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Shared Language

Shared Language as a Lever for Equity 

WDMCS serves an increasingly diverse, multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual student population (more than 9,200) with complex needs. We strive to cultivate thriving equitable learning environments for our students, staff, families, and communities. The intent of the "WDMCS DEI Glossary: Shared Language as Lever for Equity" is to leverage language in achievement of belonging for each member of our community: helping staff, leaders, and community better serve students and themselves. 

The concepts and terms in this glossary underscore language crucial to our pursuit of belonging, equitable student outcomes, and community. This project has four specific goals for our district:

  • Improve communication across our district amongst various stakeholders;
  • Provide resources for continuous personal and collective learning and education;
  • Support intrapersonal, interpersonal, and systemic accountability; 
  • Clarify our district's commitment and stance on critical topics, conversations, and contexts as they relate to how we serve. 
  • In the glossary, each term has a definition, scholarly reference, and WDMCS context. The definitions are intentionally concise and relevant to our specific WDMCS context. Please understand WDMCS is a PK-12 education system with a mandate to educate, develop and shape, empower, and meet the needs of each student and staff member. This project is intended to leverage language to ensure each student has what they need to be successful in our district. 

What this glossary is NOT:

  • A curriculum used with students 
  • A tool to label individuals based on their dimensions of identities
  • An exclusively WDMCS resource, it is a community resource 
  • To be used to advance any agenda besides the four objectives above. 

WDMCS is committed to co-creating spaces with students to co-learn with them and to cultivating curiosity epitomized by "I'm here to get it right, not here to be right" (Brené Brown). Thus, we recognize the importance of language in lifting and upholding the humanity, dignity, and lived experiences of all stakeholders.

Contact Us

Dr. Dau Jok
Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
515-633-5040

Gianna Pugliese
WDMCS Community Education
Intercultural Outreach Coordinator

Shared Language Team

  • Natalie French, English for Speakers of Other Languages Director 
  • Dr. Dau Jok, Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 
  • Michelle Lettington, Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning
  • Dr. Kristine Milburn, Gifted and Talented Coordinator 
  • Gianna Pugliese, Intercultural Outreach Coordinator 
  • Shane Scott, Secondary Curriculum Director 
  • Mike Sherman, Data Management Director 
  • Alexandra Wade, School/Community Relations Specialist

Feedback Groups

  • Administrative Leadership Team
  • Building Equity Leads
  • District Leadership Team
  • School Community Network
  • School Improvement Advisory Council
  • School and Community Stakeholders

WDMCS DEI Glossary

Terms are listed alphabetically. Sections of terms related to Foreign-Born Identities, LGBTQIA2S+ terms, and Pronouns follow the alphabetical terms. Click on the letter or section title to access the terms in that section, then click on any term to see the WDMCS definition, references, and context.

Information About Unique Sections