Race & Ethnicity
The District is committed to taking a leadership role in closing achievement gaps and ensuring the achievement of all students through a comprehensive array of programs, strategies and community partnerships. In 2009, LMSD became one of the first school systems in the region to target "closing achievement gaps" as a top priority in its strategic plan. Current efforts include expanded use of student data to identify and support struggling students, intensive staff development programs around cultural proficiency and differentiated instruction, summer enrichment programs, low-cost/reduced-cost tutoring programs, minority recruitment initiatives, and implementation of other research-based achievement strategies.
The District is a founding member of the Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence & Equity (DVCEE) and facilitates community and parent engagement around local K-12 issues through the Committee to Address Race in Education (C.A.R.E). The District's minority achievement programs at the high schools (Becton Scholars Seminar at Lower Merion and POWER Scholars at Harriton) further engage, challenge and support minority students in achieving their maximum potential. The District maintains meaningful, productive educational partnerships with universities and national experts and draws on these resources to inform policies and practice.
The following Policies, together with their applicable Administrative Regulations, are relevant to the District’s commitment to ensuring that all students are provided equal opportunity and access to programs, services, and activities, and that no student or employee is discriminated against on the basis of their race or ethnicity. Please note that this list is intended to serve as a summary of the Board-approved Policies and Administrative Regulations and should not be cited as official guidance. In addition, this list is not intended to be exhaustive of all policies or procedures that may be applicable to a particular situation.
|006||Civility||This Policy and Administrative Regulation codify the District's commitment to establish and enhance an atmosphere where people are encouraged and expected to exhibit language, attitudes and behavior that foster sound educational practices and allow people to grow socially and academically. A process for redress of concerns is also included.|
|Equal Opportunity Program for School & Classroom/Employment Practices||Policy 103 reflects the District's intent to ensure that all children have an equal opportunity to reach their potential through the educational program and not be subject to discrimination. Similarly, Policy 104 ensures that all persons have equal access to all categories of employment in the District and not be subject to discrimination. Both policies also prohibit retaliation.|
|119||Controversial and Value Issues||This Policy and Administrative Regulation affirm the Board's commitment to the incorporation into the ongoing curriculum ideas that may transcend traditional curricular topics and raise questions about current social, political, technical, philosophical, religious and other challenges, regardless of the controversial nature of the topic as long as, on divided issues, differing views are carefully presented.|
|138||English Language Development Program||Policy and Administrative Regulation 138 outlines our program for facilitating a student's achievement of English proficiency and relevant academic standards for that student's grade level through a multi-pronged approach. This comprehensive policy includes parent/guardian involvement strategies, including communicating with parents/guardians in the mode and language of communication preferred by the parents/guardians.|
|235||Students Rights and Responsibilities||Policy and Administrative Regulation 235 comprehensively address student behavior expectations (and consequences) as well as student rights. Among other topics, it covers school rules, student discipline, searches, freedom of expression, etc.|
|Harassment, Bullying, and Hazing||The purpose of this Policy is to promote and maintain a safe, positive and respectful environment that is free from bullying, hazing, and harassment. In particular, the Policy and Administrative Regulation sets forth the District's prohibition of bullying, hazing, and harassment based upon disability, race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity or national origin. It also articulates reporting and investigation protocols as well as prohibits retaliation. See also LMSD Policy Notification regarding Prohibited Harassment, Bullying and Other Behavior.|
Any concerns or complaints should be reported to a building administrator as soon as possible. Please note the District's policies prohibit retaliation for bringing forward a complaint or concern.
Contact Person: Megan Shafer, Assistant to the Superintendent for District Administration (firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-645-1928).
- Achievement Imperative Task Force (AITF)
- Anti-Racist Curriculum
- Becton Scholars - Lower Merion High School
- Committee to Address Race in Education (CARE)
- Cultural Proficiency
- English Language Development (ELD)
- POWER Scholars - Harriton High School
Started by Superintendent Copeland in January of 2016, the mission of the Achievement Imperative Task Force (AITF) is to:
- eradicate the discrepancy in student achievement in LMSD
- establish practices and implementation strategies that are research-based and measurable
- meld the District commitment for cultural literacy with actionable steps
- establish an ongoing and sustainable response to student learning
Recent false and inflammatory media representations may raise questions for parents or community members. This statement is intended to clarify the District position on Cultural Proficiency and Anti-racism education.
As a District, we fully support developmentally appropriate anti-racism education. LMSD also wholeheartedly appreciates and supports the partnership with police. As the nation was saddened by last spring's events, our teachers and principals responded, as supported by District Policy 119, by working with students to support learning in developmentally appropriate ways, even when topics were controversial. Our Policy 119 is linked here. It is our district mission to work to empower students to be positive actors for change in making our world a better place. Our strategic plan, All Forward, is linked here. The main ideas of the lessons from June are listed below. The lesson objectives and classroom discussions our teachers guided in the spring are fully supported by the District.
Spring discussions were age appropriate and did not involve defunding police or student shaming as some reports suggest. Additionally, parents were notified, could preview the books used to supplement the lesson objectives, and choose to opt out
. Any representations that suggest messages of the lessons were anything other than what is listed below are inaccurate and do not appreciate the dedication of our teachers and principals across all of our buildings in having the brave conversations that will help make our world a better, kinder, just, and more accepting place. Please follow the work of our District Ad-Hoc Committee seeking to unify the specific Cultural Proficiency and Anti-Racism work to which we have committed as a District. We look forward to growing and refining this curriculum work and these brave conversations. We thank our principals and teachers for their commitment to this important work.
