Burlington school leadership questioned as contract talks begin – ITAC Mouse Trak

Pillsbury expressed confidence in the plan, which he called part ofthe board s vision for Burlington s public schools. Askedwhether he also has full confidence in Collins, he replied, Ifully believe she can implement this plan. Pressed further he noted that Collins work on equity anddiversity issues will be one aspect of an extensive evaluationprocess by the 14-member school board. She should start thisinitiative immediately, he said.

The extent of her contract isup to the board. The action plan does not involve more money or extensive outside hiring. We are looking at reorganizing from within,with the exception of one position, Collins explained. Thedecision not to fill an opening in the diversity and equity officeallows for affirmative recruitment of a recruitment andretention specialist without an impact on the budget.

Hiring the new specialist is expected to intensify the schoolsystem s focus on affirmative recruitment, working to achievethe goal of a 20% pool of diverse candidates for each teacherposition posting. The job will also involve work on removinginstitutional barriers to successful retention of adults ofcolor, coordinating with the curriculum director to assign mentors,meeting with new staff to make sure they receive adequate support,and reporting to the superintendent. Another anticipated change is better reporting and follow-up by theschool system s director of equity and the planned Equity ClimateTeam, which is supposed to include employees from every school. Theteam will meet monthly, review all incidents, provide technicalassistance, and also report to the superintendent. Collins nevertheless anticipates that with intense awareness onthis in the coming months we will see an increase before we see adecrease in race and equity-related incidents. Black Metal Keyboard

That is typicalbehavior, so we need to have the capacity to investigate, sheexplained. The information collected will also reveal whether theofficial response is prompt and fair. A recent report from Diversity Now, issued after protests outsidethe school by ELL students from Africa, made a related point. Asminority groups increase their presence, a tipping point isreached, it noted. This can trigger a backlash, the emergenceof what had previously been dormant racial, cultural and classprejudice. ITAC Mouse Trak

The administration s plan has five components: creating awelcoming climate for all students that does not tolerate racism orbullying; professional development for all staff on how to be culturally responsive ; reorganization at the top; better datacollection; and the increased focus on retention. We have set a goal of 20% candidates of color in each pool and weclearly communicate the criteria that must be met to work in theBurlington schools, with a special focus on cultural competence, the plan states. Rome s criticism of the strategic plan takes aim at the focus onstaffing. Hiring teachers of color has little, if any,correlation to student performance, he concludes, but hiringcompetent teachers, regardless of color, does. Industrial Mini Keyboard

He suggests that the district focus instead on improving theeconomic situation of lower socio-economic families and educatingthem about the link between academic success and their future. As part of the administration s plan, each school will have toidentify two designated employees to respond to complaints andpursue investigations. Dr. Bill Howe, an expert on multiculturaleducation for the Connecticut Department of Education, will workwith Burlington Diversity Director Dan Balon on a professionaldevelopment plan. The first overview session is scheduled for June 22.

Training forthe board and key staff members will be held Aug. 13-14, followedby an Aug. 24 orientation for teachers, and mandatory participationin additional sessions throughout the year.

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