COLORADO SPRINGS — As families from all walks of life continue to move to our area in big numbers, it’s bringing area school districts a new task: how to make all those new students feel welcome and included.
Local school district leaders say that starts with a focus on making sure students have a teaching staff they can relate with.
In Widefield School District 3, new faces just keep coming.
“The growth just brings a more diverse population,” District 3 spokesperson Samantha Briggs said. “I think we are seeing a change in our demographic and a change in our families.”
And on the north side of town, diversity has been a growing focus for Academy School District 20 leaders as well
“Sometimes our faculty members don’t look like our students,” District 20 spokesperson Allison Cortez said. “We actually had a fair amount current students, alumni and parents reach out to us, and they shared a concern that our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts were not where they needed to be in our district.”
For both districts, it means trying some new things.
“It’s important to have a diverse staff that matches our diverse student population,” Briggs said. “This is our first virtual job fair that we’ve ever done.”
Later this month, that District 3 job fair will not only bring in new candidates, but also be a learning session on diversity, equity and inclusion.
“I think our big goal out of this is to really obtain a broad spectrum of quality candidates that serve all of our students,” Briggs said.
The virtual job fair is planned for February 26 starting at 8 a.m.
Meanwhile, for District 20--
“We just did a call for applications for a diversity, equity and inclusion task force,” Cortez said.
That task force--comprised of parents, students, teachers, and other D20 stakeholders, will audit every aspect of the district’s practices.
Cortez said the district is sifting through nearly 300 applications right now, and should have a final decision on who has been chosen to be a part of it coming up soon.
“I think as we’re doing this audit, we really want to know, what are we doing well, but where are we falling down,” she said.
Because, for all the schools in our area, those new faces are only going to keep coming.
“We want to make sure that if you’ve been here for 20 years you feel welcome, and if you’ve been here for five minutes you feel welcome,” Cortez said.