DeKALB – Using findings from a study done earlier this year, the DeKalb District 428 School Board reached a concensus to move forward with the development of a district diversity plan during Tuesday's meeting.
A series of focus groups were conducted from February to May 2017 that explored students', district employees', and parents’ perspectives on the climate of the district and how the district should respond to its changing demographics.
James Cohen of Northern Illinois University and J.Q. Adams and Sharon Stevens of Western Illinois University ran the investigation and gave an overview of their research to the board during its two regular meetings in October.
Adams, Cohen and Stevens offered seven recommendations: implement professional development on cultural competence and inclusion; develop welcoming processes like mentoring programs; strengthen school spirit and collaboration; emphasize nonviolent and compassionate communication; develop a two-way dual language program; implement courageous leadership education; and address pervasive bullying.
Representatives of the Social Justice Committee, a group of administrators, teachers, support staff, students and parents, will write a diversity plan under the guidance of Cohen and Adams, with the goal of addressing the points made in the report.
Board member Kerry Mellott said during Tuesday’s meeting that he was concerned the results of the study don’t exactly quantify what will happen to the district if changes are enacted, such as whether animosity will decrease between students or graduation rates will improve.