The commitment to action follows Board discussion about systemic inequity within WDMCS at the June 8, 2020, Board meeting, as well as the ongoing national and global movement for racial equity and social justice.
WDMCS formulated the actions in direct response to community feedback calling WDMCS to address systemic inequity. The actions are concrete steps that also represent a Board and district commitment to having more direct and data-driven conversations surrounding equity in the district.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg; we have a long way to go,” Board Vice President Jennifer Ulie-Wells, Ph.D., said. “The part I like about these six (actions) is that they’re creating a sustainable system.”
All seven Board members shared their thoughts and personal commitments to the actions during discussion at the June 22 meeting. Board President Liz Cox called the Board to lead by example and self-direct their learning.
“I think we all, as Board leaders, need to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and take the responsibility upon ourselves to learn, not always look for someone to inform us,” Cox said. “We’re continuous learners as well.”
Board members Lonnie Dafney and Jill Caton Johnson, Ph.D., echoed Cox’s sentiments, with Caton Johnson asking the community to “hold us accountable.”
“My hope is that there are more actions, less words, to really address what’s happening here,” Dafney said.
"These six (actions) are a starting point.... It’s holding each other accountable and making sure that there is really meaningful change.” - Board Member Lonnie Dafney
Caton Johnson and fellow Board member Vicky Poole, as well as Superintendent Remy, emphasized the importance of action 2, hiring a full-time WDMCS equity director. Board members also discussed the anti-racism listening sessions and ways to provide feedback opportunities for all students, families, and staff.
Approval of the six actions was followed by open forum, a time when WDMCS community members can address the Board. During the COVID-19 pandemic, community members submit comments ahead of time to be read aloud at each meeting. Five written comments and four videos, most from Valley High School students and graduates, were submitted for the June 22 meeting. All addressed the actions for equity.