- Want to share your voice? Visit www.publicinput.com/3575 to give your feedback. This online activity reflects back the top ideas shared at our first community forum and gives participants the opportunity to vote on their top ten priorities (and share further ideas and comments).
On October 23, nearly 500 community members came together at Charlottesville High School for our first Community Forum on Equity. Prior to the meeting, parents were asked to complete a brief pre-survey about their and their students’ experiences at CHS. (See results here.) School representatives, including Superintendent Rosa Atkins, addressed the group and discussed the results of the survey, noting that when the results were filtered by race, the priorities for discussion were slightly different, and the overall “satisfaction” rates were higher for white students/families than for students/families of color.
Participants then split into small moderated groups to discuss the top five areas of concern for the African-American survey-takers. Click here to review comments from the first Community Forum or contribute new ones. You can also find information concerning the main topics discussed.
The school division offered a separate forum for teachers and staff and gathered feedback on the same five topics.
Staff members and volunteers then reviewed the comments captured from the public and staff forums, developing a list of 32 action items that were commonly suggested. These 32 action items then became the basis of the next round of discussion.
Our objective for the second forum was to reflect back what we’ve been hearing from the community so far. Our staff and School Board have been seeking community input through events, online tools, emails, and face-to-face conversations. We asked forum participants to respond to a list of 32 main ideas and vote on their “top 10.”
After community members had a chance to review and vote on their top 10 ideas, our moderator, City of Charlottesville Office of Human Rights Manager Charlene Green, presented the results and facilitated a time of questions and comments. The evening continued with remarks about next steps moving forward from Charlottesville City Schools Coordinator of Community Affairs and Development Beth Cheuk, Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins, and School Board Chair Juandiego Wade. Finally, the forum concluded with commentary from each member of the School Board.
- A live stream of the evening’s presentations can be found here.
- Want to share your voice? Visit www.publicinput.com/3575 to vote on your own top 10 or add your own thoughts and comments.
- Results from the online survey are visible to participants. Results from the posters at the event on November 27 may be seen below. In addition, staff members have been visiting community centers, congregations, and CHS to see additional perspectives. These votes are being assembled and will be presented once the process is final.
Results from Equity Forum Statement Stations
Participants were asked to visit 4 statement stations and vote on their top 10 main ideas using stickers. A fifth station was available to add missing or new ideas.
Results from Second Forum – “Top 10” picks from Statement Stations
- Hire and support teachers of color
- Re-examine the Quest (gifted) program
- Focus on systemic barriers
- Continue or expand preschool
- Equip teachers to meet the needs of all students
- Promote student diversity within classrooms
- Support/retain effective teachers and principals
- Keep diversifying libraries/curriculum/activities
- Ensure budget prioritizes equity
- Explore outside factors that impact schools
Next Steps (from December 2018 community newsletter)
From our School Board and Superintendent (see longer message here):
In addition to listening, we are also acting. We are seeking volunteers and nominations for a committee on equity representing a broad coalition of school and community stakeholders. We are doing internal reviews of our data, programs, and efforts. We are mapping resources of sister school divisions and model equity programs so that we can learn from others. The School Board is drafting an equity policy that will guide our practices and lay a foundation for parity.
In short, we continue to listen. We are taking first steps to review and revise our past efforts and plan future action. We are guided by our confidence that your values are our values and that together, we want to seize this moment to make a difference for our community.
As we continue to gather community input, we have been visiting with city residents in community centers and churches. We held a second gathering for teacher/staff input. We also partnered with the Charlottesville Youth Council to host student-led classroom discussions and gather feedback from students at CHS and Buford. Special thanks to parishioners at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Habitat for Humanity families, CHS students, and others for sharing your input with us. Here is a snapshot of some of these visits.
In the February News and Highlights, Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins offered an update to the community about recent efforts to promote equity. Click here to see the newsletter.
- Overview of equity initiatives at Charlottesville City Schools
- Resources relating to the New York Times/ProPublica reporting
Related media coverage
- Mandell, Josh. “City Schools Home in on Equity Goals at Second Forum • Charlottesville Tomorrow.” Charlottesville Tomorrow, 28 Nov. 2018, www.cvilletomorrow.org/articles/city-schools-home-in-on-equity-goals-at-second-forum/.
- Montilla, Desiree. “City School Leaders Host Second Equity Forum.” Charlottesville, Virginia News, Weather, Sports | Newsplex, www.cbs19news.com/content/news/City-school-leaders-host-second-equity-forum-501408701.html.
- Knott, Katherine. “Residents Weigh in on Equity Issues in City Schools.” The Daily Progress, The Daily Progress, 28 Nov. 2018, www.dailyprogress.com/news/education/residents-weigh-in-on-equity-issues-in-city-schools/article_c2f56c9e-f2b9-11e8-8adf-df3b784e1f91.html.
- Mandell, Josh. “Charlottesville City Schools Hosts Community Forum on Equity • Charlottesville Tomorrow.” Charlottesville Tomorrow, 24 Oct. 2018, www.cvilletomorrow.org/articles/charlottesville-city-schools-hosts-community-forum/.
- Schroeder, Annie. “Charlottesville City Schools Holds Forum to Discuss Racial Achievement Gap.” Home – WVIR NBC29 Charlottesville News, Sports, and Weather, 23 Oct. 2018, www.nbc29.com/story/39346637/charlottesville-city-schools-holds-forum-to-discuss-racial-achievement-gap.
Coordinator of Community Affairs and Development
firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-245-2962.