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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update - May 28,2021

On June 10, 2021 building leaders will engage in conversations with district leaders regarding our next steps in addressing the recommendations.  Over the summer, in collaboration with Dr. Cheser, district leaders will synthesize the three group’s recommendations in order to leverage our resources to address the root causes through the development of a coordinated action plan.  We are grateful to these three groups for their feedback and recommendations.  

The Culture and Equity Design Team was a team of 18 student, parent, community member and staff stakeholders who met monthly through the school year to identify challenges and proposed solutions.  The team provided recommendations to district leadership regarding professional development, hiring practices and policies, district-wide culture and environment, and English Language Learners.  The recommendations were presented to the Board of Education, district level leadership, and building leaders through internal communication systems.   

 The Significant Disproportionality work group engaged in the identification of root causes for the significant disproportionality of Native students who are identified with a specific learning disability in special education. This group used the IDC Success Gaps Rubric to identify gaps and hypothesize the root causes for the significant disproportionality. This work group was comprised of the Executive Director of Student Support Services, the Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, the Coordinator of Special Education, the Coordinator of Student Support Services, the person overseeing the district English Language Development and Title VI programs, a School Psychologist, an Occupational Therapist, a elementary-level Paraprofessional in the Special Education program, and a Restorative Justice Program Manager.  

 Beginning in January 2021, the work group met over the course of nine sessions to engage in conversations aimed at identifying the primary factors that contribute to special education disproportionality in our district, specifically regarding Specific Learning Disability (SLD) identification in Native American populations. Members of the team used various data points to complete the analysis, including surveys, parent/student feedback, and student assessment data. Additionally, Durango 9-R collected data from focus groups which provided our work group with additional insight into these concerns. The unique focus groups were: school psychologists, Child Find team, and our Native American Parental Advisory Committee. Historical district achievement data and a past task force’s document called Tell Us Your Stories, a qualitative look at culture and equity in our district, were also used to support our root cause analysis.  

Providing further guidance for addressing the needs of Native American students in our district, our Native American Parent Advisory Committee (NAPAC) developed four goals to support our Title VI Native American Education program.  The Title VI program goals identified by NAPAC during their monthly meetings are:

  1. Increase knowledge of cultural identity and awareness.
  2. Increase social-emotional support for disenfranchised students.
  3. Support students’ academic success.
  4. Increase parent participation.

 District leaders will synthesize the recommendations from all three groups in order to leverage our resources to address the root causes through the development of a coordinated action plan.