The Prince William County School Board is considering the school system’s first equity statement, which, if approved, would serve as a guide for all schools in the county.
The statement, unveiled during Wednesday night’s school board meeting, was developed over the past year by an advisory council to the school superintendent.
“We wanted to make sure that there was a statement that each division in our schools could take with them, and they could look at...and they could create documents, they could create policies or procedures at the school level and at the administrative level, that could effect change in the school division,” said Kate Olson-Flynn, a member of the advisory council.
Olson-Flynn said the document, a list of eight bullet points, is intended to meet two overarching goals: declare the school division’s objective to create equity and inclusion, and create a vision statement that will guide schools in their effort to eliminate learning disparities, proactively address implicit biases, engage parents, and re-train staff, among other things.
“This moment is historic,” said India Daniels, also a member of the advisory council. “We have come a long way in this county. We are truly a diverse community, and I’m proud to be a part of that diversity. It is not often that folks from all walks of life come together and create a policy that is inclusive of everyone. This is the work our ancestors would be proud of.”
During the presentation, school board members mostly praised the document.
“I'm just almost speechless because I never thought I would sit and see the day where Prince William County schools would have such a powerful statement,” said school board member Loree Williams.
School Board Chair Babur Lateef said the statement embodies the values of the school system.
“I think you guys really nailed it,” Lateef said.
However, school board member Lillie Jesse said that although she is impressed with the document, she would like to know what the next steps are to making “this an actionable working document.”
Deputy Superintendent Keith Imon responded saying the first step is for the board to vote on the document to make it official.
“And we've already been in the process as you all know, of doing equity across our school division for years,” Imon said. “This puts it out in a formalized statement.”
The school board is scheduled to vote on the equity statement at its meeting May 19.