Certainly the most recent opinion of the Missouri Supreme Court which affirms the rights of students in failing school districts to transfer to neighboring school districts without tuition has placed yet another challenge in front of school districts. Though the wisdom of this decision, transferring student to or from other districts, will be a topic of debate in a number of arenas, the charge to accommodate the needs of students, regardless of their circumstances, personal identity, academic performance or family background remains an essential consideration for this action to gain any measure of success. The diversity of student populations within receiving schools will no doubt be an issue of concern, and rather than seeing this diversity as threat, it is our desire to help educators see this instead as strength.
Past experiences with reform efforts that rely upon transferring students from one educational setting to another without a diligent focus upon creating an inclusive culture of acceptance and appreciation have proven ineffective and has have minimal impact upon academic gains. It is our belief that school reform, focused upon students’ academic success can only be accomplished by creating instructional practices, school cultures and district policies that promote, support and enhance student engagement. With this in mind, an authentic sense of belonging is a critical element for this reform initiative.
Recognizing the number of ways in which stereotypes, assumptions and unconscious bias held by teachers, administrators, students and community members interrupts that sense of belonging cannot be ignored. For the past ten years, we have been actively involved with local districts to establish that sense of belonging for students, teachers, administrators and community members.
Educational Equity Consultants is pleased to offer a number of professional development programs to strengthen a cultural of inclusiveness. Each of the following programs is linked as well to the Missouri Teacher Standards as well as the Quality Indicators for Professional Development.