DEI Hiring: Orange County Schools


In 2019, the Orange County Board of Education approved its Equity in Education policy which states that “equity” is “an interruption of systems, structures, policies, and practices which privilege some students while discriminating against other students.” One of the strategies listed to promote equity includes the “Negotiating, re-allocating, and sometimes re-imagining resources, opportunities, and supports when equal distribution of these things (one size fits all) results in inequitable outcomes that do not adequately meet specific needs and interests of all groups of students.”

As part of the board’s commitment to the equity policy, it set “a series of expectations” and “active measures” in which the district will “actively recruit, support, and retain a diverse workforce.”

The district outlines in its 2021-2022 Equity Plan Working Document how the different “active measures” will be achieved. The document states that “by 2026, OCS will actively recruit, support, and retain a diverse workforce that reflects the diversity and mirrors the demographics of the OCS student population.”

Under “key measures,” the district sets a goal for 2026 where “Orange County Schools staff turnover rate (attrition + mobility) for African American staff and teachers will decrease by 3% and the gap between the demographic makeup of the school system’s Latino and bilingual staff to Latino and bilingual students will decrease by 4%.” Also, by 2026, “100% of staff of color and LGBTQ+ staff will report feeling that Orange County Schools is a supportive, welcoming, and inclusive work environment.”

Action steps to achieve the goal include defining an “EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) organizational culture and why an EDI organizational culture and a positive racial climate are essential component of a supportive, welcoming, and inclusive work environment and recruiting and retaining diverse staff,” “conduct focus groups with racially diverse teachers, district leaders, school administrators, and staff as a means of assessing the EDI and racial climate of the district,” and “conduct employee resource and affinity groups.”

The district’s OCS Strategic Plan for Increasing Staff Diversity states that “research supports that all students benefit from having teachers that reflect their culture, racial and linguistic background,” that “research suggests that students of color who have at least one teacher of color may do better on tests and be less likely to have disciplinary issues,” and that “teachers of color boost the academic performance of students of color, including improved reading and math test scores, improved graduation rates, and increases in aspirations to attend college.”

According to the “Framework for Diversity in the Workplace” slide, the district offered “invitation only recruitment events for identified minority candidates and hard to fill positions,” “identify hiring teams that represent student population,” offer “affinity groups,” and “provide training to hiring teams around implicit biases.”

Orange County Schools’ Human Capital Recruitment and Retention Update for 2024-2025 School Year presentation shows the district’s progress toward its hiring goals.