The truth about what we teach
This opinion column was submitted by Washoe County School Board Trustees Angie Taylor, Diane Nicolet and Ellen Minetto.
As the leadership team of the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees, we felt it was important to address the many misrepresentations made about our schools in a recent opinion column. But we will not repeat these vague assertions and definitions, for that would be unproductive. Instead, we want to share what is actually discussed and what we actually stand for within WCSD.
We are talking about race. The full story of our great nation must be told. When we consider this in the context of race, we must teach about atrocities and achievements, trials and triumphs, problems and progress. We can’t just talk about what’s strong; we also need to teach what was wrong. It’s the only way to learn and move forward together. We remain committed to not only teaching Dr. King’s dream, but also why that dream was so necessary: the absence of civil rights. We have come a long way in this great nation. And there is still work to do.
We are talking about fairness. We are a district committed to all students have access to the support they need to achieve their highest level of academic success. Equity ensures that everything students have the same opportunities. Equity programs include Special Education, English Learners, Gifted and Talented Students and more. A special education student needs additional supports to have the same chance of succeeding. This is also true for those who need to learn English and those who are gifted and talented. These are all equity programs that provide additional supports based on the needs of the student. At WCSD, we educate all student who walks through our doors and strives to support everyone on their journey to graduation.
We are talking about diversity. Diversity simply means differences. WCSD is a majority minority district. This means that over 50% of our 62,000+ students belong to a minority racial or ethnic group. A curriculum that recognizes and embraces these differences while acknowledging our commonalities is an important aspect of preparing our students for life and careers in the global society in which we live.
We are talking about inclusion. As a public school system, it is essential that we provide a welcoming, respectful and inclusive environment for everything of our students and everything 8,000 members of our dedicated and hardworking staff. We know that when students feel welcome and safe, they are more engaged in school and this leads to better academic results. And in the end, isn’t that what we’re here for?
Twisting the truth and making baseless statements to score political points is not the best way to move forward together. It is divisive and unfair to the thousands of WCSD educators who come to work every day and are committed to helping our students succeed. We regret that a board member chose to engage in this unproductive behavior instead of being a champion of the district we lead. We want our teachers, students, staff and community to know that these actions are in no way representative of the Council as a whole.
As the board’s leadership team, we help our schools discuss these important topics. This is included in the district strategic plan and previous boards have continued to support it. We also believe that the community as a whole supports and understands that these are important topics for our students today, so that they can everything be ready for their tomorrows.
The Washoe County School District Board Leadership Team is comprised of Trustee Chair Dr. Angie Taylor, Trustee Vice Chair Dr. Diane Nicolet and Clerk Ellen Minetto.
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