Aurora Public Schools has always been committed to uplifting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). But over the past few years, we have become more intentional about seeing it and naming it in our spaces. In fact, we had a workgroup of families and staff members who came up with our own working definitions for diversity, equity and inclusion and the "look-fors" that we aspire to see in our schools, classrooms and throughout our district. Below is a brief summary of our recent work that has been focused on DEI.
As part of Aurora Public Schools' Promise54 Action Plan to strengthen recruitment and retention of educators of color, we clarified our DEI belief definitions and goals. While engaging in deeper analysis of the APS-Promise54 survey data, we heard from focus groups that there was a lack of consistent understanding in what APS meant when it talked about diversity, equity and inclusion.
In Fall 2021, APS collaborated on this process with the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) and the APS Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (CLDE) Department. CEI facilitated an Equity Workgroup, composed of stakeholders that included families and APS staff, who revised our definitions and developed a set of equity “look-fors” focused on students, staff and the district, which you can find on this website.
DEI work is not easy and requires both technical and adaptive work. Having diversity, equity and inclusion definitions and “look-fors” that come from our APS community is a huge step forward. As staff asked for, this work provides all of us-- students, families, staff, and community members-- common definitions to inform and guide our conversations and “look-fors” to better support what DEI implementation looks like in Aurora Public Schools. While these definitions and look-fors are not meant to be strict accountability measures, they bring focus to our DEI work so that we can challenge each other to be better and do better. This work also provides grounding to shape further implementation of additional action steps outlined in our APS-Promise54 Action Plan.
We recognize that this work is never truly done. We will continue to dig deeper and have tough and vulnerable conversations over the coming weeks, months and years. I ask for your openness and willingness to grow together. Individually and collectively, we must continue to advocate alongside our students and families to break down barriers.