Dear OCS Community,
Over the last few months, Oldham County Schools has been focused on reopening the district in a way that ensures the safety and health of our students and faculty. Returning to schools during a pandemic presents challenges but they are not the only challenges we face today. We are witnessing social changes and civic engagement regarding race and our society and I am reminded that a healthy school environment is not just one free from a virus, but also one free of racism.
Our district is not immune to racial injustice or acts of racism, and we should not be absent from the larger conversation to affirm that black, brown, and minority voices do matter, especially as it affects members of our OCS community. I do not have all the answers to the questions being asked regarding race and equality. I can say, as your Superintendent, I will lead this district in standing against racism and in pursuing equity within our schools.
In March of 2019, I convened a diverse cohort of cross-functional district personnel to join me in creating the Oldham County Schools Inclusion Coalition. The Inclusion Coalition is a diverse group of district and school-level administrators, teachers, and classified staff. For the past year, under the guidance of an external diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultant who specializes in race relations, we have engaged in the first of three phases. Phase I included: in-depth studies on the effects on students of racism and social marginalization; a district-wide data analysis of personnel representation, student discipline, and achievement; ongoing professional development; and coaching and strategic planning in preparation for launching a district-wide effort to make our school community a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive place to work and learn.
As an outcome of our first-year efforts, the district’s central office staff, principals, assistant/associate principals, and counselors all completed mandatory professional development programs on DEI. Several schools engaged in Courageous Conversations on race and completed professional development programs for staff and faculty. School leaders will be encouraged to work with the DEI consultant to continue and expand these programs for 2020-21.
Despite the continued challenges created by the pandemic, I remain committed to advancing our efforts to create an inclusive, just, and equitable school district. The Inclusion Coalition reconvened to begin Phase II of our work on July 16th. During this phase we will provide opportunities for more faculty and staff to share perspectives on how we can do better for staff, students and the communities we serve.
I welcome all of you to join us on this journey. Together, we will find the answers to serving the needs of our increasingly diverse OCS community.
Greg Schultz and the OCS Inclusion Coalition