Redistricting through the Lens of Cultural Proficiency

Posted on: Tue, 03/12/2019 - 09:00

Redistricting students into new schools is one of the hardest decisions the Board of Education makes. It is a very emotional issue for the students and their families. As we embark on the redistricting process for the Linganore, Oakdale and Urbana feeder patterns, I am very proud of the Board of Education for demonstrating their commitment to cultural proficiency.

School pride is important in a community. School traditions and school spirit bring the community together. Students as well as family members value relationships with staff members. A strong connection exists between a community and its neighborhood school. Thus, redistricting creates fear that a family will lose that connection if their child is sent to a different school.

Adding to that fear is the perception students or family members might have about the other school. Those perceptions may be created by some interaction, but often those perceptions can be rooted in hearsay or stereotypes. This implicit bias becomes apparent when stakeholders begin to advocate for remaining at their school instead of going to “that school” with “those kids.”

Recently our Board of Education felt it was important to share the values they expect to guide our redistricting process. I am incredibly proud of the statement they issued.

For three years, our staff have been examining the implicit biases we carry that may affect our work. This cultural proficiency journey has been an impetus for self-reflection and deeper understanding. The statement by our Board of Education acknowledges that the redistricting process will be an opportunity for our entire community to challenge implicit bias and to seek to understand the unique culture that makes every school in Frederick County a place where students thrive!

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