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25720 Maple Valley-Black Diamond RD SE
Maple Valley, WA 98038

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Director of Equity
Emilie Hard

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Our student population is becoming more diverse and our achievement and discipline data show disparities between racial groups. We have heard from many of our students of color about racism they have experienced in our schools. These circumstances have propelled The Tahoma School District to prioritize equity as a focus for our school system. As our community diversifies, we are charged with reshaping our practices to best meet the needs of all students and families. Our School Board and Superintendent have committed to providing effort and resources in order to identify and work toward equity goals.

What is meant by the term equity? Equity is about treating all children as the individuals that they are, not treating all children the same. In order to thrive, students need to be treated with kindness and respect by adults and other students. We are deeply committed to ensuring that all students receive what they personally need to develop to their full potential and succeed. To that end, we commit to examining the disparities in our system and to implementing equitable practices to eliminate those disparities.
How is the equity work beginning?
Using an equity lens will help us keep the individual needs of students in the forefront as we make decisions. Equity goals are being formulated in the areas of professional development, curriculum and instruction, family engagement, school climate, and staffing that reflects the diversity in our community.
Here are our equity goals in key areas:
Employ an Equity Lens
We will analyze disaggregated data, review policies and reflect on procedures with an equity lens. As we use an equity lens, we will formulate action plans to address disparities and to improve the school climate for all students.
Family Engagement
We will strengthen family engagement in order to support student success through communication, family events and collaboration. Two committees have been formed that will include diverse parents and students. Having diversity on instrumental planning committees will support this goal and help us to amplify those voices.
Professional Development

We will ensure the cultural competency of staff through training on awareness, knowledge and skills. We will grow and evolve in our understanding of diversity and what it means to be culturally competent by engaging in ongoing training, looking inward at our own racial identities and uncovering biases and stereotypes. Dr. Caprice Hollins, of Cultures Connecting will support this professional development.
Curriculum and Instruction
Our goal is to provide curriculum that includes diverse perspectives and counter narratives, and uses culturally responsive instruction to support each student. Since this goal is extensive in a K-12 system, we will begin with identifying counter narratives for K-5 classrooms and piloting new 8th grade social studies units that explore U.S history from multiple perspectives. Counter narratives offer positive alternatives to widely accepted stereotypes for people who have been marginalized. Counter narratives give people a voice who might otherwise not have one and they can be used to share a different point of view.
Staffing that Reflects the Diversity in Our Community
With the goal of hiring and retaining a diverse staff that represents the student population, we will engage in training and examination of existing hiring practices in order to make improvements to our procedures. We will listen to our staff of color to seek to understand how we can best support their success and growth as educators.
Land Acknowledgement
The Tahoma School District would like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional land of the first people who lived in Maple Valley, the Duwamish and Coast Salish tribes.  We honor the unique heritage of this area’s First People, and affirm a commitment to respecting each tribe’s cultural identity.  Native American contributions and values have shaped the social, political, environmental and economic fabric of the state and November has been proclaimed Native American Heritage Month by Governor Jay Inslee.

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