Office of DIEB Monthly Newsletter

Centering Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging

Welcome to our September 2021 Newsletter

Find out what DIEB has been up to!

Members of the Washington Township Public Schools Community,


It is an exciting time here at Washington Township Public Schools! The new Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging (DIEB) is the first of its kind in Gloucester County. I am both humbled and thrilled to be joining you as the new Director for the Washington Township Public Schools. With this transition, I am eager to step into a community that has taken courageous steps to envision a strategy for diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging in its schools. I am grateful for a rigorous interview experience that allowed me to hear from your leadership teams as I began my learning about WTPS. I look forward to dedicating time to ongoing learning about the community and collaborating with constituents to co-create, operationalize, and build a coherent strategic plan for DIEB that will ensure the flourishing of the WTPS community.


The following is an entry plan of activities that will allow me to structure my time in the first several months in the role. This plan includes a significant amount of time devoted to “listening and learning,” as I conduct individual and group interviews with students, staff, families, School Committee members, Town officials and other members of the WTPS community. In each of these settings, I will be gathering information about the community itself, what’s working well in our schools as they relate DIEB, what needs attention, and thoughts about our direction for the future. It is my goal to approach my entry as the Director of DIEB within a two-fold process: First, a critical understanding of the district’s perspective and insight is needed for problem solving and a plan of action put in place. Second, prioritizing open channels of communication will afford my leadership efforts the opportunity to move forward.


By design, our collaborative efforts will be an evolving document. Once introduced late January, early February, it is my expectation that this will provide a clear path of a sense of belonging for all constituents of the WTPS community. If you have any feedback as we embark upon the “listening and learning” tour please, contact me at Jalexander1@wtps.org. I welcome your thoughts!



Warmly,


Dr. J. Alexander

Director of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging

WTPS Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging Entry Plan

Overall Goals:

  • Learning the context, the Washington Township Public Schools

District history

  • 1:1 and group interviews of community members
  • Identify areas of strength and accomplishment around DIEB

Threats to DIEB

Opportunities for improvement around DIEB
  • Defining success in the future
Classroom Outcomes
Human Resources Outcomes
Establishing relationships and lines of communication
Building trust and creating transparency


Phase I: Entry (July - December 2021)

Upon starting in WTPS, I have been spending a great deal of time conducting individual and group interviews to gather information about the community and schools as they related to DIEB, as well as establishing ongoing lines of communication. I have also developed a series of guiding protocol questions when checking in with WTPS constituents.


Key activities:


  • Hit the ground “learning”

  • Begin individual and group “listening and learning” meetings:

WTPS Board of Education Members

Central Office administrators inclusive of supervisors
Principals

WTPS Teachers Association President


  • Parent group representatives. E.g., WTPS Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG)

  • PTO Presidents on the Central Council

  • Washington Township Government officials

Mayor
Township Council
Police Chief
The Family & Community Services Committee
  • Parents of Performing Arts Representatives

  • Parents of Visual Arts Representatives

  • Student Groups

  • Educators - K-12 Faculty and Staff

  • Faculty-led DIEB centered-organizations

  • Education partners

  • Colleges and universities - DE&I Colleagues

  • Rowan College of South Jersey

  • Review of key documents

WTPS Equity Report 2017-2019
Equity Council Reports 2019-2021

NJ School Performance Report and other Accountability Data

HR Recruitment, Hiring Data
WTPS District Strategic Plan
Professional Development Plan/Calendar



Phase II: Synthesizing and Reporting (January – February 2022)

The information gathered during my entry period will allow me to set an agenda that is well informed by the school community. I plan to synthesize my findings in a report that I will present to the Superintendent in late January, early February outlining the major themes that emerged from my many “listen and learn” sessions as well school visits and other community interactions.



  • Release digital strategic plan to the WTPS community

The Office of DIEB

WTPS is a public school district with realities that are composed of various experiences, motivations, and identities that should be celebrated daily. The Office of DIEB will assist with identifying interconnecting opportunities that support the WTPS community and promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging by developing and sustaining meaningful and collaborative relationships. These collaborations will result in creating a more diverse and inclusive community and centering the voices of our community to drive District-wide, culturally sustaining initiatives and equitable opportunities.