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February 21, 2020

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Policies on Educational Equity, Gender Identity Adopted by MRH Board

At its monthly meeting on February 20, the Maplewood Richmond Heights Board of Education adopted a new policy designed to identify and address all discriminatory practices, prejudices, and beliefs which impede the success of students. At the same time, members also approved policy designed to protect and support transgender and non-binary students.

"The Educational Equity policy demonstrates that the Board of Education is committed to the success of every student in each of our schools," said Board President Katie Kaufmann. "Considering MRH’s mission and goals, MRH recognizes that elements including socio-economic status, disability, race, ethnicity and gender, can deprive students of educational equity."

Board Vice President Francis Chmelir added, "Adoption of this policy closely follows our 2019 meetings with the Midwest and Plains (MAP) Equity Assistance Center. We feel it was the logical next step in our ongoing commitment to equity in our classrooms."

MAP provides training and technical assistance to public educational systems in 13 states. MAP believes that in order to be transformative, the work of educational equity must move beyond superficial diversity awareness and cultural proficiency training. It must explicitly address long-standing disparities in learning opportunities for students of racially, ethnically, linguistically, and economically diverse backgrounds, as well as on the basis of gender and (dis)ability. 

Superintendent Dr. Karen Hall explains that the new MRH policy aligns with the landmark work of the Ferguson Commission.

"In our effort to dismantle the status quo and ensure each student receives educational equity, we will draw from the work of the Commission and ask three key questions when reviewing policy and programs: whom does this benefit, does this differentially impact racial and ethnic, gender, socio-economic, or disabled groups, and what can be included to decrease or eliminate disparities?" said Dr. Hall.

The MRH Board strives to be data-driven in decision making. As such, the policy commits the Board to reviewing disaggregated data in the following categories: race, gender, disability and, when possible, ocioeconomic status. Reviews will take place yearly.

The disaggregated data will include the following:

  • State test scores;
  • Staff hiring, retention, and promotions;
  • Discipline data;
  • Family and community engagement activities;
  • Gifted screening;
  • Dual Credit and AP classes; and
  • MRH Facilities and access.

The policy on transgender and non-binary students pledges that the district will provide all students a safe and tolerant learning environment free from illegal discrimination and harassment. Among other highlights, it commits the district to maintaining contact with students' families to ensure needs and accommodations are being met, protecting the students' gender identity status from the general population, respecting students' name preferences, and allowing students to use restroom and locker room facilities which conform with their gender identity.

Both new policies will be found at this website.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.