Lake Travis - Westlake | October 2020

EDUCATION Eanes ISDbegins diversity, equity and inclusionwork on campus

BUILDING AN ADVISORY GROUP The rst Eanes ISD diversity, equity and inclusion advisory group received 262 applications. The group will be comprised of 27 members and will serve alongside the district and ocial DEI consultant. 9 parents 9 sta members 4 students

toward DEI work involves a period of reection to help the community understand how and why to have conversations surrounding race and equity. “How to get people in a space to have racial reections if you will and then how do they start to move those reections into action that will ulti- mately transform the organization,” Gooden said. The work requires individuals to reect on their practices and be open to dicult conversations and educa- tion. Gooden explained the purpose of embarking on DEI work is not to place blame but to promote education and it often begins with leadership. “Where we are right now, we are trying to engage leaders to really set the course,” Gooden said. However, certain leadership at EISD is approaching a change. Three places are up for election on the board of trustees Nov. 3, and the EISD community is already calling upon candidates to discuss their plans for the district’s DEI mission. The four candidates appeared in a virtual town hall event Sept. 24,

BY AMY RAE DADAMO

former and current students publicly alleged racist behavior within the district, particularly at Westlake High School. At the time, the community petitioned and publicly advocated for the addition of a DEI consultant. “While we cannot rewrite history or change the parts of our past that we are not proud of, we can change the future by creating a culture of inclusion and by rejecting all forms of bigotry and racism that perpetuate hate,” EISD said in a public statement. Gooden serves as director of the Endeavor Antiracist and Restorative Leadership Initiative at Columbia University and has worked with school districts throughout the coun- try, including Austin ISD. He said DEI consultants like himself are brought on when districts begin grappling with dicult questions surrounding equity on campus. According to Gooden, the rst step

Eanes ISD is taking its initial steps towards promoting racial awareness on campus by establishing its rst advisory group focused on diversity. As of Sept. 21, more than 260 students, parents, teachers and alumni applied to serve on the diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, committee. Superintendent Tom Leonard said the district has received overwhelming interest in participa- tion from the community. Out of the 260 applicants, 27 diverse members will be selected including four students, two com- munity members, nine sta, two principals, nine parents and one administrator. The group will then work alongside Mark Gooden, EISD’s rst appointed DEI consultant. Gooden’s new position was unani- mously approved by district ocials in July after more than several dozen

2 community members who are not parents of current students 2 principals 1 administrator

SOURCE: EANES ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

including KimMcMath and John Troy, who are running for Place 1, as well as Laura Clark and John Haven- strite, who are running uncontested races for Place 2 and Place 3, respectively. All potential school board members publicly committed to continuing the districts’ work by providing teacher training developing adequate reporting systems for racist behavior, among other initiatives.

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LAKE TRAVIS  WESTLAKE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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