Skyline High School's Equity Goals
- Provide professional development to Skyline staff members that creates engagement around creating an environment of anti-racism
- Provide resources to parents and students to extend conversations rooted in anti-racism to our entire community
- Acknowledge and address disparities in educational access and justice for communities of color
Our Equity Team Journey
A few years ago, we reached out to various student groups and we heard other students echo calls for equity in schools. As a response, our school board and our school hosted listening sessions around student experiences with equity in our schools. We have expanded our teaching and learning around black history, as well as other underrepresented histories, and continue to look for even more ways to do so. Although this may outline much of the work we are doing at school to shine a light on voices that are often unheard or silenced, we also appreciate the continued discussion and would enjoy more voices on our Equity Team.
Our school PBSES (Positive Behavior and Social Emotional Support) team’s primary role is to set expectations of behavior and create a sense of school community through these expectations. Part of this work is tracking discipline data when students violate these common codes of conduct. Our admin team is committed to reviewing this data and applying discipline policy equitably and restoratively to make sure we are not highlighting any groups of students, disproportionately.
In anticipation of Black History Month, we held an MLK assembly in all classrooms in January. During this assembly, students watched a student-created video about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and then had small group discussion at their table groups. Following the discussion, students created commitment cards connecting to the themes of Dr. King's work and discussed ways to address hate speech in school. Our Associated Student Body (ASB) has two dedicated positions as “Equity Liaisons” who work with our clubs and the Equity Team to make sure the work we do has student voice.
ASB is also talking about "This Day in History" during class announcements, and they have created slides that run on our school TVs for the various cultural celebration months throughout the year. They have also sponsored two events geared towards students of color: the Black and Brown Summit for males in the Fall and the Young Educated Ladies Leading. To this same end, ASB has an Equity Committee that has met with student groups on campus that represent traditionally underrepresented student groups.
We begin our 9th grade Social Studies curriculum with a Diversity Unit that speaks to wealth inequality, classism, gender bias and sexism, institutional racism, and microaggressions. These themes continue throughout the Social Studies curriculum, providing a lens through which students view all Social Studies courses. Social Studies also collaborates with English classes to further student discussion around narratives that speak to the diversity of human experience. Our recent curriculum adoption in English focused on bringing more novels authored by people of color. Earlier this year, the library created a display highlighting black authors and encouraging students to read authors that are more diverse.
As an admin team, equity work is one of our passions and we are dedicated to creating a school to justice pipeline through professional development. This year, our team read How to be an Antiracist and went to see author Ibram X. Kendi speak. Last year, many of us went to "Teaching for Black Lives" at the University of Washington and attended various trainings on race and culture both within and outside of the district. As well, throughout this year, and during our staff learnings, we have had professional development around addressing microaggressions and white privilege. Staff have been provided professional development about acknowledging white privilege and having meaningful conversations to address microaggressions from renowned PNW presenter, Dr. Caprice Hollins. In addition, our own district Equity and Family Partnership Specialist, Lorna Gilmour, has presented to Skyline staff about ways we can honor student experiences in the classroom to avoid harmful microaggressions. When microaggressions do happen, we are clear that they must be handled authentically, visibly, and restoratively.
Our staff is embarking upon a book study in antiracism as well this year, with these two texts selected as the options for first semester reading. As teachers work through these discussions and practice critical conversations around race, we will also be posting discussion guides here, if your family would like to engage with these texts and conversations as well!