall of 2020, AUHSD has implemented a Bias Reporting system at all of its school sites. This system enables students to submit incident reports of Bias that are reviewed by a diverse team of staff at the school sites. Bias Reporting focuses on care for the person harmed by a Bias incident and ensures follow up by the school site. For more information about Bias reporting , click HERE.
Curriculum: AUHSD is actively examining our curriculum for bias. In 2018-2019, The English Language Arts (ELA) Department created a new framework which put authors of color and female authors in the required core curriculum at every grade level. In 2019, teachers began working on new courses to be taught in AUHSD: Ethnic Studies and a senior English class, Deconstructing Race. In 2020, the District has begun a partnership with Facing History and Ourselves to create meaningful, culturally competent units in Social Studies. Teacher leads at each site in English and History are working on a culturally responsive framework for our ELA and History curriculum.
Equity Curriculum: In 2020-2021, The district trained teachers in the delivery of schoolwide equity curriculum that was developed collaboratively based on input from staff, students and parents. In the fall of 2020, teachers delivered to all students eight lessons focused around race and identity, racism, microaggressions, and the impact of COVID 19 on communities of color. The primary purpose of these lessons is to help students form a healthy racial identity, learn how to interrupt racism, and be sensitive to the multiple perspectives in the District's diverse schools. In the spring of 2021, the District is planning additional lessons focused on Gender and Sexual Orientation and continuing discussions on race and other aspects of diversity.
Parent Education: Since 2018 we have partnered with Pacific Educational Group to offer parent seminars that provide parents an overview of what racial equity work is taking place in the District. In 2020, the DEI parent groups of each site are offering sessions for their parent community with the District's Equity Consultant, Dr. Lori Watson. The District will continue efforts to engage our parent community and provide parents with age appropriate resources to meaningfully talk about race at home.
Staffing: The District is committed to hiring a more diverse staff and supporting the current staff of color. The Human Resources Department has added required questions around racial bias and priviledge to interviews and expanded recruiting efforts in order to attract more diverse candidates.