Virginia Beach Schools Adopt District-Wide Equity Policy
The Virginia Beach school board adopted a district-wide equity policy this week.
"The School Board will to be intentional in its efforts to replace factors that may lead to inequities, including racism, discrimination, harassment and prejudice with attitudes and behaviors that reflect acceptance, belonging, compassion, integrity, understanding, fairness, cooperation and respect," part of the policy reads.
The new policy was adopted about a week after a state commission presented recommendations to change the state history curriculum to add more and correct Black history topics.
Virginia Beach Superintendent Aaron Spence said the district did consider some of the commission's work, but Virginia Beach's policy will touch on more than just curriculum and work on the policy started a year ago.
So far, nothing is changing in relation to the adoption. Before that happens, an outside firm will complete an "equity assessment."
"I really find this equity assessment being an opportunity to do both quantitative data dives, but most importantly, qualitative data dives, to find out what are the stories, what are the experiences and then how can we move this work forward together," said LaQuiche Parrott, the school system's director for diversity, equity and inclusion.
The policy mentioned a few things that could change after the initial report, like advanced class offerings at schools and gifted education programs in order to close the achievement gap. It could mean offering summer programs for students who want to put in extra work to be prepared for more advanced classes the next school year.
There may be curriculum changes and there may be additions to teacher training.
"The policy speaks to every child in our school division," Spence said. "The policy speaks to having an equitable experience, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status and any number of other factors that have proven to be barriers to success in the educational system."
Spence estimated the initial equity assessment will take at least six months to complete.
Virginia Beach Public Schools are part of the Hampton Roads Telecommunications Association, which holds the license to WHRO Public Media.