While we were dealing with the impacts of a pandemic felt disproportionately by race and class, events and activism has brought the Black Lives Matter movement to the forefront of our collective attention. This is also true in the Lynn Public Schools. Here is an update on the District’s efforts to combat racism.
As calls to end racial oppression echo around the country, the persistence of racism has been spotlighted here by feedback from our students and alumni. In June, the Lynn School Committee unanimously adopted a series of resolutions that accepted and expressed appreciation for that feedback, affirmed our commitment that Black Lives Matter and resolved to continue to take action to combat racism.
Some of our ongoing work includes:
- Recruiting, supporting, and retaining a diverse staff (LPS Strategic Initiative 1.3)
- Providing professional development opportunities for all educators focused on trauma sensitive practices, cultural proficiency, culturally and linguistically responsive instruction, and anti-bias curriculum (LPS Strategic Initiative 2.2)
- Rethinking school discipline to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline;
- Eliminating gaps in student achievement by race (LPS Superintendent Student Learning Goal); and more.
The actions we took in June, based on recommendations we received from a dedicated and proactive team of students and educators, are the following:
- Implement training such as Anti-Bias Anti-Racism and Cultural Competency courses into the mandatory Professional Development plan for all educators to take. The Administration will make publicly available the tentative plan for Professional Development for the Lynn Public Schools for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years by August 1, 2020.
- Each secondary school of the Lynn Public Schools will organize panels during the 2020-2021 school year consisting of a diverse group of students, faculty, parents, and alumni (“Inclusivity Panels”). These Inclusivity Panels will be dedicated to engaging in topics surrounding implicit biases, recognizing privilege, and the role that cultural identity plays in both America and our educational systems. The Administration will make publicly available the tentative schedule for the Inclusivity Panels by August 1, 2020.
Recognizing this is an intractable and pervasive problem that requires ongoing vigilance, combating racism will be a continued focus area for the District.