The primary goal of Asheville City Schools is to ensure the success of all students. This can and will be accomplished when we consider the wide range of learners with each classroom. By strengthening core instruction and building upon teacher expertise, Asheville City Schools is progressing towards its goal of Excellence with Equity. To help accomplish this goal, Asheville City Schools has entered a three-year partnership with Integrated Comprehensive System (ICS) for Equity to delve deeper into the history of inequities in education and to work together to address inequities in our schools. ICS is a framework to address inequities at the classroom, school and systems level, including policy, practice and procedure. 2017-2018 was year one of our three-year partnership. We are currently in our second year of collaboration with ICS.
Each school has an established Equity Leadership Team comprised of the school principal, teachers and support staff. School teams are responsible for leading the equity focus at the individual school site. Over the course of 2017-2018, school teams determined core beliefs, examined identity development and created equity non-negotiables.
During the 2018-2019 school year, Equity Leadership Teams will continue to collaborate with ICS as we work through the ICS modules. A District Equity Team has also been created during the 2018-2019 school year. Comprised of representatives from each department, the team meets regularly. Out of their collaboration, a three-year equity plan has been created.
Additionally, both school and district leaders are in their second year of professional development with Dr. Chance Lewis. Dr. Lewis is the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Urban Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His work with culturally relevant leadership and pedagogy fully aligns to Asheville City Schools’ Integrated Comprehensive System (ICS) Equity Work and the Asheville City Schools Pre-K through 12th Grade Instructional Framework. Entitled Excellence with Equity: Culturally Responsive Leadership, his professional development sessions aid the district’s approach to eliminate inequities and examine resource alignment. Through his discussions, Dr. Lewis is providing evidence-based methodologies with immediate practical applications at both the school and classroom level thanks to his book study of An Educator’s Guide to Working with African American Students. Indeed, his professional development sessions are providing tools and strategies to ensure equitable learning environments for all students in Asheville City Schools.