Agenda Committee Meeting: Synopsis
September 28, 2010
The Agenda Committee took up a proposal to establish an Ad Hoc Diversity and Equity Committee. Superintendent Collins drafted a charge for this committee that formed the basis of the discussion.
Commissioner Werbel indicated that the Agenda Committee would vote on a charge for this committee, and if it passed, would bring a motion to the Board to form such a committee.
The charge of the committee was discussed. It was agreed the committee’s tasks were more akin to a Task Force than Ad Hoc Committee.
The Agenda Committee unanimously approved a charge for a Task Force on Diversity. The current draft of the committee charge (it is still being edited) indicates the committee will research and review district policies related to, among other things, school climate, curriculum, training, hiring, and retention and identify strategies that move the district forward, enabling the Board to implement its Diversity Policy of March 2009. The Task Force will present a report on its findings and submit a multi-year strategic plan to the Board in February to be discussed and for Board approval.
The Task Force report will reflect collaboration between the Board, parents, and community, on how to structure sustainable progress on diversity for the district.
Commissioner Matson made the case the Board should continue to undertake steps to implement its diversity policy, such as bringing a national educational leader to Burlington, while the Task Force in working. In other words, the establishment of a Task Force does not mean the Board will stop working on this issue.
Commissioner O’Rourke agreed with Commissioner Matson and suggested it would be useful to get a report out of the Task Force before the district goes into hiring season in April.
Commissioner Brennan sees the Task Force as a longer-term visionary process, but stated the Board should still work on diversity in the meantime. He also stated that this Task Force needs representation from the community.
Commissioner Lane said it was his intent to appoint people from the community. He anticipates a committee of about 12 people with 3 or more Board members.
It was noted that the Agenda Committee needs to make a recommendation to the Board which meets in 2 weeks, but that in the interim, Commissioner Lane would begin to reach out to the community, so that if the motion is approved by the Board, the Task Force could get off to an immediate start.
Commissioner Brennan noted retention should be in the committee charge.
Commissioner Pillsbury noted that lessons learned from last year’s hiring should be incorporated into the Task Force’s findings. Also, the consultants’ (CIE) findings should be included as part of the background material the Task force reviews.
It was discussed that the Task Force’s recommendations would be used for the Board to make policy, and that the Task Force would not be designed to craft decisions for the Board.
Commissioner Evans indicated she would be willing to be on the Task Force and suggested that there be representation from the Equity Council.
Commissioner Werbel noted that the Board deals with diversity issues on a variety of committees: the Curriculum Committee (Hallmarks of Excellence), Policy and Advocacy (Recruitment), etc. But the Board’s work has not yet been looked at globally. It has not yet reviewed to see what is working and what new initiatives are needed in a comprehensive way. The Task Force will be the opportunity to step back and see the big picture.
Commissioner Evans: Said that the document the Task Force produces should pull together data, and make recommendations on data reporting.
Mercedes Mack is concerned about the demands on members of the Equity Council and questioned asking them to also participate in the Task Force.