Equity: Our Journey
In July 2003, Columbia Public Schools created the Achievement Gap Task Force, which consisted of 36 parent, school, district and community representatives.
The task force operated under the mandate that information alone would not enable a school to eliminate the achievement gap, but rather a process that enables individuals to change their attitudes and beliefs was needed and held the greatest potential for substantive change.
Results of the task force goals and objectives set
Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, Columbia Public Schools advanced the commitment to equity, social justice and cultural competence and laid the foundation for continued work:
- Formation of the Equity Team to provide long-term professional development to staff guided by the Theory of Change.
- Restorative Practices
- Equity training for administrators, principals, assistant principals, and coordinators
- Equity professional development opportunities for staff
- Building Inclusive Community Workshops, a one-day equity training
- Mandated equity training for all new CPS teachers
In the 2017-18 school year, CPS created the Equity Department to emphasize the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Columbia Public Schools.
On September 10, 2018, the Board of Education approved the 5-Year Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP).
Goal 2 of the plan is to “Develop a five-year plan that establishes a culture of dignity and empowers stakeholders to take ownership of learning, monitor growth, and seek continuous feedback."
Participation in Equity Training, Restorative Practices, and Executive Functioning/Poverty training is a strategy stated in Goal 2.
In 2019, the Chief Equity Officer formed the Diversity and Equity Work Group to establish a guiding equity mission statement for the Board of Education that would be used when making budget, recruitment, or policy decisions. The workgroup meets throughout the academic year and acts as an advisory group to the Board of Education.
On October 12, 2020, the Board of Education adopted the CPS Board of Education Equity Statement. The statement emphasizes equity in all district discussions from policy to budget to hire.
What's Happening Now
Columbia Public Schools Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) Department strives to provide diverse curricula inclusive of stories, history, and characters from various backgrounds.
In 2018-2019, the C&I department participated in a department-wide book study, Opening Doors: An Implementation Template for Cultural Proficiency. Through this study, the department worked to develop and align our language into a strategic plan to articulate a shared understanding of equity in curricula and instruction.
During the 2019-2020 year, C&I continued to learn with Dr. LaGarret King and Dr. Mike Metz from the University of Missouri and expand our partnership with the National AVID Center. This work began a deep dive into our instructional practices and how best we can continue to develop equity in our curricula and instructional practices.
- Elementary Mathematics
- Library Media Programs
- MAC Scholars
- Secondary Gifted Education
- Special Services
- Student Support Services
The 2020-21 school year included virtual Equity Training and virtual Restorative Practices Training for all elementary and secondary staff.
School and Community Engagement
- Various school and community engagement activities listed on each buildings website, in addition to Parent Community University series hosted by the District.
- Additionally, the District is proud to facilitate equity training at various institutions and community groups.