Our Story Begins...

  • The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee was sanctioned by the Board of Education in the Fall of 2022 to support Board Goal #5.  Please see tab on Board Goal #5.  Superintendent Michael Ginestre named Assistant Superintendent for Talent & Equity JoAnn Balazs to chair the DEI Committee.

    In January 2022, the District launched its DEI Committee.  The DEI Committee, comprised of 27 stakeholders (Board of Education Members, Administrators, Teachers, Service Employees, Parents, Community Members, and Students), was named after an intensive interview process.  Please see the bottom of the Webpage for District DEI Members and Bios.

    Our first meeting was held on January 31, 2022.  At the meeting we established the following goals:

    • Establish a Mission & Vision for the Committee
    • Review and Recommend a DEI Policy to the Board of Education
    • Develop a Framework for evaluating and implementing the essential elements of a sucessful DEI plan

    We established the concept that each Committee meeting is designed to do 3 things:

    • Build Community
    • Study Together & Build Capacity
    • Accomplish a Task

    At the inaugural meeting we spent some time doing teambuilding exercises.  We set Group Norms for Safe Conversations (noting the difference between dialogue and debate) and engaged in a Social Identity Wheel & Cycle of Socialization activity.  

    Our homework assignment was to begin brainstorming ideas for Mission & Vision Statements; to review a recommended DEI policy for Board of Education consideration; and to reflect on possible survey questions for stakeholders.

    We ended our meeting with a Journal Reflection:  If we were to develop the perfect community... one that fully supported DEI, what would it look/feel like? and what would the student/staff/family experience be like?

    In the 4 meetings that followed, our team reflected on the following:

    • Creating the Perfect Community that fully supported DEI
    • The Danger of a Single Story
    • What it means to Racially Literate
    • the NYSED Policy Framework

    By our 5th meeting, we delivered our goals of creating a Mission & Vision Statement, recommending a DEI Policy to the Board of Education, and setting a Framework for our work ahead, namely the creation of Subcommittees to address the "Pillars" of the NYSED Policy Framework:  

    • Teaching & Learning
    • Workforce Diversity
    • Family & Community Engagement
    • Diverse Schools & Learning Opportunities
    • Student Supports, Wellness, & Discipline 

    On June 21, 2022, the DEI Committee presented its work to the Board of Education.  Please see link to the Board Meeting on the District homepage and here:  DEI Presentation to the Board of Education

    DEI Mission & Vision...

    Mission:

    • Cultivating a community where all members experience a sense of belonging

    Vision:

    • To foster an equitable environment that is culturally responsive, inclusive of all voices, and dedicated to lifelong learning

    District DEI Policy #3430: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the District...

    Policy #3430 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the District, was presented to the Sweet Home Board of Education for Adoption on June 21, 2022.  The District Policy Mirrors NYS Board of Regents Policy Statement, May 2021  NYS DEI Framework Draft

    The Policy provides for Definitions, establishes a DEI Coordinator, sets forth the NYSED “Pillars”, and provides for Training for staff.  As always, policies are reviewed annually.

    Please see link to Sweet Home District Policy: DEI Policy 3430

    Our Story continues...

    Please stay tuned for more updates as the Committee continues its important work!

     

  • Contact Information

    For more information, contact:

    JoAnn Balazs, Assistant Superintendent for Talent & Equity, at: jbalazs@sweethomeschools.org

    Comments (-1)
  • Board of Education Goal #5

    The Board of Education is committed to maintaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive educational and work environment where all stakeholders have the opportunity to succeed and achieve. As one component of this goal, the District will establish a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee dedicated to developing a framework for evaluating and implementing the essential elements of a successful DEI plan (including: governance; teaching and learning; family and community engagement; workforce diversity; diverse schools and learning opportunities; and student supports, discipline, and wellness). Through this committee, the Board and the District will strive to eliminate barriers to success and build a system where everyone has a place and sense of belonging. Every student, one community...ready for the future."

    Rationale

    The Board of Education realizes that in order for the district to fulfill its mission and achieve its vision, all stakeholders must have an equal chance to succeed and achieve. The district is committed to analyzing all practices and creating a structured approach that identifies inequities in the system, and implements strategies to address inequities and ensure each stakeholder belongs and contributes to making our school community a place for all.

    Comments (-1)
  • DEI Committee Members

    Click on photographs to see Committee Bios

     

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