Tenafly Public Schools' Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
In an effort to create a systemwide, inclusive and supportive environment for all students and staff, Tenafly Public Schools created a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.
The goals of the DEI Committee are to:
- Further our discussion on diversity, equity & inclusion in Tenafly Public Schools and how we can address systemic issues within our school district;
- Create educational resources (e.g. support cultural differences, reduce race and gender barriers) that help to build an environment where all students feel like they belong.
On April 17, 2023, the DEI Committee met in two, back-to-back groups due to the overwhelming response to participate. Dr. Jeff Gorman, Interim Assistant Superintendent, led both sessions and noted that the focus of the committee is to educate and support students' access to opportunities, and to increase our awareness of the issues that surround our children. The committee members (students, staff and parents) participated in group activities to share their thoughts and listen to other perspectives. For their next meeting, the DEI Committee will begin their work to identify key topics and to begin developing action plans. There will also be sub-committees formed at the school-based level.
During the second meeting held on June 5, 2023, the DEI Committee members discussed seven goals for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year:
1. Inclusion of Students and Parents with Lower Socioeconomic Status: We must ensure that all members of our community are supported and given the same opportunities for success, regardless of their economic background.
2. Understanding the Needs of Different Subgroups of Students: Our community is made up of a diverse range of students. Recognizing and addressing their unique needs will help us create an inclusive environment that values and promotes diversity.
3. Support for LGBTQIA+ Students: We need to strengthen our support for students who identify as LGBTQIA+. They should feel safe, accepted, and appreciated in our school community.
4. Disproportionality in Student Discipline: It is crucial that we continue to examine our disciplinary practices to ensure that they are fair and do not disproportionately affect any group of students.
5. Culturally Responsive Curriculum: Let’s explore opportunities to make our curriculum more representative of our students' diverse backgrounds and experiences. This will foster a more inclusive and respectful learning environment.
6. Access to High-Level Coursework: We need to ensure that all students have equal access to high-level courses, thereby promoting academic equity and excellence across all student groups.
7. Calendar Committee Recognizing Cultures: Let's discuss establishing a calendar committee to recognize and celebrate the diverse range of cultures present in our school community.
This fall, the DEI Committee members will be creating Action Plans for each goal.
There's still time to get involved, so stay tuned for more information when we return in September.