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      <p>System wants to employ more minorities in leadership roles</p><p>After a summer dominated by protests against racial injustice, the Johnson City Schools system is trying to foster more cultural education and understanding among students and staff.</p><p>The Johnson City Board of Education heard an update this week from an equity committee it formed last year to target systemic and individual instances of racism. The group of more than two dozen people included students, members of the community and teachers.</p><p>The committee met three times in June and July 2020 and came up with four broad categories for the system to focus on going forward: Curriculum, leadership, professional development and relationships nama bayi perempuan . The committee also came up with goals that fit under each category.</p><p>“We have a responsibility to provide an education for all our students … and I think this committee was formed with that idea and responsibility in mind,” said Lee Patterson, the system’s human resources director. “We want to do the best we can with every student, and this is just one avenue for the board to reach that goal.”</p><p>Patterson chaired the committee and delivered a presentation to school board members during their meeting on April 5.</p><p>One of the committee’s goals is to foster more cultural education to help students eliminate biases. In response, the system added an African American studies class at Science Hill High School in fall 2020.</p><p>Another goal for the system is to employ more minorities in leadership roles, including school administrators, teachers and counselors.</p><p>As the system’s human resources director, Patterson said this is an item she takes seriously and has worked hard on accomplishing.</p><p>“It’s difficult,” she told board members, “but we do try and we are continuing to try.”</p><p>The committee wants to see the school system have a similar ratio of minority leaders to its student population.</p><p>In fall 2021, the system will add a series of classes in its career and technical education curriculum dedicated to teaching as a profession, which leaders hope will create a pipeline for employment in the future.</p><p>Herb Greenlee, a member of the committee who was elected to the school board in 2020, said encouraging students who graduate from high school to stay in the community is a major priority — and not just in the school system.</p><p>“We’ve got to recruit people for our schools system, our police department, all our amenities that we’ve got going on in the city,” he said.</p><p>To help foster a deeper understanding of the struggles of minority students, the committee also recommended that the system train all staff on diversity issues. That would involve requiring five hours of teacher professional development and one hour of classified professional development with a focus on ways to identify and combat racism.</p><p>Lastly, the committee wants the system to encourage more interactions between students of different cultures and ethnicities. To that end, the system established the Langston Leadership Club at Science Hill, which had an initial group of 10 students that administrators hope will continue to grow.</p><p>COVID-19 has had an impact on the system’s ability to roll out all of the committee’s suggested changes, Patterson noted.</p><p>The committee recommended that the system start doing a daily announcement that focused on diverse, culturally significant leaders, but the system wasn’t able to implement that this year while also juggling obligations with the pandemic. Patterson told the board the system looks forward to putting that in place next year.</p><p>Because of the pandemic, the system also wasn’t able to implement the one hour of classified professional development. But, officials did perform book studies with students and certified staff, including one on “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” with teachers and counselors at Science Hill.</p><p>The equity committee plans to meet again to assess their progress. Patterson said they hope to set up a time before the end of the school year. She added that the group plans to start analyzing the system’s discipline records over the summer.</p><p>As the country was again re-examining its history with racism over the summer, Board Chair Kathy Hall said school officials felt it was time to take a close look at the system and look for ways to improve.</p><p>“I think any step is a good step forward,” Hall said. “I think everyone understands this will be an ongoing process, and we have to continue to make positive steps.”</p>

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