Lake Oswego School board mulls over inclusivity definitions
Soon, the students attending Lakeridge High School will no longer deal with water leaks.
At a meeting Monday, Jan. 24, Tony Vandenberg, executive director of project management, announced to the Lake Oswego School Board that the district selected Inline Construction Inc. to complete the roofing at Lakeridge and fix the ongoing leak issue.
The Beaverton company was the lowest bidder, with a bid of $3,167,739. The work will begin this summer and is expected to be finished before the new academic year begins.
New courses for next year
Two new courses will be offered to high school students starting next fall.
The board approved a "Spanish Immersion Senior Seminar" to be offered to Lakeridge High students, which is for seniors who are part of the Spanish dual-language program. Both high schools will also offer an elective social studies class focused on sustainability.
LaKeyshua Washington, executive director of curriculum and instruction, said the courses will be a great addition to the schools as they align with the district's motive of teaching students about sustainability and advancing its language program.
The board also discussed at length the potential verbiage for the district-wide definitions of the words "diversity," "equity," "inclusion," "access" and "anti-bias."
During the Jan. 11 board meetings, Teresa Sanchez, the equity, inclusion, and access administrator, introduced the potential definitions and invited community members to provide input on how the words should be defined.
At the Jan. 24 meeting Sanchez presented the board with the working definitions with the parents' suggested verbiage.
A community member suggested that in one of the district's commitments that states "Removing all barriers that interfere with students' wellbeing, sense of belonging or ability to learn and thrive," the phrase "while simultaneously working to build resiliency in our students" be added.
Board Chair Kirsten Aird raised some slight concerns about the proposed changes. She said although she strongly believes the district does commit to creating resiliency in a student's sense of belonging, by adding this definition it could almost be telling some individuals they need to "toughen up", instead of the authentic purpose of building resiliency.
"I really want to avoid language that reinforces what (the district) is going against — which is creating comfort for some while continuing to cause harm and trauma for our most marginalized, which is grounded in a white-dominant culture," Aird said. "And we just have to call it out and we have to act and behave differently and go into our uncomfortable spaces that we haven't been challenged to go in before."
She said that some of the suggestions the district received "made it comfortable for white people to have conversations versus all of us to have conversations."
Board member Liz Hartman agreed with Aird's points.
"I like your alternative that included the word resiliency. We've talked about it so many different times and I don't think it was in the framework of the negative or the non-cooperative in the terms we were talking about. So… if we can get the word (resiliency) in there in a non-combative manner that would be outstanding," said Hartman.
The board workshopped a few more ideas on how to rework some of the sentences. But Superintendent Schiele ultimately proposed the group should not "rush something so important" and offered the idea that the district redraft the definitions.
The board agreed and the draft will be reintroduced at the next board meeting.
Chair Aird said she is so grateful for the community members who contributed.
The school board will meet next Feb. 7 at 6:00 p.m.
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