When our young children are struggling to get by means of a pandemic that has upended how they discover and socialize, the most effective thing we can do for children is make certain that there is security in their educational experience. So it is regarding that some in the group have called for the elimination of Seattle General public Colleges Superintendent Denise Juneau — a superintendent who has gone largely unrecognized for top Seattle Community Colleges in remarkably novel conditions and for making significant and required strides to progress racial fairness across the district.
Because the start out of her tenure in July 2018, Superintendent Juneau has accomplished important progress in addressing the systemic racial inequity that has persisted for generations. A cornerstone of her management has been Seattle Excellence, the district’s 5-calendar year strategic plan to assist and serve learners furthest from instructional justice, commencing with Black boys and teenagers.
Seattle Excellence demonstrates how the superintendent has listened to the neighborhood and included comments to serve our college students and family members. She brought together a various group of students, mom and dad, households, district team, board users, Seattle Education and learning Affiliation associates and other local community leaders, who all shared their special views and resourceful methods. This is get the job done that is ongoing and needs all of us to participate.
Among the Juneau’s major priorities coming out of Seattle Excellence is developing a workforce that is much more assorted and culturally responsive — and SPS is presently surpassing its personal goals. Around the final a few many years, the district has elevated its choosing of personnel of shade, from lecturers (up 10% from 2018-19) and school leaders (up 19% from 2018-19) all the way up to central workplace leaders (up 19% from 2019-20). The district is equipped to recruit a lot more educators of shade due in component to the Academy of Growing Educators system, which now has a cohort that’s two times as significant as very last year’s, with 4 times as many Black male candidates.
The most essential get the job done that Superintendent Juneau is supporting stems from the establishment of the Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) in August 2019. AAMA is a potent engine driving adjust all over the district to deal with inequities and assist SPS’ Black boys and teens. By helping AAMA secure $1.8 million dollars from nearby philanthropies, Juneau produced Seattle Public Faculties the very first district in Washington state, and 1 of the couple of throughout the nation, to develop an workplace that intentionally cultivates the cultural and tutorial strengths of Black male students.
By AAMA, the district is actively doing work to develop guidelines, structures and systems developed for Black male students’ results whilst concurrently addressing district regions of improvement in lifestyle, disorders, competencies and group link. AAMA administrators conduct biweekly distant meetings and particular person verify-ins with their students, and with the launch of the AAMA Student Leadership Council in February 2020. For the initially time at SPS, Black boys and teenagers have a seat at the table when it comes to district determination-creating procedures that will impact their life. In August, Juneau, SPS’ Office of Racial Fairness Progression and AAMA hosted the Liberation By means of Anti-Racist Schooling Institute — a 4-working day virtual celebration where Black boys and teens had the opportunity to instantly share their strategies with much more than 500 SPS employees, educators and group users. We are keen to see much more activities like this that make channels to amplify Black pupil voices.
It’s crucial to acknowledge that even with these applications and achievements in position, Seattle Public Educational institutions will not close systemic racial inequity overnight. We ought to all make a long-expression motivation that necessitates shared and collaborative concentrate, constant awareness and management. That explained, the district is driving alter in the correct path under the superintendent’s leadership, and we really should not pull again on progress.
In the midst of a world wide pandemic, Superintendent Juneau has made impressive strides in reconstructing the district underneath a new, more formidable vision of equity and inclusion. The district’s very long-phrase get the job done in setting up an anti-racist academic system is progressing as it should, and that is why her accomplishments are typically uncelebrated and unfamiliar to the general public. Seattle Public Universities has been marked by leadership turnover — Superintendent Juneau is our seventh superintendent because 2000. Removing her at this time reinforces that sample, and disrupts the momentum she has manufactured toward Seattle Excellence and the experiences of college students who are entitled to continuous district management for the duration of this yr marked by instability. Superintendent Juneau has been doing very good perform. We feel she must continue being superintendent so that she can continue to direct Seattle General public Universities to a safer, more equitable long run.