Community brainstorms solutions to inequity in JCPS schools - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Community brainstorms solutions to inequity in JCPS schools

John Marshall John Marshall
Dr. Donna Hargens Dr. Donna Hargens
Dr. Judi Vanderhaar Dr. Judi Vanderhaar

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - More than 100 people packed into Stewart Auditorium at the Vanhoose Education Center Monday for a collective brain-storming session.

Community leaders, school officials and parents partnered together during the first Envision Equity Summit to come up with ways to address four main inequities identified in JCPS schools: college career readiness, discipline, literacy and school climate culture.

"We're a minority majority," said John Marshall, JCPS Assistant Superintendent for Diversity, Equity, and Poverty Programs. "That means that there is high potential for cultural collision if we don't train appropriately and accordingly."

Data showed the highlighted inequities often fuel each other. According to statistics discussed Monday, less than 15 percent of JCPS students in the east end are reading at or below a novice level as opposed to 42 percent in the west end. Results also revealed that 85 percent of JCPS students suspended during the 2012-2013 school year were not proficient in reading.

"The students that are suspended are the ones we need in school more," said Marshall. "We're showing you without apology, this is our data."

While the numbers are alarming, they are not impossible to turn around.

"We don't need to live and say 'well there's nothing we can do about those things.' Absolutely there's something we can do," said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens. "That's what this equity score card is about."

After listening to findings presented by JCPS Evaluation Specialist Dr. Judi Vanderhaar, the large group broke off into smaller groups to come up with solutions to the identified inequities. The summit concluded with each group reporting their proposed solutions.

Outside of schools, families are encouraged to help build equity by spending time reading at home and making clear their expectations about college. Summit leaders said only then could the community commitment to envision equity come to fruition.

The district plans to continue conducting envision equity scorecards and hosting additional summits in the future.

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