by Dr. Robert McDowell Hastings School District Superintendent Part of the Hastings Public Schools mission is to educate individuals … to thrive in a rapidly changing, culturally diverse, …
by Dr. Robert McDowell
Hastings School District Superintendent
Part of the Hastings Public Schools mission is to educate individuals … to thrive in a rapidly changing, culturally diverse, global society.
Our community and our schools are becoming more diverse: Dakota County is projected to grow from 19% to 28% people of color in the 20 years from 2015 to 2035. Much of that growth is in our young people. While the city of Hastings is approximately 6% people of color, our schools are approximately 15% students of color. With that diversity comes different lived experiences, different cultures, different learning styles and needs.
While much of the past year has focused on our response to the coronavirus pandemic, we have also reinforced our commitment to addressing issues of equity, racism and meeting the needs of all Hastings Public Schools students. Many local and national events in the past year have been a clear reminder that systemic racism is a potent, negative and divisive force that affects all of us, including our students. Our call as a school district is to be anti-racist and equity- focused. While Hastings staff have engaged in various individual and group efforts over time, in the past several months the district has engaged in a more cohesive and systemwide approach to issues of equity and systemic racism.
This work has included the creation of a 23-member Equity Action Planning Team, composed of staff from each of our schools. This team has been meeting bi-weekly since late October to collectively design, deliver, and be champi- ons of anti-racist actions and systems to actively provide a safe and supportive place for our current and future students to learn. In addition to supporting all school district staff in their equity journey, this team is looking at how we deliver education in ways that work for all students. Creating expectations, common understanding and supports for staff is one way the district will help ensure that we are more intentional in our anti- racist work. Our overall goal is to do better and be better.