Fargo Public Schools adds land acknowledgement to website and begins creation of an “Equity Action Plan”
Fargo Public Schools has an “Office of Equity and Inclusion” to push the district’s equity and inclusion efforts. The district appears to explain on its website in a “Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Statement” that the goal is to turn students into political activists by claiming it will “prepare students as active agents of their multicultural society.” This involves efforts to “examine and revise our curriculum and teaching practices” to promote equity and inclusion. The school district explains:
Education is better where schools are composed of students, teachers, and families drawn from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, “races”/ ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations. Yet a diverse school community alone is not enough. Inclusion matters.
The school district additionally explains that a goal is to change the way students think about issues. The district explains that it will “teach individuals to reflect on their own cultural viewpoints and assumptions and to modify them when appropriate.” The district further builds on this point by explaining that it intends “to instill a consciousness of social justice.”
The school district also explains that it is in “the early stages of developing an Equity Action Plan.” This plan will guide where the school district “must continue to grow, embrace change, and model the practice of personal reflection and professional collective accountability.” The plan will include implementing a “culturally inclusive pedagogy” and a “reflective and adaptive curriculum.” The term “culturally inclusive” is often used to describe a method of teaching that includes the race and ethnicity of students as part of the lessons taught in classrooms.
The school district also has a land acknowledgment on its website. The land acknowledgment states: “Fargo Public Schools respectfully acknowledges that we gather on the lands of the Oceti Sakowin (Oh-chéh-tee Sha-koh-wee), who are the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda people, and the Anishinaabe (Ah-ni-shin-nah-bay) people of this area.” The district additionally explains that “our Indian Education Team submitted a lesson plan to the North Dakota Native American Essential Understandings” and that “this lesson plan will guide educators to teach about the Land Acknowledgement Statement and infuse it across all grade levels.”
The school district’s director of equity and inclusion has a letter titled “Finding Common Ground” on the district’s website. In this letter, she points out that some students may be “transgender.” She states: “Our students may be male, female, or transgender. They may be straight or LGBTQ2A+. Our students represent neurologically diversity, too, with many students being closer to what may be termed ‘neurologically typical’ while others are neurological atypical.” She then appears to explain that transgender and LGBTQ issues should be taught in the curriculum:
An inclusive environment is one in which students feel more like family than guests. They see mirrors of themselves — representations of themselves in the posters on the walls, in the books and curriculum resources, and in the lessons.
The school district’s website also has a page titled “Title IX” where the district explains that it “does not discriminate on the basis of gender, which includes sex and gender identity or gender expression, or sexual orientation in its education programs or activities.”
The school district also has a document online promoting scholarships for students. However, this document has multiple scholarships specifically for students who identify as LGBTQ. One of the scholarships is titled the “Progress Pride Scholarship.” The description for this scholarship states the requirement to be a student with “self-identification as both BIPOC and LGBTQ+.”