Equity has been a point of emphasis at the Oregon School District in the past few years, and board members heard Monday night about efforts to engage OSD staff, students and parents on equity issues.
“Our work with equity is really never over,” said district director of student services Candace Weidensee, who announced the district’s partnership this year with the Madison-based Nehemiah Center of Urban Development, to work with staff on equity based professional development. In August, the district hosted Gloria Ladson-Billings from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction to present and work with staff.
OSD deputy superintendent Leslie Begstrom, who will be taking over as superintendent in July, said the district has also been “working harder to engage students and parents” on equity issues.
She said in April, the district sent its first cohort of around a dozen students to the Dane County Equity Consortium Student Workshop.
The students later met with Bergstrom, OSD superintendent Brian Busler and Oregon High School principal Jim Pliner about what they learned and what changes they’d suggest.
“They really were honest and open and assertive, related to what they wanted to see in the schools,” Bergstrom said. “I think the more we listen, the more we will learn.”
On Oct, 25, the OHS Gay Straight Alliance worked with a district teacher to lead a learning session for staff, Bergstrom said.
“We’re providing as many opportunities as we can to continue to learn from our students,” she said. “(This) is another example of our students teaching us.”
The district will next be partnering with Nehemiah to “take the next steps with parents,” Bergstrom said, co-facilitating a K-12 group of parents of students of color and a community forum early next year.