the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Empathy, the ability to understand the feelings of another person and place yourself in their position, is the entry point towards creating a culture where staff and students feel a sense of belonging and safety. Empathy allows us to consider the perspective of others, affirming and valuing the diversity of everyone in our community. It is a critical element of emotional intelligence. If we are to truly recognize the dignity in every person—their innate worth resulting from their very humanity—we must first practice empathy. To build the practice of empathy in GCPS, we will set and measure the goals that follow.
Goal 1.A Cultural competence
Increase the cultural competence and proficiency of our organization and individual staff members to improve service delivery, strengthen programs, and enhance engagement across the full spectrum of our diverse community.
GCPS Cultural Competence Definition: Recognizing, valuing, and leveraging differences in order to interact effectively and better serve our students, staff, and community. (GCPS Cross-Functional Action Team Report, Becoming a Culturally Competent Organization, 2015)
- Create systems, structures, and processes that institutionalize and operationalize the GCPS definition of cultural competence: Recognizing, valuing, and leveraging differences in order to interact effectively and better serve our students, staff, and community.
- Incorporate cultural competence and strategies for inclusivity into professional learning for all GCPS.
- Integrate culturally responsive teaching practices in the Quality-Plus teaching strategies and Gwinnett Teacher Evaluation.
- Represent cultural diversity in all curriculum materials and through specific course offerings that elevate the contributions of historically marginalized communities.
- Create a knowledge base of resources for cultural competence that supports diversity across multiple dimensions, including language, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, economic class, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
Goal 1.B Student and staff wellbeing
Promote student and staff wellbeing through prioritizing self-care, physical and mental health, and social emotional learning.
- Continue efforts to build an intentional, well-established, exemplary social and emotional learning (SEL) program that strategically provides cross-divisional support coupled with robust professional learning and resources for staff, students, and families.
- Develop additional resources through the human resources department and the SEL office to provide mental health supports for staff, e.g., employee assistance programs, wellness coaching, stress management, etc.
- Prioritize investments in student support services for more school counselors, social workers, and psychologists, as well as capacity building for all staff to respond to student mental health challenges.
- Provide additional opportunities to elevate student voice, ownership, and agency in the design of their school experience and be responsive to their requests.
Key Performance Indicators for the Student and Staff Wellbeing Goal
Goal 1.C Educator diversity
Develop robust pipelines and support systems to recruit and retain an educator workforce that reflects the diversity of our students and community.
While all students can benefit from diverse teachers, students of color who have a teacher of the same race/ethnicity are more likely to attend school regularly, perform higher on assessments, be referred to a gifted program, take Advanced Placement courses, graduate from high school, and aspire to attend college.¹ They also tend to experience additional support for their social and emotional development.²
English language learners can benefit from having teachers who speak their first language—including experiencing more emotional support and achieving bigger gains on literacy and other assessments.³ (ERS, November 2020 Report)
- Design long-term recruitment strategies to increase the number of teachers and leaders from specific ethnic or cultural background priorities, such as targeted partnerships with university partners, outreach to local ethnic-based Community-Based Organizations to build stronger Latinx and Asian-American (or other) relationships and pipelines, expanded Grow Your Own initiatives, or new partnerships with national ethnic-based educator organizations.
- Construct competitive, strategic, and differentiated compensation packages that consider total rewards – both salaries and non-salary benefits.
- Improve working conditions and career advancement opportunities through elevating teacher voice in decision-making and formalizing teacher leader roles.
- Initiate opportunities for staff to participate in optional affinity groups led by facilitators with experience in diversity, equity, and inclusion training.
Key Performance Indicators for the Educator Diversity Goal
1 Stephen B. Holt and Seth Gershenson. The Impact of Teacher Demographic Representation on Student Attendance and Suspensions. Institute for the Study of Labor, 2015.; Thomas S. Dee. Teachers, Race and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2001.; Seth Gershenson, Cassandra M.D. Hart, Constance Lindsay, and Nicholas W. Papageorge. The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers. Institute of Labor Economics, 2017.; Sean Nicholson-Crotty, Jason A. Grissom, Jilly Nicholson-Crotty, and Christopher Redding. Disentangling the Causal Mechanisms of Representative Bureaucracy: Evidence from Assignment of Students to Gifted Programs. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (2016).; Diana Quintero. The Benefits of Hispanic Student-Teacher Matching for AP Courses. Brookings Institution, 2019.; Anna J. Egalite, Brian Kisida, and Marcus A. Winters. Representation in the Classroom: The Effect of Own Race Teachers on Student Achievement. Economics of Education Review, 2015
2 Travis J. Bristol and Javier Martin-Fernandez. The Added Value of Latinx and Black Teachers for Latinx and Black Students: Implications for the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Annenberg Institute at Brown University, 2019.
3 Susanna Loeb, James Soland, and Lindsay Fox. Is a Good Teacher a Good Teacher for All? Comparing Value-Added of Teachers with Their English Learners and Non-English Learners. Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 2014.; Jason T. Downer, Priscilla Goble, Sonya S. Myers, and Robert C. Pianta. Teacher-Child Racial/Ethnic Match Within Pre-Kinder- garten Classrooms and Children’s Early School Adjustment. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 2016.