Anti-Racism Lessons in Response to the Tragic Death of George Floyd
|Grade K-1||Grade 2-3||Grade 4-5|
|Objectives: Students will be able to understand what racism is and what they can do when they see racism happening.||Objectives: Students will be able to define racism and explain how this impacts our communities.||Objectives: Students will be able to explain the concepts of racism, justice and privilege. Students will be able to explain how privilege affects people in our country.|
|Conclusion: Racism is not ok. Let's always spread kindness. When you see racism happening, stand up for your friend and tell an adult. Let's celebrate the many amazing things that we share and the many amazing things that make us different and special!||Conclusion: Justice is something that you as an individual and we as a community can practice everyday!
Think - what can we do as 2nd and 3rd graders to show justice with family members, friends and others?
How you treat others and whether or not you treat them fairly will have a big impact on your life, your future and the lives of others.
|Conclusion: What can we all do to ensure equal justice for everyone?|
This is a course for students who participate in the Lower Merion High School Becton Scholars Program. Emphasis is placed on the learning and enhancement of effective goal setting, study skills, time management strategies, note-taking/making, close reading and critical thinking techniques for the purpose of ensuring access to a viable and challenging instructional experience that better prepares students for college and career. Students will receive direct instruction in standardized test taking strategies and will work collaboratively to generate, plan and execute service opportunities both within the Becton Scholars Program and the larger school community with the goal of developing leadership skills and becoming more productive and contributing citizens.
The District recognizes the value and necessity of engaging all community stakeholders in its efforts to provide a high quality education to its students. The Committee to Address Race in Education (CARE) was formed in 1997 in order to forge school-community partnerships and opportunities for stakeholders to work collaboratively to serve all students. The CARE committee meets monthly from September through May each year to communicate about issues of race that have implications for education, advise the school district on issues of policy and practice, report about programs that benefit all racial/ethnic groups, and educate all stakeholders in an effort to increase understanding and bring all students to the highest possible levels of achievement.
- To support the needs of African-American students and help them achieve to their fullest potential
- To be a resource for schools
- To uncover and address issues that pertains to race in education
- To review the literature/research as a means to achieve the mission
- To raise the consciousness of the LM community about racism and its effect on our students
- To be a vehicle for change
- To represent the various stakeholder groups (administrators, teachers, parents, and community members) in an effort to put the community together
We are pleased to welcome Dr. Tara Doaty who will be working with our CARE participants as well as other District stakeholders to further the District's work in cultural competency. Her work will help us build our knowledge, skill and leadership in the areas of racial literacy, cultural proficiency, equity and inclusion, and ways to build bridges that celebrate diversity. Dr. Tara Doaty is the founder and lead mental health consultant of the Sage Wellness Group in Baltimore, Maryland. She has developed professional development trainings; facilitated presentations on topics including maternal and child health, addiction, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, child development, the achievement and opportunity gaps and ethical practices to external city, state . and national agencies. These include Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore Office of Homeless Services, Mercy Medical Center, University of Maryland School of Social Works Child Welfare Academy, The Family Recovery Program, CASA, Princeton Public Schools and many other agencies.
In accordance with efforts to help all students achieve both academically and socially, we recognize our responsibility to ensure that our educators acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes that will enable them to effectively relate to and educate all students who comprise the District's diverse student population. Additionally, each school maintains a Cultural Proficiency Cadre. This group of educators convenes regularly to facilitate ongoing professional development and dialogue on issues designed to build the capacity of building educators to foster a school and classroom environment that is welcoming, accepting, and inviting for all students.
To provide ongoing support to Cadre leadership teams in each school building, the District provides 14 or 7 hours of ongoing professional development to cohorts of Cadre leaders throughout the school year. These efforts are part of the District's ongoing commitment to ensure that all LMSD educators are culturally proficient practitioners who are prepared to serve all students in our classrooms.
Lower Merion is proud to serve families from around the world with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Currently, 29 languages are spoken by Lower Merion students. Whether you come to us speaking little English or more advanced skills, services are offered to English learners of all levels. All of these students and families enrich our community. We are happy that you have chosen Lower Merion Schools for your children and for allowing us to serve them.
The purpose of this website is to provide parents, students, teachers, and tutors with resources. If you have any questions about our English Language program, please talk with the ELD teacher and/or building administrator in your child’s school. Learn more about ELD in LMSD here.
WHY THE NAME?
POWER is an acronym for "Partnering for Opportunity, Wisdom, Esteem in Responsibility." In recognition of and pursuant to the highest aspirations of African Americans social, cultural heritage, and awareness, the program was named from a quote by Mary McLeod Bethune, who started the first school for African Americans after the Civil War.
POWER provides a forum that is safe and healthy for African American students to voice their ideas, differences, goals, along with celebrating their cultural heritage. In POWER, students have the opportunity to dialogue about the importance of receiving a rigorous and well-rounded education through high-level and rigorous course work. In POWER, students gain an awareness of the support services available to them that will help prepare them for college, a career, and civic participation beyond high school.
Goals and Objectives
- Build relationships that create group cohesiveness and supports academic & social success.
- Develop the skills necessary to reach their goals as they pursue their interests and talents.
- Interact within a space where students can discuss, problem-solve, and understand the complexities and dynamics of culture, race, society, and education.
- Recognize, celebrate, emulate, and exemplify the many positive attributes of African- Americans.
- Demonstrate preparation and competency for post-secondary and career opportunities.
LMSD is a charter member of the Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence & Equity (formerly the Delaware Valley Minority Student Achievement Consortium or DVMSAC). The Consortium is a collaborative association of 30 suburban school districts, an intermediate unit, and an education association, located throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and northern Delaware.
DVCEE members are committed to working together to enhance the achievement and well-being of all of their students, and most specifically, to increasing the academic performance, engagement, and future success of their students of color. Activities include collaborative workshops to promote best practices, a speaker series and administrative staff development, among others.