NPAS clarifies its position on equity training

By: 
Tim Dittberner

At the Monday, October 24 school board meeting, there were comments made during the
open-forum regarding the district’s equity training that, as the superintendent, I would like to
respond to. I would publicly like to explain the facts around equity and training for our teachers.
The word “equity” has taken on several meanings. For New Prague Area Schools, equity
means creating a culture where all students have an equal opportunity to reach their full
potential academically, socially, and emotionally. This can be accomplished by having all
students feel welcomed, valued and included regardless of their race, religion, special needs,
socioeconomic background, gender, etc.
Last year, there had been an increasing pattern of hate speech incidents when compared to
previous years. Hate, disrespect and intimidation have no place within our schools. Every
student should feel welcome, valued, and included. At last February’s school board meeting, I
announced a three-step plan to improve our school district climate. We needed to take action to
move forward and work together with students, staff, parents and community leaders for positive
change.
This would be accomplished by 1) putting together a committee of effective,
collaborative-minded people from students, staff, parents and members of the larger community
to create a school district climate task force. Their mission is to assess our district needs that
will provide a safe and inviting environment for all, and 2) Identify and provide resources and
development for all students and staff to help address and eliminate these harmful behaviors
and 3) work with our student leaders involved in athletics, fine arts and other activities to raise
awareness and model appropriate behavior and conduct.
On Monday night, Oct. 24, a statement was made that stated New Prague Area Schools embraces critical race theory (CRT). This is not accurate.
What have we done? We have provided equity training for our staff. The example that was cited
at the school board open forum was an article, “Avoiding Racial Equity Detours,” that was given
to the administration team. The principals/directors were asked to share the article with their
teachers and follow up with small group discussions at an upcoming professional development
day.
The article was not intended to be a roadmap for equity in our district. The article has staff
reflecting on if there are barriers within our classrooms/schools that would prevent our students
from learning; the article provided a baseline to start this conversation not only in the area of
race, but in the other areas as defined above. In our subsequent training in November, our staff
will receive tools to help address possible barriers within the classroom/schools.
On another note, I’m glad to report our efforts working with students and staff has made a
substantial impact on hate speech in our district and I feel we will only get better as the
school year progresses. Continued training for our teachers will help us continue to improve.
I am proud to live and work in this school district. I’m grateful that our community members are
people who care about others and the education of their children. I appreciate your partnership
in moving our district forward.

Tim Dittberner is the superintendent of the New Prague Area School District.

Category:

Publication:

Suel Printing Company

Copyright © Suel Printing Company
All Rights Reserved
200 Main St E
New Prague, MN 56071

Phone: 952-758-4435
Fax: 952-758-4135

Latest articles

Fri, 01/27/2023 - 1:45pm
Fri, 01/27/2023 - 1:43pm
Fri, 01/27/2023 - 1:22pm
Fri, 01/27/2023 - 11:35am

If you would like to receive a FREE digital edition with a paid print subscription please call 952-758-4435.