The Loudoun County School division’s efforts to better promote equity throughout its curriculum, classes and campuses amid continuing concerns about instances of racial inequalities and racist actions continue in the spotlight this week.
On Tuesday night, members of the School Board gathered in a basement meeting room at Leesburg’s Ida Lee Park Recreation Center to more deeply explore the challenges of ensuring equity for all students.
Tonight, a special meeting is planned at the School Administration Building in Broadlands to promote a community dialogue on the issues.
Tuesday’s program was facilitated by the training team that has been working with all county teachers to better inform them about the history and lasting impacts of systemic racism and to address cultural biases and insensitivity. School Board members, Superintendent Eric Williams and members of his senior staff gathered around tables in small groups to expand their understanding of the hurdles minorities faced since the earliest days of American settlement as part of the first of three sessions that are part of the staff training program.
Tonight (Thursday, Feb. 20), the school division will host the “The LCPS Pathway to Equity: A Community Conversation” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The purpose of that meeting is to gather feedback on the draft Comprehensive Equity Plan and new proposed guidelines for responding to racial incidents.
The program is slated to include an address by Williams and breakout sessions with group exercises to generate feedback.
Also this week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced a new state-wide initiative to develop a Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence. The effort follows the appointment last fall of Janice Underwood as a cabinet-level diversity officer charged with developing a sustainable framework to promote inclusive practices across state government, implementing a strategic plan to address systemic inequities in state government practices, and turning feedback from state employees, external stakeholders, and community leaders into concrete equity policy.
In a series of community meetings around the commonwealth, Underwood will present a draft template of the plan intended to advance visible diversity, equity, and inclusion for state government agencies. The Northern Virginia forum is planned March 25 at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church.
Those interested in attending one of the upcoming community forums may register here.