From the Superintendent's Desk: Election Day will provide valuable staff-training opportunity

Todd Hoadley
Guest columnist

On Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 3, Dublin City Schools will not be in session in order to provide our staff members with equity-and-inclusion training.

In addition to providing this important training, many of our schools will be used as polling places by local boards of elections.

Todd Hoadley

Not having students in the buildings on Election Day addresses any safety and security concerns with so many people expected to be in and out of our schools as they exercise their right to vote.

Dublin City Schools leaders always have focused on ensuring all of our students are welcomed, valued and educated at a world-class level.

During this global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and time of social unrest, tensions obviously have been heightened this fall. As such, we are dedicating Nov. 3 to providing our staff with professional development focused on equity and inclusion.

Our district’s administration overviewed the vast amount of work being performed within our district by members of the district's equity-and-inclusion committee. This work is important, and I would encourage you to view this presentation on our YouTube channel, DublinCitySchoolsOH.

The district has established an equity-and-inclusion planning team. This group of 10, including administrators and staff members representing elementary, middle and high schools, began with conversations about the direction of equity work in our district. Recently, this group expanded to 55 members, including two staff members from every building.

The framework for equity and inclusion centers on creating training and tools to recognize, respond to and to redress biases and inequities and create/sustain a bias-free, equitable learning environment so each student reaches academic and social potential.

The planning team brought forward a vision of several action items on which our team has begun to focus:

• Implicit-bias training – already started by central-office administrators – for staff members, school board members and PTO members

• An “Agreement for Communication” used to promote both internal and external conversations

• A space for internal conversations, including an opportunity for students and staff to be heard

• Review policies with a possibility of recommendations for additions and revisions

• Classroom-equity audits

• Transparent communication of the district’s diversity-recruitment hiring plan

One of our action items also involves collaborating with Dr. Gholdy Muhammad during our professional-development day Nov. 3. She has a Ph.D. in literacy, language and culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also has received multiple

research awards from the National Council of Teachers of English and from Georgia State University and UIC.

Her most recent book, "Cultivating Genius," offers a framework that educators can use to engage learners in a culturally competent way so students receive profound opportunities for personal, intellectual and academic success.

The title of Dr. Muhammad’s keynote address to our staff will be “Culturally & Historically Responsive Education for Equity and Intellectual Rigor."

Dr. Muhammad will use Dublin-specific student data and student voices to offer recommendations for lesson planning and delivery of instruction through an equity lens.

She also will walk staff members through an unpacking of personal beliefs, ideology and culture, with the purpose of better understanding the students we serve.

In closing, we are committed, as a district, to equity and inclusion and ensuring the safest, most welcoming learning environments possible for all of our students.

Please remember to vote on Election Day as we provide this important professional development to our staff members.

Dublin City Schools Superintendent Todd Hoadley writes the From the Superintendent's Desk column.