cultural competence engagement committee
In 2016, Royal Oak Schools created “Forward Together,” a cultural competence planning outline that evolved to include a community forum. This forum met to hear experiences related to Royal Oak Schools and share what the district was doing around diversity, equity and inclusion. With input from administrators, teachers and the community, the forum prioritized a list of goals related to these topics. The Cultural Competence Engagement Committee is the next iteration of that group intended to share progress related to those goals and provide an educational resource for the community.
top goals identified by the forum:
- Ensure diversity is incorporated into the everyday curriculum
- Encourage staff participation in cultural competency professional development
- Focus on diversity in hiring
- Communicate more related to cultural competence
In the past three Years:
- More than 24 reports on "Forward Together" progress were presented at televised Board of Education meetings
- Every elementary classroom has added 20+ inclusive texts to its library
- Students have founded the Diversity Club at Royal Oak High School and the Uniting Cultures at Royal Oak Middle School
- Parents began the Royal Oak Multicultural Parent Association with school administrators
- Staff have attended professional development on topics such as:
- Courageous Conversations About Race
- Pushing Past the Perceptions of Race & Poverty to Attain High Student Achievement
- Cultural Proficiency for School Leaders
- Social Justice Project for Oakland County
- Becoming A Culturally Proficient Educator
As a group, the Cultural Competence Engagement Committee serves as an advisory committee of community members, students and staff to discuss and improve the district’s cultural competence work. Together, we will explore topics affecting students and families along the lines of race, religion, sexual orientation, special needs, language and poverty.
Forward Together: Cultural Competence Planning
Two high profile incidents that occurred at Royal Oak Middle School in November, 2016, create an opportunity for us to work together towards a more complete realization of our district vision to be a Community of Excellence. Although these events have highlighted a need, they did not create it. While we have a great school district in a great community, of which we are rightly proud, we acknowledge that we have work to do with regard to our promise that ALL experience a welcoming and inclusive community. We also recognize that we are not alone among districts and communities needing to do such work. In the coming days, weeks, months, and years, we will work together to make the promise of our vision a reality for ALL.
The focus of our work moving forward is on developing capacity that allow all persons in our school community to understand the experiences of each other. Ultimately, bullying, harassment and intimidation are reduced when there are not groups of people or individuals that we view as "other.” Our focus will be on building organizational capacity, leadership training, and developing a long-term strategic plan to increase cultural competence among staff and students.