Meriden Public Schools

Advancing Equity in Meriden Public Schools

District Statement

To achieve equity and access for all, we must collectively challenge existing inequities, build meaningful relationships, and actively remove barriers to success. We value the uniqueness and varied experiences of all our students and staff and believe that regardless of racial identity, socioeconomic status, or prior learning experiences, all students must have access to equitable learning opportunities and digital resources to expand their world. The recognition of unconscious or conscious systemic and individual bias continue to guide our efforts and commitment to assure equity for all.

 

Summary of Equity Work

The Meriden Public Schools continues to be proactive in combating systemic racism in our schools. We embrace the richness of our diversity, value our tapestry of different colors and cultures, and remain committed to addressing racial discrimination and unconscious bias. Meriden applies an equity lens to all its initiatives, ensuring all students have access to quality educational experiences and graduate college, career and life ready. Our long standing commitment to equity is evident in initiatives implemented during the last decade. We have eliminated tracking, ensured courses were rigorous and college level, implemented a “no zero” grading practices to support students, transitioned from traditional to student-centered learning classes, opened access to all courses, including honors, Advanced Placement and Early College Experience, initiated restoratives practices and youth dialogues, developed a cadre of Equity Leaders, generated a series of Racial Equity Awareness training modules, created an Affinity Group for educators of color and other interested teachers, and reallocated resources to provide 1:1 environments with district-issued chromebooks, mobile hotspots for families lacking internet access, and we allow students to keep their chromebooks over the summer to access online learning.  Our commitment to ensuring equity for all, combating racism, and addressing unconscious bias are continuous efforts as we advance our equity initiatives.

Next Steps

Our next steps include a six pronged approach:

1. Equity Leaders will continue to roll out racial equity awareness training modules to high school teachers in small group settings to encourage discussion.

2. Equity Leaders will expand racial equity awareness training to elementary and middle teachers.

 3. Equity Leaders will present components of racial equity awareness training modules at our Board of Education meetings, Administrators’ Meetings, Elementary and Secondary Principals’ Meetings, and Administrators’ Retreat.

4. The Office of Personnel and Talent Development will continue to pursue recruitment and hiring of teachers of color in collaboration with our Affinity Group.

5. The Office of Research and Evaluation will continue to provide Central Office and the Board with Student Climate Survey data and trend analyses of student perceptions of racism in their school and community (newly added questions measure this important component). Also, disciplinary data will continue to be disaggregated by student subgroups.

6. A District Sub-Committee was recently established which reports directly to the Superintendent. This committee will help expand the scope of our equity work and ensure the advancement of equitable learning opportunities throughout the district.

Equity Activities

Racially Diverse Hiring

Diversity in Certified Staff Workforce
  • 8.7% of the total teacher workforce in Connecticut identify as racially diverse
  • 9.4% of Meriden's certified staff identify as racially diverse 
Meriden Public Schools Racially Diverse Teacher Hiring 
  • 2020-2021 - Hiring percentage 20%
  • 2019-2020 - Hiring percentage 25%
  • 2018-2019 - Hiring percentage 16%

Professional Learning for Staff

2019-2020
  • Participated in New York Leadership Academy - Coaching for Equity Series
  • Developed Affinity Group to support and help recruit diverse staff
  • Invited by CSDE to participate in hiring and selection to increase educator diversity consultancy
  • Equity Leaders Program
    • Funded by a Nellie Mae Education Foundation Grant 
    • Presented Racial Equity Teaching Module to Maloney and Platt High School staffs
  • Culturally responsive pedagogy training at Maloney High School
  • Wesley G. Williams presented Leading for Equity in Schools at our Summer Retreat for All Administrators
  • District Leadership Team established Equity Subcommittee
  • Paraprofessionals participated in professional learning: Linking Identity and Achievement Through Cultural Competence
2018-2019
  • High School Leadership Academy 
    • Funded by a Nellie Mae Education Foundation Grant
  • Participated in Courageous Conversations Summit
  • Summer Retreat of Administrators
    • Richard Lemons, Executive Director, Center for School Change, presented Disrupting Inequity in Meriden Public Schools 
    • Robert Villanova, Director at LEAD Connecticut, presented Leading for Equity
      A Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard University, "Race, Accountability, and the Achievement Gap" A Case Study of Montgomery County Public Schools
    • Jennifer Abrams, Consultant, presented Difficult Conversations

Recognitions/Articles

National School Board Association’s Magna Award for Equity Programs
     Submission: Equity and Access: Success for All

A Culture of Success for All at Meriden Public Schools

Equity Leader Resources

Racial Equity Teaching Modules Series (Funded by Nellie Mae Education Foundation Grant)

Modules developed by Dr. David Cormier in collaboration with Equity Leaders

Meriden Public Schools' System Level Logic Model

Meriden Public Schools' Spotlight on Equity

College Board New England Regional Forum - College for All: It Starts With You

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?  by Beverly Daniel Tatum