HOUSTON – Aug. 11, 2020 – Announcing plans to make educational and racial equity a priority for the 2020-21 school year, Spring ISD is seeking members of its community to join the district’s new Equity Steering Committee and help guide the development of an Equity Action Plan. Together with employees, parents and students, the district is now calling on business leaders, local ministers, and other community partners to participate.
Anyone residing in Spring ISD interested in joining the Equity Steering Committee, which will meet monthly via Zoom beginning in September, is encouraged to fill out the online application for consideration.
“During the 2020-21 school year, Spring ISD will launch an Equity Action Plan that embodies culturally responsive practices, diversity and inclusion,” Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson wrote in a message to staff and secondary students this summer. “Our equity work will focus on five key areas – Awareness, Staff Development, Voice, Student Supports, and Analysis – that combined will drive excellent and equitable outcomes for all students.”
Following on the Spring ISD Board of Trustees’ creation last year of an equity statement for the district, the Equity Steering Committee will kick off in September with online meetings, and will continue to meet for the next six months, developing plans and systems that will guide the district’s equity initiative over the course of several years. An equity audit – to be conducted by an independent outside firm – will look at not only student performance and trends in areas such as discipline and educational outcomes, but also underlying root causes and institutional structures that might be unintentionally contributing to those outcomes.
“When you think about equity, equity has a very simple definition. It is giving each person – giving each student – what they need, individually, to be successful,” said Dr. Lupita Hinojosa, recently named chief of the district’s new innovation and equity department.
Equity in education, Hinojosa explained, goes beyond the basic idea of equality, seeking instead to help level the playing field, so that, no matter the challenges they may face in their lives, all students have a chance to excel.
“I hear a lot of people, in these days of the pandemic, saying, ‘I can’t wait till we get back to normal.’ But ‘normal’ wasn’t good for all of our students,” Hinojosa said. “We have a lot of students that have been extremely successful in Spring ISD, but we’ve also had children and young people that were disenfranchised. This is an opportune time to reimagine how we do things, so that each and every child that comes through our doors has the same access to excellent and equitable outcomes.”
Over the course of the upcoming school year, the district also plans to build on its tradition of advisory committees to bring additional voices into the conversation, including perspectives from students, parents and guardians, and other members of the Spring ISD community.
“As we begin this very intentional journey here in Spring ISD, I ask everyone to, number one, understand and accept we’re all learners as it relates to equity,” Hinojosa said, “and number two, to provide ourselves and each other grace and a safe place to do this work. In a safe space, it’s okay to say what you’re thinking, because that’s how we learn, and that’s how we grow.”