Like many of you, we in San Juan Unified feel the urgency to take responsibility for ending the injustices that are occurring in our educational system. At the same time, we feel frustrated with the history of equity reform where incremental change of systems and structures fail to significantly improve the outcomes for our youth. With the trigger of the untimely death of George Floyd, the district received numerous inquiries from community members asking how they can be a part of the solution in dismantling institutional racism. This outpouring of support gave us a feeling of hope. In June, we engaged the community in 6 listening sessions: two sessions focused on listening to families and staff how we can change in our schools and our community, two sessions focused on reviewing the data and prioritizing high leverage themes, the last session looked at the identified themes and recommended district actions believed to result in fulfilling our purpose around educational equity. A team refined this work into San Juan Unified’s 8 Point Commitment to Educational Justice.
We acknowledge the persistent gaps in our educational organization evidenced in our data around achievement, attendance, and suspensions which lead to the school to prison pipeline and other systems of inequity. Our community consistently references practices in our organization that contribute to racial injustice including but not limited to:
- Inaction by district and site administrators when there is a concern about a racist action.
- The lack of conversations around race, racism, and anti-racist practices.
- Barriers to equitable access to schools, programs, and rigorous coursework
San Juan Unified commits to a more just and more equitable society, free of racism and other forms of prejudice. We are committed to the ideals of anti-racist and social justice-oriented education. We recommend the pursuit of the following strategies:
San Juan Unified 8 Point Commitment to Educational Justice
- Improve school culture to be more inclusive and provide diverse representation at all sites
- Build our collective capacity to have courageous conversations and interrupting both implicit and explicit racial inequities
- Expand and prioritize family and student voice
- Require equity training with robust offerings of professional development
- Integrate anti-racist/anti-bias instruction within our curriculum
- Systematize site/department level conversations around equitable practices as well as anti-racist/ anti-bias actions.
- Increase workforce diversity through retention, career development and recruitment
- Establish a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) to create equitable access to schools, programs, and rigorous coursework