Concord Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle Regional School District plan to “dismantle instructional practices that support a gatekeeping philosophy”
On July 1, 2022, Concord Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle Regional School District published a document detailing the “Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging and Anti-Racism” for 2022-2027. This strategic plan includes ensuring a “culturally responsive curriculum” and “equitable and inclusive classrooms.” In order to achieve this goal, the districts intend to “dismantle instructional practices that support a gatekeeping philosophy.” The districts will also “ensure all teachers receive DEIB and anti-racism” training. Teachers in their first year must take an “Anti-racist School Practices course by the end of their third year of employment.”
The school districts will also use students as political activists to push “social justice advocacy.” The strategic plan states: “Create space for a student-centered advisory group to discus DEIB and social justice advocacy topics organized, supported, and facilitated by the building principals and the Director of DEIB, to encourage collaboration amongst student leaders, and promote DEIB initiatives within their school through clubs/organizations.”
The strategic plan mentions implementing an “equity audit.” The plan states that the districts will “complete and address the findings and recommendation of the Equity Audit” submitted by a person from “KW Diversity, Inc.” The plan explains that “Concord Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle Regional School District School Committee approved for the Districts to commission an equity audit in the spring of 2021.” Equity surveys were provided to “middle and high school students, parents, faculty and staff, school administrators, and the School Committee.” The “completed report” will be submitted in January 2023.
The executive summary of the strategic plan complains about “heterosexism” as a form of oppression. The plan states: “Through difficult conversations about race, we became emboldened to confront racism and other systems of oppression (heterosexism, ableism, and anti-Semitism) that negatively impact our community, especially our BIPOC faculty, staff, students, and families.” The strategic plan then lists several goals for the school districts to achieve:
- Professional Development: To enhance the accessibility of professional development opportunities for all faculty and staff, focusing on embedding cultural competency and anti-racist practices in all academic and training programs to meet the diverse learning and professional needs of each student, faculty, and staff.
- School Culture: To cultivate a welcoming, respectful, and anti-racist community that models behaviors grounded in equity, inclusion, belonging, and balances psychological safety with accountability.
- Faculty, staff, and students have a shared responsibility to foster allyship among students, faculty, and staff for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Culturally Responsive Curriculum, Equitable and Inclusive Classroom: To continue promoting inclusive and equitable practices in the classroom and a culturally responsive curriculum that affirms student’s social identities, and increases their understanding, and appreciation of diverse perspectives and learning styles.
- All Educators incorporate equitable and anti-racist practices in teaching and learning.
- Student and Family Engagement: To leverage the cultural wealth of our students and families by creating partnerships that recognize their voice, contributions, and needs.
- Hiring, Mentoring, and Retention: To increase recruitment, hiring, mentoring, and retention of racially and ethnically diverse staff and ensure their representation in teaching and leadership positions across our schools is continuously increasing.
- Faculty, and staff, especially those historically underrepresented in our school community have access to affinity support groups and opportunities to advance their careers in the district.
- Transparent Communication and Institutional Accountability: To cultivate a welcoming, respectful, and anti-racist community that models behaviors grounded in equity, inclusion, belonging, and balances psychological safety with accountability.
- All stakeholders in the community know how to report hate incidents and seek support and guidance.
The strategic plan features a document titled “Aspects of My Identity.” The plan asks: “How do you identify with each aspect of your identity using the chart below?” The aspects listed are “age,” “abilities,” “class/socio-economic status,” “ability/disability,” “education,” “gender identity or expression,” “language,” “sexual orientation,” “marital status,” “migration/non-migration,” “physical appearance,” “race/ethnicity,” and “religion/spirituality.” The plan then asks several questions regarding the “identity” of people:
- How does your identity shape you as a person?
- Which aspects of your identity do 1. you or 2. others pay attention to most?
- What feelings arise for you – positive/negative?
- Give an example of when an aspect of your identity caused someone to change their behavior, either positive or negative. What emotions arose?
- How does your identity impact your practice and ways of being in the world?