Nearly 80 Delaware City Schools staff members have homework of their own this summer as they take part in an anti-racist book study in one of several initiatives the district is undertaking to become more inclusive.
Superintendent Heidi Kegley said Monday that inclusivity has always been a goal for the district, but the conversations happening nationwide around racism and discrimination have brought the issue to the forefront.
“We have always been focused on these discussions,” Kegley said. “The recent events across the country have brought increased awareness of those areas where we need to enhance our efforts. We have facilitated professional development in the district for our staff and there are continued plans to implement additional professional development this year and moving forward.”
Kegley said the district has brought in a variety of speakers to do professional development with staff, including having speakers reviewing standards about African American history and inclusivity with the district’s Principal Team.
This summer, she added, 78 staff members will be reading “Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom” by Matthew Kay or “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You” by Jason Reynolds as part of a book study. Staff will be meeting weekly throughout the summer to discuss the books.
Looking ahead, Kegley said the district will be partnering again with the Delaware African American Heritage Council to put on a third annual Black History Month program at the school on Feb. 17, 2021, and the presentations are being planned to take place in person, virtually, or both depending on the status of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Kegley said the district has had a multicultural committee and is currently working to find staff and students to serve on a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Team.
“We know we have a lot of work to do within our school community, and we are committed to listening, making changes, and working together with our community,” Kegley said.
She added the district is always open to feedback and input from families and the community.
“Our intention is and always has been to work with our school community and community as a whole to ensure we are listening and addressing the needs of our students. We continue to listen and learn as we seek to continually improve,” Kegley said. “We value the input from our families, and we encourage them to reach out to their schools and communicate their ideas with us.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.