We have had such a wonderful first week back at KIBSD. We have engaged in many different types of professional development and learning. As we prepare for students and the upcoming school year there is excitement in the air. Teachers, staff and administrators have been engaged in planning processes, collaboration, important trainings, professional conversations and lots of growth and development. We have worked on math program training, continued work on the reading curriculum, trained in restorative practices, and welcomed over 50 new teachers to the KIBSD team.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, teachers engaged in professional development centered around anti-bias and equity work. It was designed to thoughtfully and intentionally respond to reports from students about their negative experiences in school. Specifically, students have reported increased tensions and stress related to race and other forms of bias over the past few years. Addressing these issues is difficult and complicated work, but for our students to learn effectively and reach their potential, we must begin.
Embracing educational equity is not the same as embracing Critical Race Theory. The intent of Tuesday’s in-service training was never to be about Critical Race Theory nor to teach or promote it. The presentation was designed to be challenging professionally and to engage staff in important thinking related to our students’ experiences. After the presentation, staff reported engaging in deep thinking, rich dialogue and meaningful reflections with their colleagues. It is clear from the follow-up conversations that we are moving forward.
The presentation certainly gave me new insight into the challenges that many of our students face. It is important that we are intentional about identifying issues that are preventing students from fully engaging in their education and are working to provide the solutions or resources to address those barriers. As a District, we want to empower our educators to be inclusive of other cultures and perspectives throughout their teaching. We also want to empower our students to understand and value the perspectives of others.
This work is ongoing and directly related to the culture and climate of our schools. We may not all agree with aspects of the presentation, but we all have a responsibility to be responsive to our students. Because students are receiving more information from more sources than ever, it makes it even more critical that we help them evaluate that information. As educators we support students in becoming critical thinkers – not telling them what to think but equipping them to effectively analyze and examine their thinking.
I have received communication from the community regarding this training, and as always, I welcome your perspectives and your insights. As a community, it is important that we continue to engage in these challenging conversations, pursue educational equity, and respond to student concerns.
Larry LeDoux, Superintendent