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Equity Audit Update


Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is a pleasure to introduce myself and to announce the next phase of the Belmont Public Schools, district-side equity audit.

Today, educational excellence means creating learning environments where every student feels safe, included, and empowered to achieve. Bringing this vision to life requires hearing from students, teachers, and staff to better understand the state of equity and inclusion at school.

For those of you who may be new to the idea, an equity audit is a comprehensive evaluation of an organization in the key areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion for schools.  It is a means of assessing how we are doing in these key areas, as well as identifying areas in which we need to improve.  It is something that many organizations and schools have done in the past, and something the Belmont Public Schools is enthusiastic to take on this year.

In November 2020, the School Committee endorsed the proposal to approve Belmont Public Schools to work with external education consultants from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Teaching Systems Lab to conduct an equity audit for BPS. Through the equity audit the selected consultants, Elizabeth Borneman and Belicia Smith, are taking a comprehensive look at the district's policies, practices, and systems, focusing on bias and barriers to access and success. You can learn more about our chosen consultants, Elizabeth and Belicia, here. As part of the equity audit, data will be collected through a climate survey, interviews, and focus groups with key community members, including students, staff, and families.

The Panorama Equity and Inclusion Survey provides schools and districts with a clear picture of how students, teachers, and staff are thinking and feeling about diversity, equity, and inclusion in school. The survey can help schools and districts track the progress of equity initiatives through the lens of students and staff, identify areas for celebration and improvement, inform professional development, and signal the importance of equity and inclusion to the community. The student topics were developed in partnership with the RIDES Reimagining Integration - Diverse and Equitable Schools Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Student Survey Questions:

The following student survey questions will cover the topics:

● Diversity and Inclusion

● Cultural Awareness and Action

● Sense of Belonging

As we continue to create a more inclusive environment for teaching and learning, student input is essential. Therefore, we hope that you will encourage your child(erns) participation. A high response rate will enable us to confidently take the necessary actions to make Belmont Public Schools more inclusive and equitable for all.

Additional communication about how you and your child(ren)’s can participate in the equity audit is forthcoming. Students will receive instructions from their teacher or a school representative about the survey and focus group.

Parents/Guardians can view the student survey ahead of time here. Please review the Equity Audit Phase II FAQs, which includes additional information about the data collection process.

Should you have any questions, please contact me by phone at 617-993-5422 or via email at cwashington@belmont.k12.ma.us and I would be happy to answer them.

Sincerely, 

Chon’tel Washington
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Belmont Public Schools 






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