Schools

Racially integrated schools benefit all students in a range of academic and social skills. Integrated schools and classrooms that serve all students equitably are critical to stable community integration.

To read the committee’s statement to the BOE on race-related issues, click here.

Below are programs and events sponsored by the Schools Committee. Click on the orange links for more information about these programs and for reading lists. For information about joining the committee, click here.

  • Talking to Children About Race Kids notice race from an early age but many parents are afraid to discuss race openly with their children. How can we talk about race productively? How do these talks differ for families of different races, for adoptive families, for mixed-race families? These workshops strive to help parents, teachers gain an understanding of the stages of racial knowledge, how to talk with children about race, and understand the challenges faced by multiracial children and children whose families are of a different racial background, and more.
  • Cultural Competency The committee has held a number of learning and discussion workshops for both teachers and the community at large on cultural competency: exploring cross-cultural communication and how it affects, parents, teachers, and neighbors; anti-bias education and parenting; develpoing culturally competent skills to improve communication and relationships.
  • Achievement Gap The racial achievement gap is one of the most pressing public policy concerns facing our towns and our nation. The quality of our public schools—the different experiences and outcomes that students can expect based on their race—is a priority for the Coalition. To learn more about the achievement gap and to access educational resources for the classroom, click here.
  • Parent Advocacy The Schools Committee is committed to helping parents access all the resources available in our community to help their children succeed in school. The Top Ten Tips brochure series is aimed at getting the most out of our schools for our children.
  • SOMa Integrated Playgroup We bring together children ages 6 months to 5 years and their parents in a relaxed, fun setting. The children play and learn respect and appreciation for diversity. The parents build new, cross-racial relationships. To learn more and to join, click here.
  • Preschool Open House The Schools Committee hosts a free preschool open house as a community service to families with young children as a way to foster kindergarten readiness. Over 24 preschools and day-care programs from Essex County and beyond participate.
  • Board of Education Election Forums Each year of a contested election, the committee invites candidates to address how they will contribute to a school system in which students of all races are achieving academic excellence in an equitable and representative fashion. To read about the last forum, click here.
  • Supporting a Successful, Diverse Teaching Staff: The committee works on this by providing teachers with professional development credits at our trainings and workshops; introducing new staff district staff to the diversity of our community through a presentation at the New Teacher Orientation followed by a tour of the towns; and supporting the district’s efforts to increase minority hiring.