Related: See EWSD Equity Policy
The Essex Westford School District is dedicated to realizing the goals of the EWSD Equity Policy. The following procedures are in place to support the district in moving forward with these goals to achieve the outcomes expressed in the Equity Policy. Below, each goal from the policy is listed along with the procedure. These procedures were adopted from the recommendations of the EWSD Equity Advisory Committee through their collaborative work across the 2021-2022 school year.
Procedures aligned with the EWSD Equity Policy Goals:
Goal A Procedure: EWSD will implement curriculum to teach the social justice standards developed by Learning for Justice and to ensure instruction is provided in antiracism, LGBTIA+ affirmation, disability awareness, and the value of diversity of all kinds. EWSD will audit the current hidden and explicit curricula to create full representation and multiple perspectives in the context of educational practices across academic and social disciplines. Resources will be included within the EWSD budget to ensure progress toward this outcome.
Goal B Procedure: EWSD will create a comprehensive bias response design to ensure clear reporting (including anonymous reporting) and action following incidents of bias, harassment, and other forms of harm. This system will align with required laws related to HHB and Title IX while also embracing and implementing restorative practices. Student voice will be a part of the design of these systems. EWSD will institute a comprehensive system of restorative practices across the district no later than the end of the 2023-2024 school year. EWSD will be data-driven in the analysis of the Equity Policy to ensure progress. This data will include student and family experiences with EWSD. EWSD will seek an external audit of this policy in the 2023-2024 school year.
Goal C Procedure: Schools will train all staff to ensure students experience regularly facilitated discussions about justice, identity, and diversity across content areas. Affinity spaces and other organizational social supports will be in place for students to access based on their needs. Designated employees will be clearly identified for reporting any harassment or bias incidents, and all employees will be trained to recognize issues of inequity and how to bring those forward for resolution.
Goal D Procedure: All EWSD schools will develop a plan to redefine and expand family engagement. This plan will be designed to reduce barriers to communication, participation, language, classroom information, and information about students’ social-emotional learning. EWSD will provide training on family and community engagement for school and district leaders to support these plans. Special attention to barriers for those currently and historically under-represented in engagement opportunities will be centered.
Goal E Procedure: EWSD will develop a recruiting and hiring practice that centers on current research to diversify the workforce. All hiring committees will implement anti-bias hiring practices. Supports for staff will be provided to support retention, including mentoring programs that consider individual identity and needs of staff and affinity spaces for staff. These opportunities will be made clear during onboarding.
Goal F Procedure: EWSD will conduct regular reviews of library collections, classroom texts, and other text materials in schools for representation of those historically and currently excluded. EWSD will also do regular training and revision of practices considered cultural appropriation. Food, art, dress codes, and traditions will be considered and implemented using an equity lens in all schools from both a review of what has been in place as well as a review of new opportunities in the future.
Goal G Procedure: EWSD will maintain and distribute a calendar representing global cultures, religions, traditions, and celebrations. This calendar will provide teachers with resources to use in classrooms and will be highlighted across the year in EWSD communications. Families and students will be able to share their views on the inclusion of cultural practices annually.
Goal H Procedure: EWSD will develop an annual professional development (PD) plan to ensure forward movement toward the Equity Policy goals and to develop anti-bias classrooms and school environments. Areas of focus will include annual mandatory training for all employees that is comprehensive and also tailored to their individual roles. Ongoing leadership training will be a component of the PD plan. Substitute teacher training will include a review of the equity policy and implicit bias training. Feedback on growth related to student experiences will inform the success of these learning efforts.
Goal I Procedure: EWSD will require all leaders to consider equity during decision-making processes at the school and district levels. The school board will review a set of questions related to ensuring equity in decision-making prior to passing policies. Examples of these questions include:
How is an equity lens incorporated within the policy/procedure and the accountability measures?
Will the policy/procedure increase access and opportunity for communities of color and other marginalized communities?
How will the policy/procedure have a positive impact on racial/ethnic equity, inclusion, and full participation of all people?
Are there changes that could be made to make the policy/procedure more equitable and inclusive?
What are the economic and social benefits of incorporating an equity lens in this policy/procedure?