Equity Advisory Committee
The Equity Advisory Stakeholder group is made up of district staff and community members. The purpose of the committee is to review data and to develop and evaluate the Comprehensive Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CCEIS) and Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).
Ensuring Safe and Inclusive Learning Environments
The SMUHSD is engaged in a multi-year Anti-Racism Initiative and recently adopted a Racial Equity Board Policy intended to redress the predictable racialized outcomes among our student groups. In line with this, we think it is important to explain how we approach the teaching of race and racism in our District. What follows is a series of descriptions of how and when these issues come up in our courses and how we approach them.
Why is it important to talk about race and racism?
We have these conversations because:
Racism exists in our society and community, and it impacts our students.
Racism creates barriers to learning!
Students cannot learn in school communities that do not value its most marginalized members. Talking about race and racism creates a safer, more connected community by breaking down these barriers.
There are certain words that are extremely harmful. We can’t use them, and students need to be taught this.
Conversations about race and racism are enriching! We have a responsibility to help students be inquisitive about and responsive to their neighbors and community members who will come from many different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
How and when does race and/or racism tend to come up in coursework?
We teach everything through an anti-racist lens. While many courses address these issues as part of the curriculum most frequently through the reading of novels and/or the learning of history, race and racism comes up in all courses. We owe it to our students to discuss these issues.
How do our teachers approach the teaching of race/racism?
Our educators bring diverse backgrounds and their own lived experiences to the classroom. All are continually trained to approach teaching controversial subjects with balance and from multiple perspectives. In addition, we provide teachers with a diversity of instructional materials that support a balanced approach to teaching and learning about race and racism.
Is there a course that teaches specifically about race and racism or marginalized members of our community?
In the Ethnic Studies course, we use culturally responsive teaching methods to take students on an exploration of the assets brought and challenges faced by different groups in the history of the United States. Ethnic Studies offers students the opportunity to think on deeper levels about material that matters to them. The course unites incoming ninth graders as they see themselves and their classmates as agents of change looking out for each other and working toward the better world they can create.
While the content of the course is important, the development of community, empathy and understanding is equally important and is intended to support students’ development as inclusive and respectful young people. We hope those skills and habits are further developed throughout their time in high school.
Sharing Curriculum with Families
To see courses of study and adopted curriculum, please visit our website. Teachers share their syllabi at the beginning of the semester, and parents can view more information about their student’s courses on Canvas anytime.
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