The coronavirus pandemic has exposed historic equity gaps that have long plagued our schools and society. Schools have always served as a hub of support and aid to children, their families, and communities. At our district, the majority of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch And while Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), like districts nationwide, has focused on COVID emergency responses to ensure that students get the social, emotional, and academic supports that they need, we recognize that as our students return to the classrooms, they are returning to a different world.
In the wake of this unrest and the political tensions, our teachers must be prepared to have some difficult conversations. A key piece to these discussions and, ultimately, closing the inequity gaps is to look at the long-term, root causes of inequities and provide all adults who work with students the opportunities to learn how to address, discuss and examine implicit bias as a community.
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Even in the midst of the pandemic, the foundational framework that successfully continues to bridge the equity divide at BCPS is our work with Public Consulting Group’s (PCG) Courageous Conversations about Race online program, developed in partnership with renowned equity expert Glenn Singleton that provides the tools to engage in difficult discussions in productive and safe ways that systemically shifts our district’s culture. To date we have trained over 1,200 educators, school staff and community stakeholders and continue to scale and expand our equity initiatives.