Frontier School Committee looks for transparency on anti-racism efforts

  • Frontier Regional School in South Deerfield STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/4/2021 10:08:49 AM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — In an update to the Frontier Regional School District School Committee Tuesday night, the Anti-Racism and Equity Committee shared the steps it is taking toward improving communication within the district.

“Being such a large district with so many schools, and the committee itself being so large, communication has definitely been an issue in terms of subcommittees communicating with each other,” said Kelsey Cropp, a guidance counselor at Frontier Regional School, “in terms of admin communicating with teachers, in terms of schools communicating with other schools, and in terms of schools communicating with the community.”

Her comments followed a discussion at last month’s School Committee meeting, during which Amanda Mozea — who was hired by the district last year as a consultant to the committee — said that in order for change to be systematic, communication needs to improve.

“How can we transition from individual teachers and classrooms doing this (anti-racism) work, to making this systematic?” Mozea asked School Committee members in February.

Cropp said Tuesday night that following two recent meetings, which focused on the issue of communication, the committee considered two ways to improve transparency on the anti-racism efforts happening at the school.

“We are proud and excited about the work we’re doing, and we want to share that with the community and be really open about it,” she said.

In addition to adding a presence on the district’s website, the committee plans to distribute a monthly newsletter, she said.

“We have students in each of the four subcommittees (to the Anti-Racism and Equity Committee), so they’ll be working, with some adult supervision, to put together this monthly newsletter that will go out to all of our students, all of our faculty across all five schools and out to all our parents in the community,” Cropp explained.

She also said the Policy and Procedure Subcommittee — which has largely been focused on reviewing the existing handbook policies — could begin looking into new policies that address racist incidents, for example, and improving the communication around those policies.

“When we do that, the message we are sending out to everybody is we are a community that cares about each other,” she said. “We are a community that has each other’s backs, and really, that benefits everybody.”

And finally, Cropp addressed plans for professional development at the high school, which hasn’t had the same level of impact as at the elementary level.

“There’s definitely still a need to get everyone up to speed and on the same page,” she said. “We’d like to problem-solve around that for next year and make sure that everyone who’s interacting with our students and everyone who is part of our School Committee has access to that (professional development).”

Cropp said as the district looks toward the future, the committee is also starting to look at intersectionality.

“Obviously, we know that just because we’re focused on racism this year, that doesn’t mean that magically sexism, homophobia or ableism are going to be fixed,” she said.
“Those things are often interconnected with racism.”


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