West Des Moines Community Schools Equity Timeline The district's current equity work began in 2016, after racially motivated fights at Valley High School in 2014. Here is a summary timeline of our work since then, starting with the most recent updates.

Our Latest Update

Executive Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity, Anthony Ferguson, Jr., Ed.D., will present his plan for "Narrowing Our Focus" in summer and fall 2021 to the Board of Education on June 14, 2021.

Implementing Actions for Equity

June 2020 and beyond

The West Des Moines Community Schools district leadership and the Board committed to six new actions for equity at the June 22, 2020, meeting.

Since approving the actions for equity, we have:

  • Hired an executive director of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity, Anthony Ferguson, Jr., Ed.D.
  • Met with Board members, district leadership, teachers, students, parents, and various stakeholders to assess the culture and climate of the district to inform future direction.
  • Co-hosted student-led equity town halls and an open forum session for parents of WDMCS students of color.
  • Established paid equity leads to lead equity teams at each school building.
  • Continued to work through our six actions for equity, further detailed in Dr. Ferguson's time-task plan.
  • Signed on as an official supporter of the United Way of Central Iowa’s 21-Day Equity Challenge
  • Celebrated Black History Month by highlighting students, staff, and historic figures.
  • Used various communication methods and strategies to display support for marginalized and underrepresented groups.
  • Collaborated with the City of West Des Moines and the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and provide scholarships for students within and around the district.
  • Reviewed district-level policies to ensure that language and practices are equitable and in alignment with the direction of the district.
  • Established a culture of collaboration and learning for building equity leaders and assisted them in building equity teams with tangible goals.
  • Provided professional learning opportunities for the School Board, School Improvement Advisory Committee, students, staff, and community members.
  • Began looking at equitable practices within athletics, academics, and activities throughout the district.
  • Critically examined the relationship between our school resource officers and the district, and developed five (5) recommended action steps to continue to strengthen our partnership.
Photos from WDMCS feature stories on teacher Ryan Penning, past student JJ Kapur, and expanding English for Speakers of Other Languages services.

Communicating About Equity

2017 and beyond

Beyond coverage/updates about the district's equity work, School/Community Relations worked to be more purposeful about using feature stories to highlight our district’s diversity as a reality and strength instead of a goal.

We also worked with our superintendent on statements related to equity issues:

Learning for Students and Staff

2017 and beyond

A major reason WDMCS selected the Deep Equity framework to guide our district equity work was that it had a student component. We worked with Corwin and Deep Equity to provide training to staff and students separately and together.

Starting Our Equity Journey

2016 and beyond

We commissioned an equity audit of our high school, established district and Valley High School equity teams, and selected a framework to focus our work. We also scheduled community listening sessions, which became the Community Equity Conversations now managed through our Community Education Department and community allies.

Created By
Alexandra Wade