The State College Area School District recognizes the importance of equity and thus is engaged in a concerted effort to provide more caring and inclusive experiences for every student.
Over the last couple of years, our district has taken steps toward improving our school climate. Last year, the school board adopted the district’s first School Climate/Inclusive Excellence Policy. Our school climate/inclusive excellence steering committee is guiding us through this process, creating work groups that will specifically focus on topics such as race, LGBT and gender equity, class, international and immigration issues, inclusion in athletics, and student voice. Additionally, we have implemented implicit bias training for all faculty and staff and begun restorative practices for creating more equity district-wide.
This year, the district hired its first director of equity and inclusivity to coordinate our efforts and community outreach, making us one of five school districts out of 500 statewide to have such a position. With our director, Dr. Seria Chatters, we are working to build a comprehensive professional development plan aimed at training our faculty and staff in integrating culturally responsive pedagogy and restorative practices. Already across our district, our employees are participating in a book club led by Dr. Chatters in which they will read about and discuss issues of diversity, starting with the topic of race.
These are just a few examples of our commitment to all of our students. As we work collectively toward providing equitable experiences for every individual, we must keep striving to understand the lived experiences of each of our students to meet their needs.