Cultural Diversity & Equity

Spring 2020 Newsletter

In This Issue

  1. Cultural Competency and Microaggression Training at the ESC
  2. LGBTQ Administrative Guidelines
  3. LGBTQ Health Curriculum Update
  4. Resources During the Shutdown
  5. News from the Equity Advisory Committee!
  6. Student Climate Survey Update

Cultural Proficiency and Microaggression Training at the ESC!

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Over the winter months, the Educational Services Center has been excited to receive Cultural Proficiency Training developed by the Department of Diversity and Cultural responsiveness and facilitated by Director Laura Gray! This was a two-hour training where staff learned about the Cultural Proficiency Continuum and where they fell on it, the importance of self-assessment, microaggressions and how to spot them, and how to move forward with a new understanding of how they can affect change.

Later in the year, there will be additional make-up sessions to ensure that everyone in the building receives this important information.

The training received so much positive feedback that Director Gray plans to expand this training and bring it to individual schools, so stay tuned for updates on this opportunity!

If you are interested in requesting this training in your building, please contact Laura Gray at

LGBTQ Administrative Guidelines

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BIG update for our LGBTQ Initiative! Over the past year the LGBTQ Planning Committee, which is made up of teachers, staff, administrators, community members, and members of the University of Iowa Partnership, has worked tirelessly to create expansive LGBTQ Administrative Guidelines. On August 21st, 2019 the Iowa City Community School District adopted new LGBTQ Administrative Guidelines which will be housed under our existing Bullying and Harassment policy. These guidelines will set expectations for ICCSD staff and students and serve as a resource to facilitate consistent implementation of the following LGBTQ specific policies (Click Here to see the guidelines in full). We have a professional responsibility to comply with all of the parts of the LGBTQ Guidelines under the purview of the ICCSD Equity Department. More professional development opportunities are always available for those who need additional support to be successful in practicing these policies.

This has been a momentous moment in the movement to create a safe and inclusive environment for our LGBTQ students, and the members of the LGBTQ Planning Committee have never wavered or lost their focus on the goals for their children. They are all a testament to their profession and deserve our utmost gratitude!

LGBTQ Health Curriculum

This year our district partnered with UAY to provide professional development to 5th and 6th-grade teachers, so they make their health and sex education more inclusive for our LGBTQ students. During this training, teachers discussed district guidelines and expectations, ways to adapt our current curriculum to be more inclusive, and beneficial techniques such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy to help navigate this important topic. After we come back to school, 4th-grade teachers will also receive this training.

Special thanks go out to Ally Hanten, Talia Meidinger, Stanzy Scheetz, Laura Gray, and Lindsey Schluckebier for making sure our educators receive the best possible information and support so they can make a difference with our students!

Resources During the Shutdown

Even though school is not currently in session, that does not mean that we cannot continue to grow our knowledge of equity and diversity! Our department would like to offer our staff resources for training and webinars that anyone can participate in for free during the next few weeks! These trainings are completely optional and are not offered for any type of license renewal or course credit.

Please click the link below to see a list of webinars created by Teaching Tolerance. They provide training on a diverse number of subjects and are free to take any time. Sign up with your ICCSD email account and get ready to expand your mind!

We also want to keep in mind that parents are an equal part of their children’s enrichment and may want to explore resources to expand their knowledge. All the above webinars from Teaching Tolerance are also beneficial to parents, and below are other resources that might be helpful!

The Human Rights Campaign has put together a Webinar series at no cost to discuss topics such as Introduction to LGBTQ Cultural Competency, Best Practices for Serving LGBTQ Parents, and Best Practices for Serving LGBTQ Youth in Out-of-Home Care

Embrace Race is a great resource for all things Racial Equity! They have many different types of free webinars that explore equity-based topics. Great for parents and educators alike!

Exciting news from the Equity Advisory Committee!

We are very happy to announce that two amazing individuals have joined our committee to help us with our continued work to make sure the Iowa City Community School District strives towards equity and inclusion.

Please help us welcome Karen Nicholas and Rebekka Tiley! We know they will be great additions to our group, and they have proved themselves to be allies of equity and have a long history of making positive change in their communities!

Student Climate Survey Update

The 5th annual ICCSD School Culture and Climate survey was fielded in February with robust student participation (78%). The student feedback we receive through this survey is instrumental to the strategic planning of the Equity Department and the ICCSD leadership. The School Culture and Climate survey results represent student experiences in school which help prioritize policies and programs to meet the needs of all students. The Equity Implemented Partnership with the University of Iowa will release an online version of the report this summer.

Upcoming Events!

15th Annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth

Monday, May 11th, 8am-3pm

This is an online event.

Iowa Safe Schools will be hosting the 15th Annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth virtually! The conference will be hosted online conference on Monday, May 11, from the comfort of your own home!

All students deserve a safe and supportive place in which to learn including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ). For many LGBTQ youth, school can be a terrifying place due to bullying, harassment, and discrimination. In order to eliminate bullying in Iowa schools and create leadership opportunities for LGBTQ youth, Iowa Safe Schools founded the Annual Iowa Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth.

To register for the conference, go to:

Who is in the Equity Department?

About Us

Non-Discrimination Policy

It is the policy of the Iowa City Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy, please contact Jeremy Tabor, Director of Equity & Employee Relations