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WDMCS Explores DEI Districtwide at Equity Lead Summit (4/6/2023)

April 6, 2023 | West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) equity leads and administrators participated in the spring equity lead summit on March 30, 2023. Facilitated by Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Dau Jok, equity leads developed goals for their buildings and brainstormed about co-creating the necessary space and conditions for equity at the building and district level. 

“The summit offered us a great opportunity to build community, collaborate, learn new content, and build processes to support building, classroom, and individual capacity,” Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Dau Jok said. “I am excited to continue partnering with various leaders and stakeholders, especially equity leads, as we set conditions for equitable work and learning spaces. Our ultimate goal is equitable student outcomes and sustained systems that empower students, families, and staff authentically.” 

Each equity lead works with district leadership to guide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work at their building. This summit was a follow up to a fall equity leads retreat and other professional learning that equity leads and administrators have participated in throughout the year. 

“In order to help make a change within our students, we must first start at the top, as far as teachers,” Walnut Creek teacher and equity lead Karen Brown said. “Then we can work in the classrooms and work individually within ourselves to make a change, but we must all work together.”

Jok and building equity leads have engaged staff including administrators, teachers, support staff, coaches, and school resource officers in equity learning throughout the 2022-23 school year. Learning often focuses on each individual’s personal culture and identity, as well as their capacity and role as leaders.

“There’s a lot of action and excitement and activity about making sure that work isn’t just happening with the individual…” Indian Hills Junior High teacher and equity lead Clifton Tressler said. “We’re looking at ways to build community in all of our buildings and trying to make sure that the work is really being done across the entire district but from the support of a number of people.” 

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