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(GOAL 4) Creating Inclusive Spaces and Schools 

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Creating Inclusive Spaces and Schools 

Create a framework to designate classrooms and schools as inclusive spaces in partnership with the Equity Council. The outcome of this initiative is the development of a shared vision, common definitions, criteria, and strategies to qualify classrooms and schools as inclusive spaces. 

2023-24 Winter Progress Update 

Stakeholder input has influenced the research we review and the formal/informal design considerations we're building strategies around. Additionally, through school visits, learning walks, and reviewing student feedback, we are incorporating that learning into the vision statement and strategies. One example of this was on a learning walk where we observed four different classrooms and two shared school spaces that featured a dedicated space for students to cultivate emotional agency through affirming practices and exercises rooted in SEL. These artifacts and student described spaces are pieces of street data that we will rely heavily on as we move through this process. 

The planning for this initiative involves reviewing existing research and data; specifically, research that focuses on the relationship between Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and the physically built environment. Our goal is to build off existing research, while sewing a red thread of contextualization for KSD. We have noticed an overwhelming pattern in the national research of adult voice and driven data that’s used to inform a framework. This made us wonder about the student experience and student voice, so we aim to center students well-being in the design strategies, recognizing that they are the most impacted in the system. 

Furthermore, our school community's diversity necessitates that we are intentional and critical with each deliverable to mitigate unintended consequences and impacts due to ignorance or a sense of urgency. 

This is a multi-year initiative from beginning to end. Our targets for each deliverable this year are aggressive, but given the need across the system for more inclusive environments, we will find ways to identify which deliverables we can work on concurrently and which ones have to be done consecutively. For example, we can work on Deliverable 1, 2, and 3 concurrently, but Deliverable 4 is dependent on 1-3 and has to be done in consecutive order. 

Our goal is to ensure we are developing a process that is responsive and builds off existing best practices while introducing new strategies informed by the needs our various school communities are surfacing. 

2023-24 Fall Progress Update

Equity Council will dedicate a portion of every monthly meeting in addition to time in between meetings to work on each of the deliverables connected to this priority initiative. Currently, Equity Council meets once per month for 90 minutes and is comprised of staff, parents, community members and students, so the strategies and deliverables will be developed and executed at a cadence that aligns with the council's monthly meeting and quarterly work-sessions.

  • Shared vision statement and definition of inclusive space. This was started in November 2023 and is expected to be completed by February 2024.
  • One-pager with definitions and key components of an inclusive space. This will start in February 2024 because it is largely informed by the vision and definitions. This will tentatively be completed by April 2024; however, it will continue to be refined as the following are developed.
  • Guide/catalog of best practices and strategies. This will start in March 2024 and continue to be expanded into the next 2024-25 school year with its full release in fall 2024.
  • Criteria and process cycle outline for certification. The council's goal is to engage a pilot group of schools starting in October 2024 with this draft process and criteria.

This initiative involves creating something that currently doesn't exist, so the council is taking extra care to be intentional and thoughtful every step of the way. We recognize buy-in to the process for teachers and schools will be paramount to the initiative having the intended impact of the goal and related commitments.

Centering Stakeholder Voice

The council itself is made up of staff, students, families and community organization. Every step of the process to execute and implement the above deliverables involves gathering insight and decision making from multiple perspectives.

The council will be using research, surveys, classroom visits, student/staff empathy interviews and focus groups to surface best practices and identify existing assets within the system. For this specifically, those assets serve as model classrooms and schools that inform the criteria and guide the council will create.

Additionally, part of the certification process will include school and classroom specific metrics that we already track such as attendance, discipline and climate.