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At the Jan. 11 meeting, board members welcomed the new year with inclusive language changes and gratitude for educators. 

More inclusive literature will make its way into Lake Oswego high school classrooms next fall.

During the Jan. 11 Lake Oswego School Board meeting, members approved two books that will soon be implemented in secondary school classrooms.

"Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi is a historical novel that tells the story of two half-sisters post-slavery, and "Know my Name" by Chanel Miller is a memoir that captures the story of a Stanford University rape survivor. Miller spotlights rape culture, victim shaming and the flaws of the criminal justice system.

The books are part of the district's pilot novel project that stemmed from a national literacy program called Windows and Mirror. The district began participating in the education framework in hopes of offering Lake Oswego students more opportunities to learn about themselves and others.

The novels will be taught in classes throughout the district, and after a year they will be evaluated for how students engaged with them.

Literacy is not the only aspect of inclusivity programming planned for the district.

At the Dec. 15 board meeting, Teresa Sanchez, the equity, inclusion and access administrator, introduced potential definitions for the words "diversity," "equity," "inclusion," "access" and "anti-bias."

During that meeting, Sanchez invited board members to brainstorm how they would define some of the words. Sanchez returned to the Jan. 11 meeting with the first readings of Lake Oswego's official definitions of these words.

The definitions will be used as part of the district's continual improvement plan to create a culture of belonging for everyone.

The proposed definitions were as follows:

Equity: "Ensuring every member of our learning community has the specific support and resources needed to develop to their full potential."

Access: "Providing diverse pathways and necessary supports to ensure meaningful educational opportunities and equitable outcomes for all people."

Diversity: "Acknowledging, understanding and celebrating all the characteristics and experiences that make people different from one another."

Inclusion: "Recognizing every individual as an essential part of the learning community with a right to authentic and meaningful participation and decision-making."

Anti-bias, anti-racism: "Actively challenging stereotyping, prejudice and all forms of discrimination in order to create a community that supports all dimensions of human differences, including culture, race, language, ability, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, socioeconomic differences and other areas of social differences."

"LOSD believes that equity, access, diversity, inclusion and anti-bias/anti-racism are essential to the development of the following 21st century skills, such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity," Sanchez said.

The board is expected to approve the definitions at the Jan. 24 meeting.

Bond details

Stuart Ketzler, assistant superintendent of business services, presented some of the financial aspects of the school bond that was approved in 2021. He said the district anticipates issuing the majority of the $180 million authorized by voters in this first issuance of the bond.

The bond is the second installment of the three-part funding process for upgrading every school in the district. The most substantial efforts planned for the 2021 bond are complete remodels of Lake Oswego Junior High and River Grove Elementary school — both of which are around 60 years old.

The first sale of the general obligations bond, approved by voters in the Nov. 2, 2021, election, is targeted for April.

Ketzler said the district anticipates a 92-cent per $1,000 increase in the total property tax rate for citizens as a result of the upcoming April's sale. While subject to market conditions on the date of the 2022 bond sale, the total district property tax rate in 2022-23 property tax bills is estimated to be $9.03 per $1,000 in assessed value.

Ketzler will bring the resolution regarding the financial spending for approval at the Jan. 24 meeting.

The next board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24.

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