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Equity Task Force Seeks Members

Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) is seeking interested applicants to serve on the 2021-2022 Equity Task Force and Design Team (the team).

Kalamazoo Superintendent Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri said, “Our district data, as well as voices from our community, tell us that not all our students experience KPS in equitable ways. We believe that the solutions to our equity challenges are in the spaces in which we come together to inquire, collaborate, and problem solve. The district seeks to provide action-oriented opportunities for stakeholders who are committed to digging deeper into our equity challenges in a collaborative setting. The work of the team, facilitated by the National Equity Project (NEP), will explore factors that contribute to equity challenges and determine approaches to implement positive change. As a result of this inquiry process, the team will share learning, recommendations, and considerations with the Superintendent and the Board of Education.” 

In order to embark on this work, KPS is launching an Equity Task Force and Design Team and is seeking qualified individuals to serve in this critical transformation process. This team’s immediate charge will be to begin the long-term process to eliminate and dismantle racism and other forms of intolerance and discrimination within the district’s practices, policies, goals, curriculum, and culture to support positive and meaningful impact in Kalamazoo. To maximize effectiveness and accountability, the team will be made up of both internal and external stakeholders. 

The team will provide essential leadership in designing the process to becoming an anti-racist institution. While the work will begin with the team and will last over a year, the transformation work will continue internally in perpetuity. Members of the team will possess diverse skills, perspectives, and identities and will serve with fidelity for the entire length of the task force undertaking. Students will automatically be part of the design process through the Co-Pilot Advocacy protocol. Therefore, students are not to apply using this application. 

The following are essential abilities for team members:

Team Oriented: The team will be comprised of approximately 10 to 15 members of diverse identities, cultures, races, genders, religions, ages, and life experiences. The team will also represent all of KPS’ stakeholder areas and roles across the organization. Team members should have the ability to exercise empathy and build strong trust, collaboration, and communication among diverse identities and membership. 

Understanding and Application of an Anti-Racism Analysis: Understanding of the concept of institutional racism, ability to identify it within KPS functions, and offer productive feedback/strategies to advance organizational development. 

Self-Reflection: Ability to address one’s own personal prejudices, biases, and participation in perpetuating racism.

Project Management: Possess skills to help move antiracism planning forward: implementation steps, time management, and communication. 

Listening: Ability to listen actively, creatively, and reflectively.  In order to work together and promote a sense of trust and camaraderie, this ability is necessary so that members can share personal experiences and feel heard and supported. 

Commitment: Willingness to dedicate significant time to the cause through an intensive training process and subsequent months of doing the work. Team members should plan to devote about five hours a month on training, collaboration, deliberation, and recommendation document creation.

Application must be submitted by Friday, Jan. 15. Applications are available on the KPS website at www.kalamazoopublicschools.com/equity  Hard copies of the applications are available for contactless pick-up at 3333 S. Westnedge Ave., 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday (except Dec. 24, 25, 31, and Jan. 1).  

Qualified applicants will be invited to an in-person interview with members of the KPS Leadership Team between Feb. 22 and March 19. Team members will be selected and notified no later than April 19. 

Any questions can be directed to equitytaskforce@kalamazoopublicschools.net