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Saturday, February 4, 2023

NK Dems support School Dept. effort on diversity, equity and inclusion

In Response to the North Kingstown DEI Community Assessment Report

Tom Sgouros for the North Kingstown Democratic Town Committee

The long-awaited Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) audit report about the North Kingstown School Department (NKSD) was released on Tuesday.

The North Kingstown Democratic Town Committee (NKDTC) applauds the elected officials and school district personnel who made it happen. 

Anne Geertman, the committee chair, said, “the report is a step in the right direction and provides a better understanding of the North Kingstown School Department’s challenges while outlining a set of recommendations to improve equity in student learning and outcomes.”

The process began over a year ago when the DEI Subcommittee proposed having an independent outside consultant examine school department policies and practices, to see where our school district is in terms of equity and inclusivity, especially as it relates to marginalized and underserved populations. 

The NKDTC supported then – and still supports today – the creation of the DEI subcommittee and the call for an independent audit.

The NKDTC recognizes that without careful review and corrective action, systemic discrimination, bias, and inequities can persist within even the best-intentioned organizations, as this report highlights. 

Through examination of current and historical data, including stakeholder perception data collected through surveys and focus groups, the Equity Audit was able to identify areas of concern within the district, and provide recommendations to address them. 

This process is a crucial first step towards ensuring the school district meets the needs of all students. We applaud the district’s efforts to work toward a safer and more equitable learning environment. We believe this work will ultimately benefit all students.

“Community participation is essential to successfully and meaningfully implement the report’s recommendations,” said Geertman. “We support this effort to create substantial positive change for our community and make North Kingstown the best it can be.”

The final report, as well as a summary of key findings and support resources, can be found on the North Kingstown School Department website.