Diversity & Equity Conference Big SuccessPosted by Mike Swize, Ed.D. on 11/1/2022 3:00:00 PM
The Palm Springs Unified School District hosted our Diversity and Racial Equity Conference last week, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work of our organizers, the material shared by our presenters and the rich and important panel discussion among valley leaders. Feedback from the more than 400 attendees was overwhelmingly positive, and we look forward to building upon what we have shared and learned as we continue this crucial work to ensure that each and every one of our students is provided with an equitable, socially just and anti-racist education.
Our conference at the Palm Springs Convention Center began with a presentation by the Agua Caliente Painktem Bird Singers followed by the keynote address from Dr. Nicole Anderson, who is leading the work with PSUSD leadership teams this school year focused on activism, creating safe spaces, removing barriers and education on equity, diversity and inclusion. Dr. Crawford’s presentation was titled “Reimagining Student Success with an Equity Lens,” and attendees learned how to define educational equity and theo components of equity impact action planning.
Participants then attended their choice of two break out sessions that focused on exclusionary “isms” including racism, sexism, colorism, tokenism and heterosexism. We gathered back together for a hosted lunch and entertainment from several high school groups including the Palm Springs High Jazz Band, Cathedral City High Ballet Folklorico and Rancho Mirage High choir.
Following lunch, I was honored to be a part of a panel discussion that included educators and elected officials who engaged in rich and reflective conversations focused on how we can work together toward our common goals. Thank you so much to Dr. Nicole Anderson; Riverside County Office of Education Leadership, Innovation and Outreach Director Dr. Keyisha Holmes; Coachella Valley Unified Supt. Dr. Luis Valentino, Cathedral City Mayor Pro Tem Rita Lamb, Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas; Rancho Mirage Mayor Charles Townsend; and Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner. Their insights and perspectives around advocating for diversity and racial equity, ensuring that all viewpoints are represented in the workplace and equity initiatives were informative and a great kick off to next steps in our collective efforts to foster a climate of equity and inclusion for our students and the community as a whole.
This work is not always easy, as we delve into areas that often make us uncomfortable. Nonetheless, this work continues to be top priority for our staff and should be one for all of our community as we move forward to ensure that each and every one of our students has what he or she needs when he or she needs it and that all PSUSD students know that each of them is a valued member of our district family. Thank you for your continued support of our work and our students.
A big thank you to our Coordinator of Diversity and Racial Equity Dr. Nicole Crawford and our Diversity and Racial Equity Specialists Jarvis Williams and Laura Medina for their commitment and hard work in putting together an amazing event that we hope will become a PSUSD tradition that continues to grow and shine a light on the importance of our collective commitment moving forward.
See you next month,
Mike Swize, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools