About Equity in EPS
Equity in EPS
In July of 2020, Evergreen Public Schools hired their first Executive Director of Equity and Inclusion, Klarissa Hightower, and established an Equity and Inclusion department. To get a current understanding of Evergreen's current Equity status and to ensure that our district's Equity work was informed by data, Klarissa Hightower initiated a third-party equity audit to launch a district-wide transformation. EPS partnered with Education Northwest to conduct the Equity Audit and support the district to identify actionable next steps. The audit explored two key areas 1) recruitment, hiring and retention of staff members of color and educator quality and 2) student access to learning opportunities and achievement.
The school year of 2020-2021, was incredibly challenging as our community responded to over a year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the structural challenges that arose with distance and hybrid learning, all teachers and school administrators engaged in training and professional development with the Courageous Conversations Protocol led by the Pacific Education Group. In addition to the district-wide PD, EPS held community affinity group forums, designed an EPS Equity lens (decision-making tool), formed the District Equity Advisory Committee and began the process towards defining and approving an EPS Equity Policy.
During the school year of 2021-22, the SEL team and Equity Advancement specialists merged, with the hire of the Director Jamila Singleton. The districtwide focus on culturally responsive practices was established during districtwide PD, and ongoing support for schools with Heritage Month resources. These tools are currently available on the Equity PD Canvas site. The EPS Board of Directors adopted the Operational Expectation: Equity and Equity Results Policy.
Heading into 2022-23, the team will continue to support Culturally Responsive Wrap Around Supports and aims to build capacity with each of the following audiences to continue the process of systemwide transformation. The EPS Equity Lens, Lente de Equidad, and the Courageous Conversation Protocol will remain as tools to guide conversation and shift our actions to maximize opportunities for equity, while we also support site-based Equity Teams in each of our school buildings.