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Inequity is a systemic issue

Opinion: Letters to the editor

February 5th, 2019 2:06 PM

My husband and I have lived in Forest Park since 2002 and have been active in the community for over 10 years. I have coached T-Ball, been a Daisy leader and am currently serving on the Park District Foundation board to name a few. We have two daughters who are in the district. When my youngest was going into Kindergarten, I worked with a few other parents to create the Northside PTC (Parent Teacher Council).  This is when my interest in our schools began. I have always thought of myself as a member of a team with my children's teachers. When a spot opened up on the school board I decided to run. I wanted to learn even more about our schools and serve our community - to be a voice for them. 

Since I have been on the school board, we have implemented a new schedule at the middle school that allows for longer blocks of core subjects, enhanced the curriculum by offering algebra to eighth grade and Spanish to seventh and eighth grade students as well as adopted a new assessment called Fastbridge that our students take three times a year.  The results of this new assessment are available right away allowing for interventions to be made sooner. I believe that this will begin to raise our test scores as students are able to receive the support they need promptly and begin to shrink the achievement  gap between white and students of color.

In addition to believing that our test score must improve, I believe that our children deserve an equitable education. Last summer the school board began our work with the National Equity Project. This is an initiative I am very passionate about. We met for a few sessions and had to do some deep searching within ourselves and look at our own biases. By the end of our sessions we were able to develop the D91 Equity Imperative. All decisions we make going forward will be looked at through this new lens. The administration began their work last summer and our teachers will begin their work this year. Inequity is a systemic issue and the time is now to make a change. 

I have served on the school board for two years and have learned so much, yet I believe that I still have so much I can learn. I want to continue and see through the equity work that is just beginning. I want to be part of a board that is able to shrink our achievement gap and see our test scores rise. I believe in educating the whole child. Test scores are only a small reflection of our student's intellect. Our children need to have all the social and emotional supports we can provide them with.

Shannon Wood

Forest Park District 91 board of education 

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