Defining Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Diversity: includes all the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make an individual or group different from another. Diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender identity/expression. However, it can also include age, national origin, religion, ability, sexual orientation. socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance, as well as diversity of thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and values.
Equity: is the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society.
Inclusion: is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. It's important to note that while an inclusive group is by definition diverse, a diverse group isn't always inclusive.
On March 22, 2021, the Milltown Board of Education adopted a resolution to declare racism as a public health crisis and assert Milltown Board of Education’s commitment to promote diversity through local policies and support community efforts to further advance racial equity. See link above.
The Milltown Board of Education is committed to managing classroom discussions, diverse recruitment and hiring efforts, constructing inclusive curriculum, and cultivating meaningful dialogue about equity with community partners.
As we continue have conversations in our classrooms that teach our students to accept, respect and value each other, we urge our families to continue these conversations at home as well to help advance the systemic change needed to promote equity, diversity and inclusion across our country and globally.
Talking to Children about Anti-Asian Bias
The pandemic has had unfortunate ramifications that extend to presence of racial tension and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across our nation. The NY Times article linked above may help with a conversation at home related to this issue.
Critical Race Theory
Milltown Public Schools is committed to a curriculum that reflects the NJ Student Learning Standards and aligns instruction to the concepts and skills adopted in each content area. Topics related to diversity and equity are factually relevant and promote a foundational understanding of history without seeking to promote a philosophical or political debate. Our classroom instruction is meant to affirm students’ ethnic and racial backgrounds, is intellectually rigorous and to make school feel safe and supportive for all students.
For more information on Critical Race Theory and education please see: What is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?
Advancing Social Justice
We are committed to upholding a Code of Conduct that is reflective of cultural differences and encompasses universal expectations of care, kindness, and restorative justice.
We are committed to getting to know our students as individuals and as learners and to being responsive to them in our teaching.
We are committed to practices that cultivate empathy and to the creation of a community in which everyone feels they belong.
Promoting discussions on ways to address social conflict not just within the schools, but also in the world, through activities such as Days of Dialogue.
Electing to Explore Diversity
Two middle school electives are designed to provide students with the opportunity to gain an understanding and appreciation of various cultures.
Cultural Awareness: Cultural Awareness is an elective course that challenges prejudice, bias, and intolerance by fostering an appreciation for global diversity. Over two marking periods, the students explore, learn, and study the cultures of Ireland, Japan, Barbados, Mexico, China, India, and Canada.
Passport: The Passport elective is a course designed to give students a taste of three, widely spoken languages (Spanish, French, and German). Students will learn about the evolution of language and how languages develop by origin. Along with learning commonly used and spoken words and phrases in Spanish, French, and German, students will have an opportunity to identify with these different cultures and beliefs.
Investing in a Diverse Staff
Milltown Public Schools is focused on attracting a diverse staff from various backgrounds and cultures to work in our schools. We recognize how important it is for students to see staff who look like them in their classrooms to serve as role models. Our goal is to attract, develop, inspire, and retain a diverse workforce within a supportive environment through a variety of recruitment efforts and sites specifically targeted at a diverse pool of candidates.
All administrators completed the Morningside Center’s Summer Institute for Race, Equity and Social Justice. The 4-day series focused on understanding implicit bias and how they can be projected in various ways to students, parents and colleagues. Further discussions centered on sharing ways to combat implicit bias, point them out in a sensitive way to staff, and how to move forward in dealing with inequities in various settings. For more information go to https://www.morningsidecenter.org
NJ DOE Curriculum Mandates