School board approves $34K equity training workshop contract

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On Tuesday, June 3, the Board of Trustees of the Winters Joint Unified School District approved a one-year, $34,000 contract for the 2021-22 school year for interactive equity training workshops.

The contract proposal submitted by Nicole Anderson and Associates Consulting (NAAC), stated, “In order to close racial equity gaps seen in schools, it is essential that educational leaders build capacity and shift the paradigm of a school system that was not designed to yield successful outcomes for all students.”

Superintendent Diana Jiménez introduced the contract to the board to provide professional development in the area of educational equity.

“Too often opportunity gaps for students have been tied to social identities, including English proficiency status, family, income, gender or disability status,” Jiménez said.

Workshop details

There are two workshop tracks – one for trustees and one for administrators.

The trustee, or governance team sessions, are to consist of two-and-a-half days of interactive workshops with one of them being a full day in-person session. Thereafter, three virtual half-day sessions are to be spread over a period of about six months.

This workshop was designed for the governance team to develop and adopt an equity statement and to establish protocols to review, revise and develop policy with an equity lens for sustainable change and

to develop an impact action plan.

The proposed contract cost for the governance team workshops is $10,000.

The second training track is designed for school administrators, principals and assistant principals, or the equity leadership team. The goal is to align leadership, develop a common definition of equity across the district, encourage strategic collaboration, self-assessment and building capacity of the team to collectively lead for equity.

This track is to consist of six in-person training days between July 29 and April 28, 2022. The contract cost for this training track is $24,000.

Both workshop tracks are to include one to two NAAC facilitators.

Jiménez said the district’s achievement data across a variety of categories reveals opportunity gaps and noted much work is to be done to ensure that all students achieve at high levels. Further, she said, the pandemic has accentuated the need for equitable access for students and family.

Board President Carrie Green read a prepared statement in support of the contract.

“When I came on the board almost seven years ago our student data hasn’t changed much. Our percentages have remained consistent – about 30 – 40 percent of our students being at or slightly above grade level proficient in reading and math. And that’s district wide,” Green said. “I think that we can all agree that as a community having 60 – 70 percent of our kids being one or more grade levels behind is not OK.”

Trustee Joedy Michael told the board he was excited to do this, “especially coming off some of the testing data suggests that we have some gaps that we need to evaluate.”

CARES funds are being utilized for this contract and Jimenez advised they are well within the funding guidelines. Jiménez said, of the $34,000 contract, they are using about 1.5 percent of the allowable funding and that this is “an investment in people.”

The Board approved the one-year contract with a 4-0-1 vote (Trustee Candi Ochoa was absent).

Questions on how the details of how the educational equity profession development will trickle down to teachers and other staff were not answered by the school district.

The Express reached out to Nicole Anderson of NAAC to learn more general details about the program and examples about how other school district administrators and governance teams have shared information with teachers and staff. Anderson declined to comment and referred us to the Winters JUSD Superintendent.

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