Perry wants advisory committee to address equity in schools

Superintendent Christy Perry urged the Salem-Keizer School Board on Tuesday, Dec. 17 to think about the possibilities rather than immediately forming an advisory committee on equity matters.

The occasion was a board work session for counteracting the problems that have kept minority students as a whole from equaling the achievements of students who are white, native English-speaking, straight, identifying with birth genders and without disabilities.

Perry and other administrators showed slides listing the objectives of equity training, which were:

• Review board member team priorities.

• Define equity-based leadership.

• Understand psychological framing

• Set goals

Linda Myers, an assistant superintendent, defined equity as a system that supports all students and said it involves diversity (honoring individual differences) and inclusion (welcoming all people).

Another assistant superintendent, Kraig Sproles, said equity calls for working to understand the problems of minorities and seeking out different viewpoints.

Administrators divided people in attendance into small groups, with board members rotating around the groups to get their ideas. After they conferred with the groups, several board members discussed what they learned.

“I hope the invitations provided for us are followed through,” said Danielle Bethel.

Satya Chandragiri, who immigrated from India, added: “Thank you for the opportunity to listen to others’ experiences.”

Jesse Lippold, amember of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, said: “I was not trusting of my tribe (while growing up). You start to realize there is a difference.”

One idea on which several of the speakers agreed was that hiring more minority teachers and administrators would help achieve the goals.

“Probably the best part of this was you (Perry) telling me we needed to listen. I appreciate people sharing their experiences,” Board Member Sheronne Blasi said.