A public forum was held last week at DeKalb High School to officially unveil District 428’s Diversity Plan.
The seven part plan has been in the works for at least a decade. It was recently approved by the school board.
Amy Crook is the district’s bilingual programs coordinator. She says that student feedback after a tense episode following a black history month assembly at the high school in 2016 sped up the plan’s construction.
“We realized that our community and our students were hurting and needed a way to communicate and feel valued in our school system,” said Crook.
Crook is part of the district's Social Justice League, made of parents and district stakeholders. Crook heads up the two way dual language program, one part of the plan. In 2019, a pilot program will begin for some kindergartners at Founders Elementary.
“So [the students are] excited because they want more opportunities to collaborate with other students,” she said.
The program will help native Spanish speakers and native English speakers learn one another’s language. The goal is to bring the program to two other elementary schools at all five grade levels.
“Getting to students hearts and who they are as cultural beings and humans, it requires us to look at their entire linguistic repertoire,” said Crook.
The multi-step plan will be rolled out in the upcoming years. Happening right now is social justice informed training for all staff and service providers district wide.