On December 6, 2021, the School Board for the Kutztown Area School District implemented a new policy titled “Educational Equity.” The policy ensures that the school district is committed to “providing curriculum, instruction and assessment that is adaptive as well as responsive to – and reflective of – the student learners.” The policy also has definitions for words including “culturally responsive,” “diversity,” “educational equity,” “explicit bias,” and “implicit bias.” The term “culturally responsive” is often used to describe a method of teaching that includes the race and ethnicity of students as part of the lessons taught in classrooms. In the definition for “diversity,” the School Board specifically mentions “gender identity.”
The policy states that “each school employee is expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the principles of this policy and for fostering a school climate that is educational equity focused and culturally responsive.” The policy continues to state that “employees shall receive supports in the form of training regarding cultural competency, cultural proficiency, cultural responsiveness, implicit bias, explicit bias, diversity and inclusion.”
The policy also explains that the superintendent will create a “district Educational Equity committee.” The policy explains that this “Educational Equity Committee will serve in an advisory capacity to the Board and will work to develop an Educational Equity Action Plan subject to Board approval.” Three goals are listed for the “Education Equity Action Plan”:
- Propose educational equity practices for implementation throughout the district.
- Include equity goals and practices from the district’s Education Equity Action Plan in the district’s comprehensive planning strategies.
- Ensure performance observations of administrators, faculty, and staff encompass consideration of the expectations and goals of this policy.
The School Board’s policy states that the superintendent will deliver an “Educational Equity Update” report “to the Board, the school community, and the public that reflects the efforts undertaken and progress made to achieve the goals of this policy.” The data for students in these equity updates “may be disaggregated and divided by gender, race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, English learner status and disability whenever possible.” The data on teachers in equity updates may include their “efforts to teach cultural responsiveness as a part of the curriculum.”
The policy explains that the “district shall provide instructional materials and assessments, and promote teaching practices that reflect and are responsive to the diverse cultural perspectives and identities of students and their families.” The policy then explains that the district’s curriculum will “promote culturally responsive teaching and practices.” In an effort to promote “workforce diversity,” the policy states that the school district will “actively recruit and/or promote highly qualified candidates who are committed to educational equity.”