This summer Indianapolis Public Schools
Board of School Commissioners voted to expand Racial Equity training from the
Racial Equity Institute (REI) throughout the district. The district-wide expansion
plan includes:

  • Building a Racial
    Equity Team to handle equity issues throughout the district
  • Piloting ten
    schools where REI would train all staff and community partners
  • Educating youth
    trainers from the secondary school level

The IPS Equity Team members are dedicated
leaders who have been trained to understand how racism may be impacting our
students and families throughout the district. With this, the team can assess
our organization’s place on the continuum of becoming anti-racist and begin planning
based on that assessment.

The Equity Team will work closely with
pilot schools and summer institute participants; from there they will share
their findings with community partners and will work collaboratively to address
inequities throughout the district and across organizations.

The Racial Equity Institute site has been
changed to the auditorium within the IPS Office of Multicultural Education
located at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School. The next round of REI
Phase I training runs from August 25-28 from 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Participants
will start their day with a walk through the Crispus Attucks Museum with their
training session to follow.

REI’s Phase I training is designed to foster
a deeper understanding and new insights regarding systemic racism and its
manifestation in American society and the Indianapolis community. It builds the
capacity of participants to identify the root causes of disparity and establish
goals and strategies based on that deeper understanding. The first round of the
two-day training was held last month, and participants gave praise to the
learning experience when asked “What is the best thing about the Institute?”

“Making race a part of the conversation,” said
Susanna Selph, from James Whitcomb Riley School 43.

“The overall message and method of delivery
for deeper thought as we begin to understand race and society,” said Adrienne
Cox, who works at Schools George S. Buck School 94, Arlington Woods School 99,
and Robert Lee Frost School 106.

In a welcome letter to Racial Equity pilot
participants, Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee wrote, “Dedicating time and
attention to learning and reflecting on these issues at the Racial Equity
training is a strong first step toward proactively addressing the challenges of
disproportionalities in discipline, measured achievement and opportunity in our
school district and broader community.”

Carrying with us a vision of an IPS
community where student outcomes cannot be predicted by race or ethnicity, we
look forward to a day when IPS exemplifies the meaning of racial equity in all
that we do.