The following is a June 17, 2020 social justice letter from the Wilmington City Schools (WCS) Diversity Committee. Residents also can visit the Diversity Committee page of the WCS website and learn more about the committee’s work to create a safe, engaging, equitable, and accepting learning environment for all WCS students.
The Wilmington City School District is committed to serving all students and ensuring that all people are treated with dignity and respect. Diversity and inclusion are core values of Wilmington City Schools.
Schools absorb and reflect what is happening in our communities and country. Even when we are not physically in session, our students are always watching, internalizing and often mirroring what they see play out on television, social media and in their own family and social groups.
The problems and issues of our society are brought into our schools. Our schools require our families, leaders and communities to work together to make the necessary changes to become a better place.
We are committed to the important work of creating an environment for teaching and learning that proactively seeks to end systemic racism. We adhere to our board policies that support a learning environment free from discrimination. Our work in creating restorative schools and being a trauma-responsive district continues to be a focus and a priority.
Restorative practices in education:
• Building and maintaining healthy relationships
• Creating just and equitable learning environments
• Repairing harm and transforming conflict
The focus of restorative practices in education is on building and re-affirming relationships and community. It ensures that all voices are heard.
When schools use restorative practices, they engage in collaborative problem-solving and empower change and growth. It involves developing values and social-emotional capacity, instilling responsibility for self and others and a community of well-being.
Creating this environment is beneficial for all people.
Trauma-informed and resilience focused schools:
We now know from medical research that adverse childhood experiences and traumas impact how the brain functions. It is our goal to serve our students in a way that allows their brains to be in the best possible state for learning.
As educators, we are exceedingly aware of the trauma that happens in the lives of our students and society in which they live. Our awareness of the trauma and emotional state of our students arriving at school helps us to better understand the value in work around restorative practices, social-emotional learning, and positive behavior intervention and support.
• Improved academic achievement
• Improved school climate
With the support of our District Diversity Committee and our dedicated staff and community, we will continue to examine our practices. We will listen, reflect, and take action to ensure that all students are successfully able to learn and grow in a safe learning environment.
We are committed and ready to implement meaningful solutions that will result in equity for all.