October 23, 2020 – The following is a letter that was sent from Superintendent Paul Enderle to the District 123 community regarding the upcoming Equity and Diversity Audit.
Dear District 123 Families:
In School District 123, we strive to become a dynamic and supportive environment that ignites lifelong learners who embrace diversity and contribute positively to our community and global society. We are proud to have many students, families, and staff with culturally and racially diverse backgrounds. We aspire to be a school district that embodies both diversity and equity as core values and promotes a culture of success for all. To better serve our students in reaching educational excellence, we continually strive to build a greater sense of connection, involvement and participation within our learning community. To accomplish this, Bea Young & Associates, a Chicago consulting firm with decades of experience in education, will be conducting an Equity Audit of our school district.
To assess perceptions across our district, Bea Young & Associates have started the audit process by conducting interviews with individual members of the Board of Education and District Leadership Team this October. The process will continue throughout November and December and engage additional focus groups of District 123 students, staff, and parents in conversations about equity, inclusion, and diversity. We hope to complete the Equity Audit process and receive a final report in January.
To ensure we listen to all voices within our community, BYA will conduct confidential focus groups with parents and families in order to understand the perceptions and experiences of those we serve. These focus groups will be organized by race/ethnicity to allow for the most candid and insightful conversations. Focus groups will be conducted separately with Black, Latinx, Middle Eastern, and White groups as reflected in our demographics.
If you are interested in being a part of a focus group, please register by clicking the link below. Our intent is to gather enough participants to hold four (4) focus groups with district families. If we have more interest than available space, participants will be randomly selected to participate. Once selected you will receive an invitation listing the name of the group, date, and time of the meeting. All meetings will be held virtually using the Zoom platform and take approximately two hours. All responses will be held anonymously and no names will be attached to any comments. Your insights and perceptions are important to the future direction of the district’s ability to provide an equitable education for all District 123 students. Thank you, in advance for your willingness to assist us in this important endeavor.
Our objectives for the Equity and Cultural Audit include:
Creating a greater understanding of how our school district is viewed by a representative sampling of parents or guardians.
Providing the time and space to voice concerns and propose actions to create a more diverse and culturally responsive school and community environment.
Increasing dialogue around issues of diversity, equity and cultural responsiveness between our School District and the communities we serve to build greater trust and understanding.
Examining cultural barriers, assumptions or misunderstandings in order to create the most positive presence in our community while striving for greater educational excellence for all students.
In School District 123 we are proud of our diversity and appreciate your support and assistance as we continue this important journey. We understand that you may have questions about the Equity Audit process since this will be new for our district. Please feel free to reach out to me for any further clarification.
Paul J. Enderle, Superintendent