June 16, 2020
From the School Board:
Gresham-Barlow School Board
Commitment to Eliminating Institutional Racism
We recognize our communities of color continue to experience violence and trauma caused by white supremacy, structural, and institutional racism in our country. As a school board, we stand with our Black/African-American students and families. We are committed to identifying and eliminating any trace of racism in our district to ensure safe environments for all of our students.
We all took an oath to uphold the Constitution and to support the policies of the district to provide an equitable education to all of our students. The privilege to serve our community and support our children is not taken lightly.
With more than fifty-three languages spoken and a student population of 43% students of color, the board acknowledges our district’s diversity as an asset. It is the board’s responsibility to embrace the demographics of our district while still holding ourselves accountable for our areas of growth. The Gresham-Barlow School Board commits to ensuring our schools are institutions for growing and learning. There is work that needs to be done when racial trauma happens at schools.
The Board is severely disappointed in the racist remarks and activities that take place on school campuses. The recent peaceful protests organized by our students are a direct call for our support. After receiving feedback from students and the public, we recognize that if we do not act soon as a board, then we are complicit in inflicting further trauma to students.
The school board and school district have been working to identify inequitable practices and eliminate barriers. Our work has included reviewing policies, engaging with our community partners such as the local police department, and advancing equity through ongoing training for both the school board and district staff. Even so, we know we must do even more. We will continue to review school board policies and make the modifications necessary to ensure that they do not perpetuate racial inequities and that they provide every student the opportunity to thrive in our ever-changing global community. We will review discipline procedures and school district goals using an equity lens. We will bring awareness to inequitable practices and challenge the status quo. We will monitor demographic changes and celebrate successes as they occur. We will reach out to our community and seek their input and support. In addition, each school board member is committed to looking inward and embracing their own equity journey.
We support our superintendent and her leadership team to eliminate any barriers that may keep our students from reaching their full potential. Our “Portrait of a Graduate” is key and will guide our work. We know the district’s leadership team is dedicated to ensuring staff and faculty are equipped and well trained to meet the needs of our students so they graduate to be open-minded critical thinkers, globally aware community members, independent lifelong learners, adaptable collaborators, compassionate communicators, and responsible creators. This includes confronting white supremacy, nationalism, and racial violence (be it emotional, mental, or physical) at every level within our district.
Our journey is just beginning. We realize we still have a lot of work to do. The well-rounded education we are providing to our students will ensure they continue our journey long after we are gone.