Ed Talk is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.
Arlington Public Schools (APS) is moving forward with the implementation of a Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO).
APS posted the vacancy in early October and hopes to have the position filled by January. There is a sense within the Arlington community that this process is being rushed – unnecessarily and to the detriment of APS’ own efforts.
Whether you believe the position is unnecessary or you consider it essential to eliminate systemic biases, there are legitimate concerns about the circumstances under which APS is pursuing its implementation:
- APS has not indicated the specific situations or problems it is aiming to solve with this position;
- A lack of explicit objectives and measurable goals to be achieved may be setting the stage for certain failure;
- Filling a new, high-level position in the absence of a permanent superintendent may create inconsistency or incompatibility in expectations when leadership changes; and
- The work of the CDEIO would likely be guided by APS’ policy on diversity, equity and inclusion, which APS is still developing and the School Board has yet to adopt.
Adding to concerns that this process is being rushed is the uncertain degree to which the School Board is committed to the continued investment needed to enable a CDEIO to succeed. After the recent successive budgets that have precluded the addition of other important personnel, will the future Superintendent and Board members commit the necessary funds in subsequent budgets for staff support, training programs, or other resources the CDEIO requires?
If the Board does not invest sufficient resources, opponents who argue a CDEIO is unnecessary or will be ineffective will be proven correct. Community fears that creating this position is nothing more than checking a box to reassure the community of the Board’s commitment to diversity and equity will be confirmed. It will merely serve as distraction while the Board forges ahead with boundary changes, capacity solutions, and instructional program decisions without a sense of obligation or responsibility to address diversity or equity within those processes and decisions.
It is noteworthy that the Arlington County Board adopted an equity resolution this past September. Despite the County’s intention to establish an interdepartmental task force that includes Arlington Public Schools, the County did not consult with APS as it developed its resolution. A joint policy on diversity, equity, and inclusion would ensure consistency in terms and definitions used by County and Schools, a shared vision and uniform practices across County and Schools, and an acknowledgement of County policy impacts on APS’ ability to provide equitable educational and social opportunities to all students.
Nevertheless, APS’ policies on equity and inclusion and diversity will be driving factors in all aspects of administration and instruction. Therefore, this position must not be allowed to fail and APS must make every effort to maximize a new CDEIO’s chances for success.
APS and the School Board should delay the hiring process. Then APS must:
- Adopt a strong diversity, equity, and inclusion policy that will guide the work of the CDEIO and inform the interview panels about what to look for in a CDEIO candidate;
- Develop specific goals and accountability measures for the position;
- Afford the yet-to-be-named new superintendent the opportunity to hire the CDEIO in a setting of consistent leadership and vision; and
- Determine its level of commitment to, and ability to invest in, the CDEIO’s success.
- The County and APS should consider a joint comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion policy that provides consistency for Arlington residents and identifies areas for collaboration in meeting the needs of all APS students and County residents.
Taking these steps will give the new Chief — and perhaps diversity, equity, and inclusion — a fighting chance.
Maura McMahon is the mother of two children in Arlington Public Schools. An Arlington resident since 2001, McMahon has been active in a range of County and school issues. She has served on the Thomas Jefferson, South Arlington, and Career Center working groups and currently serves as president of the Arlington County Council of PTAs.
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Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3-7.
Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.
Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.
Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.
EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.
The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.
Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.
“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.
WHS Spring Festival
Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!
Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and
District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference
District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve