School districts regularly review student outcome data to understand which students are more successful or less successful academically. District staff also review the differences that exist in how disciplinary actions are applied to students. Nationally and in Washington state, these gaps exist between a variety of student groups. Examples of those groups include:
- Students from low-income households
- Students with disabilities
- Students experiencing homelessness
- Students in foster care
- Students who are English language learners
- Students of different races and/or ethnicities
The education system in the U.S. has long supported additional funding and other supports for students who have been less successful academically than others. For example, federal Title I funding is designed to support the success of students from low-income families. Another area where different types of support are provided to some students is through IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act), which is the primary funding source for supplementing local and state dollars to support the needs of students with disabilities and special education programs.
Here is a helpful listing of federal funding for various student categories:
Our commitment to caring, quality, and growth compels us to see and serve each student by addressing these patterns both systemically and individually. When we say “lens,” we are strategically examining these unequal outcomes through our federally required demographic reporting which includes race, gender, ELL services, Special Services, and socioeconomic status as outlined above. We explore the potential causes of gaps in outcomes and we are fully committed to eliminating this disparity. Our focus centers on understanding better ways to serve students so that we can improve outcomes for each one.
So how does CSD equity work impact MY child?
Data: Our goal is to ensure that all of our students achieve at high levels within a safe and welcoming learning environment. To that end, we utilize student outcomes, surveys, and interview data to assess what our scholars need. We look for patterns and trends that need to be addressed and we design learning and opportunities to respond to those needs. This means that we look at patterns in the overall data as well as the performance and perspectives of our student groups, which include race/ethnicity and program service areas (Special Services, English Language Learner, Highly Capable Program, Free & Reduced MealsProgram, and more).
Windows and Mirrors: We know that our scholars are able to engage in learning only when they first feel a sense of safety and belonging. One of the things this means is that scholars should be able to see themselves (mirrors) and others (windows) in our curriculum and classroom in a way that builds community. We aim to create spaces where every child feels valued, loved, and respected for who they are and what they bring to the classroom.
Culturally Responsive Education: We address the needs of each scholar capitalizing on their strengths, experiences, and needs. We use research-based practices that aim to provide a variety of entry points for our scholars to learn at high levels. Such strategies include designing welcoming learning environments representative of diverse communities, practices that promote rigor and critical thinking for each and every learner, and wise feedback to encourage reflection and promote growth.
We invite you to join us on our journey to create a stronger, more connected community through continued learning and listening as we intentionally endeavor to better understand each other and the world around us. Sign up for notifications about our community equity forums here.
What is SB 5044? Is it for staff or students?
Camas School District leaders have been engaged in learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion since the fall of 2016. Our leadership team continues to develop staff training that fulfills the state’s new requirements. In the spring of 2021, the Washington State legislature passed a new law (SB 5044), that requires school staff, educators, and board members to receive training on cultural competency, diversity, equity, or inclusion (CCDEI).
- Starting in the 2021-22 school year, districts are required to devote one staff professional learning day to train teachers in some form of cultural competency, diversity, equity, or inclusion.
- Starting in the 2022 calendar year, each school board member must complete training on cultural competency, diversity, equity, or inclusion.
- Beginning in the 2023-24 school year and every year thereafter, a professional learning day must be used to provide CCDEI training to all school district staff.
- Critical Race Theory is NOT part of the new law, nor is any other specific curriculum mentioned in the law.
- CCDEI is a reexamination of state-adopted cultural competency standards and will be expanded to become Cultural Competency, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Standards.
The Equity Procedure has statements like “disrupt my biases and own my privilege” or “dismantle practices and policies that perpetuate oppression.” What do these phrases mean for our students?
Addressing the impacts of privilege and also bias allows educators to be mindful in decision-making about how staff and students have access to certain resources and experiences so we do not perpetuate inequity or unequal outcomes.
An excerpt from Equity Procedure 3112 that includes the statements of bias and privilege:
“We believe that it is unacceptable for opportunity gaps to continue to exist because of historic and current forms of oppression. Camas School District values diversity in our student body, our staff, and our community.”
“We are committed to facilitating the learning and implementation of the following core practices:
- I will identify and disrupt my biases and own my privilege;
- I know my culture/race/ethnicity and its relationship to and impact on others;
- I will disrupt deficit oriented language and/or practices toward other persons, groups, etc;
- I will manage the dynamics of difference;
- I am proactively learning from, about, and with the communities I serve;
- I will embrace and leverage the unique differences each learner brings to educate and empower them;
- I will dismantle practices, and policies that perpetuate oppression;
- I will design experiences and spaces that promote unbounded growth and outcomes for each student.”
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
– Renowned American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist James Baldwin.
Changing the disproportionate outcomes for our students includes facing potential barriers to student success including the role that privilege and bias can play in those outcomes. Our working definition of bias focuses primarily on implicit bias:
Implicit Bias: Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves.
We recognize that each individual regardless of race, gender, service needs, status or creed has a measure of privilege and bias. We also acknowledge that speaking about the privilege of one group does not diminish their experiences if they came with challenges or hardships. One definition of privilege is:
Privilege: Systemic favoring, enriching, valuing, validating, and including of certain social identities over others. Individuals cannot “opt-out” of systems of privilege; rather these systems are inherent to the society in which we live.
The CSD Community Equity Forum website had the language “Our staff is learning to educate through the lens of Critical Race Theory, which acknowledges that race is socially constructed and has real, tangible effects on people.” Why was this language removed?
After hearing from some stakeholders who are concerned with Critical Race Theory (CRT) and because it is not central content in our trainings, we thought it best to remove the language.
The Community Equity website was built in collaboration with community partners from various backgrounds and educational experiences. As the site was being developed in fall 2019, some participants noticed a parallel between the outcomes we experience here in Camas and the findings described in CRT. Specifically, our data show our students experience academic disparity, disproportionate discipline, graduation, and attendance outcomes based on race, ability, and socioeconomic status.
CRT is not a “curriculum” or a “course” in our schools. We will continue to address issues of inequity based on our unrelenting commitment to better outcomes for each and every student in our system
Can the CSD School Board make the decision on whether students/staff/visitors need to wear masks at school?
At this time, it is not a local school board decision, and the following requirement comes from the current requirements from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH): K-12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021-2022 School Year
It requires the following for indoor spaces:
All students, school personnel, volunteers, and visitors must wear cloth face coverings or an acceptable alternative (e.g., surgical mask) at school when indoors.
What role does the CDC play in determining what happens in Washington schools?
Once the CDC issues updated or new guidance, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reviews the information and will then officially adopt some or all of the federal CDC guidance. Ultimately, the Washington State DOH determines the requirements for all public school districts in the State of Washington.
Will there be adjustments to these requirements before school starts?
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) recognizes the need for advance planning even as the science of COVID-19 evolves. The DOH will periodically update this guidance to reflect currently accepted safety guidance. It is likely safety guidance will be updated over the summer prior to the start of the school year. Further, the DOH will continue to work with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to ensure districts, schools, and families have timely access to updated K-12 School 2021-2022 Guidance.