Danville Schools form Diversity and Equity Council amid Black Lives Matter movement

Assistant Superintendent for Danville Independent Schools Sheri Satterly said the district’s board of education formed a Diversity and Equity Council “in the need for equity to be addressed amidst the Black Lives Matter movement.” Satterly and board member Wade Stanfield are facilitators of the council and develop agendas for the meeting.

“Equity is an issue that stems from multiple areas, including education,” Satterly said in an email. “It is the goal of the council to identify equity issues within the Danville Schools and to provide the board of education with recommendations for addressing those equity concerns.”

The council has been meeting virtually on Zoom during the pandemic on Wednesday evenings, with frequency dependent on tasks at hand. These meetings have not been open to the public. The next meeting is Jan. 13.

Satterly said currently on the list of items to accomplish “are to make recommendations concerning professional development for staff on implicit bias, culturally responsive teaching, trauma informed care, among other things. We also hope to draft a new goal for the Danville Schools Strategic Plan around equity in instruction, with a large focus on culturally responsive literacy and literature. We will also be drafting a policy for the district on equity.  The council will also be working with the district and the board of education on a recruitment plan that includes goals and strategies for hiring and retaining minority teaching candidates.”

Satterly said the council is comprised of several members, ranging from district alumni, certified employees, classified employees, a school board member, community members and parents. Some of the members are minority graduates of the school district “and have the experience that the council needs to really hear regarding what education looks like for our minority students,” Satterly said. “It has also been important to have the voice of our certified and classified staff on this council. This has allowed the council to see things from the perspective of the classroom.”

The council looks at things like student engagement and gap reduction, she said. The district has partnered with

Roger Cleveland of Millennium Learning Concepts to work with the district to address equity and bias. Through this effort, training has been provided for staff on implicit bias, and there has been an Equity Desk Audit of the district, the purpose of which was to look at equity and areas of improvement.

“Students are more engaged when they see other students like themselves, teachers that look like them, and others who have similar experiences to theirs,” Satterly said.