LMSD Approves Equity Policy
At the Monday, June 14, 2021, meeting of the Lower Merion Board of School Directors, the Board approved District Policy 101 Equity. The full Policy, which begins with an explanation of purpose and includes multiple definitions and source citations, can be read here.
Policy 101 states, in part, "Educational equity is a shared commitment to ensure that every student gets what they need to be successful. Practicing equity in this District means understanding the needs of individuals and positioning resources – including funding, programs, policies, initiatives, and supports – to target people's unique experiences and to provide for individual needs so that achievement and opportunity gaps are eliminated on personal and systemic levels."
It goes on to say, "Equity is distinct from equality. While equality entitles that everyone gets the same, equity requires that individuals get what they need."
The approval of Policy 101 is the result of a collaborative effort among the Board, Administration and community stakeholders including students, staff and residents of Lower Merion and Narberth, who contributed to the creation and refinement of the Policy through participation in meetings of CARE (Committee to Address Race in Education), the Board's Ad-Hoc Committee on Equity and Anti-Racism, the Policy Committee and the Achievement Imperative Task Force. Students, who protested for racial justice following the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, provided added impetus and urgency to this effort, in alignment with "All Forward," the District's Strategic Plan's Pathway of Student-Driven Schools.
The Policy directs, "The Superintendent and/or designee to identify and remove institutional barriers that result in achievement and/or opportunity gaps for students; and implement policies, practices and procedures that ensure a student's educational success is neither predetermined or predicated by factors such as a student's race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, student with identified disabilities, individual learning needs, social or economic status, or other identity related factors."
Board President Lucy Klain said, "As President of the Board of School Directors, I'm proud of our students, community, staff, and administration who came together to develop this policy following the events of the past year and the heartbreaking reminder that we must continue to work for equal justice. I especially want to acknowledge the students' continuing fight for justice; their activism inspired us, as a Board, to convene our Ad-Hoc Committee on Equity and Anti-Racism and to work on creating this Districtwide Equity Policy. As our current students graduate and move on to serve, their impact will be felt by all of the students who follow."
Board Director Shawn Mooring, Chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Equity and Anti-Racism, said, "I am extremely pleased that the Lower Merion School District has taken this step to adopt a formal Equity Policy, thereby institutionalizing our long-held commitment to Equity and Anti-Racism. I am also particularly proud of the high level of engagement with our students, teachers, administrators and community stakeholders in the drafting, vetting, and finalizing of this policy."
In addition to approving the Equity Policy, the LMSD Board approved a proposal from Education Northwest to perform a Districtwide equity and inclusivity audit. (Agreement pending Solicitor review). Additional information about LMSD's ongoing Equity and Anti-Racism efforts is available on the Equity page of the District website, LMSD.org.