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District looks to be more inclusive, participate in equity training in 2019-20

PMG FILE PHOTO - WL-WV School Board approves updates to 2019-20 district goals. A week before the 2019-20 school year kicks off, the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board slightly altered its shared board and school district goals to address racism and improve verbiage.

"Our district goals really drive the mission of the district," said West Linn-Wilsonville Superintendent Kathy Ludwig.

The district goals focus on equity, inclusive practices, transparency, community involvement, capital improvements and financial planning in response to community growth and students' future learning needs.

During the Aug. 19 school board meeting, the board adopted the most significant changes to District Goal No. 1, while the alterations to other district goals were semantic changes to make the goals less passive.

This summer, board members discussed the work that the district goals would inform and considered where to make slight adjustments.

In District Goal No. 1, the word "engagement" as well as the phrase "disrupts systems of racism" were added to the goal, which now reads: "Grow student achievement through the use of high leverage instructional and engagement strategies to raise rigor, disrupt systems of racism, and generate equitable outcomes for all students while eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps."

Chelsea King Martin, board vice chair, said the goals have guided the board's work for a long time and most of the changes were to improve readability.

"That phrase that we discussed adding, 'to disrupt systems of racism," the decision to add that into Goal No. 1, I personally am very proud of us to articulate that so clearly in our very first district goal," King Martin said.

"We've been doing that work in a lot of ways in our district for many years and to articulate it and announce it in a clear way is a very important and necessary step in taking that work to the next level and hopefully influencing our communities and neighboring districts."

Ludwig said prior to bringing the changes to the board for adoption, she presented them to various constituents across the district and received positive feedback.

During a two-day workshop at the WL-WV Department of Operations — which include school services like nutrition, maintenance and district safety operations — this summer, Ludwig said her presentation was also given in Spanish.

"One of our staff members, (a) Latino staff member, came up to me and he said, 'I just want you to know that the fact that you presented in Spanish and that you talked about racism (in District Goal No. 1) means everything to me and I want to thank you,'" Ludwig said.

"Often we don't know how people are receiving or hearing something that we are still trying to figure out how to move into and it's a reminder there are communities that think about this every second of the day, far more often than I know I need to as a white female in the dominant culture.

"They're listening hard and they're paying attention and they feel tremendously supported by these kinds of actions."

In alignment with the district goals, the board agreed to participate in equity training during the school year and work with the bond and local option levy renewal committee to implement a successful campaign strategy for the 2019 bond and levy, which will be on the November 2019 election ballot.


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