Policies and Practices In Support of Equity

The district has established goals and is taking steps to ensure that our Policies and Practices are supporting all our students. For example, on April 10, 2019, the Superintendent provided a protocol to principals and school administrators for responding to acts of bias and hate crimes in the Needham Public Schools. This protocol outlined specific steps to ensure safety, investigate, communicate, involve others, support impacted or marginalized students and staff, and promote healing. As a general rule, we will share essential and appropriate information, updates and resources without amplifying the biased and hateful voices or actions of those who violate school rules, school norms, commit crimes, or jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of members of the school community.

Please see below for the goals and action steps being carried out to address all district Policies and Practices.

Goals:
  • Review policies and practices through the lens of equity and inclusion and recommend revisions where necessary; collaborate with the School Committee to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • Develop a system-wide process for implementation, enforcement, and reporting of disciplinary matters.
  • Review the District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP) through the lens of equity and make any necessary revisions.

Action Steps:
  • Update student placement procedures in student handbooks to ensure consistency.
  • Review student attendance, discipline, special education referrals, and related areas of concern to ensure inclusive and supportive policies and practices.
  • Develop a system to regularly collect aggregated and disaggregated discipline data including suspensions, office referrals, and bias-based incidents; and range of responses, current practices, and resources.
  • Provide staff with the skills and tools to be able to implement culturally appropriate responses to behavior and conflict; and help heal individuals, groups, and the community when they experience bias-based incidents or significant harm.

Implementation:
  • Guidelines for Responding to Hate and Bias completed at the district level (see link to protocol in first paragraph above).
  • In the 2021-2022 school year, staff and administrators at the Sunita Williams Elementary School draft a protocol for handling race-based incidents.
  • Guidelines for class placement and course selection - draft completed and shared with principals for feedback.
  • Special education enrollment disaggregated by sub-group: ELL, race, socio-economic status and the next step is to analyze and identify trends (i.e., disproportionality of students identified into special education).
  • Tiered Focus Monitoring Self Assessment completed and submitted to DESE for review.
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Police Chief and Superintendent signed that includes language around training (e.g., cultural proficiency training) for the School Resource Officer and interaction with all students on and off campus.
  • Disproportionality of our discipline and response practices being identified in order to build a more inclusive school environment and supportive school climate.
  • Position statement of K-12 Curriculum and Critical Race Theory from the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents circulated internally because it reflects the district's thinking and practices.

 

The School Committee revised our policies pertaining to civil rights in March 2018, including policies on Non-Discrimination and Harassment, Equal Educational Opportunities, and Bullying Prevention. Please see current policies.



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