JAMS PTSA approves new equity resolution

This resolution was adopted by JAMS PTSA at the regular general membership meeting held on January 27, 2020.

Jane Addams Middle School PTSA Resolution 1

A RESOLUTION of the Jane Addams Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association (JAMS PTSA) to declare the explicit prioritization of equity in its service to ALL families of JAMS; and to declare the operationalization of said prioritization through coordinated support and leadership of JAMS PTSA members in the advancement of equitable access, membership, programming, collaboration, training, leadership, and governance of time, space and other resources within our school community and beyond;

WHEREAS, equity is defined in this educational context as the opportunity, support and inspiration afforded each child in realizing his/her/their gifts and afforded his/her/their family’s contribution to that realization; 

WHEREAS, JAMS’s mission is that it strives to be a community-centered, collaborative team, actively engaging students, families, and staff in a middle school experience dedicated to academic, social, and emotional growth for all; 

WHEREAS, JAMS PTSA’s vision is to cultivate a safe and inclusive middle school where every student is challenged, supported, and well-prepared for high school and the future.

WHEREAS JAMS PTSA is a voice for every child and advocates for the well-being and education of all children; 

WHEREAS, JAMS PTSA’s purpose is to make the potential of each of its nearly 1,000 children a reality by engaging and empowering our families and community to advocate for all children; 

WHEREAS, the student population of JAMS consists of 47 percent students of color representing dozens of distinct cultural groups and languages including Arabic, Chinese, and several East African languages; 

WHEREAS, 27 percent of the population of JAMS is on free or reduced lunch; 

WHEREAS, 20 percent of the population of JAMS do not speak English as a first language; 

WHEREAS, in 2018-2019, only 50 percent of English Language Learner students met or exceeded state projected growth on the English Language Arts Smarter Balanced Assessments;

WHEREAS, The JAMS 2018-2019 Continuous School Improvement Plan reported the Student Climate Survey indicated:

·     52 percent of Black/African American Students believed that teachers took the time to know them;

·     37 percent of African American/Black and 49 percent of Latinx students believed that people at their school cared if they were not there; 

·        52 percent of Black/African American and 54 percent of Latinx students believed that they were treated with as much respect as other students;

WHEREAS, JAMS 2019-2020 Continuous School Improvement Plan school culture goals are to:

·   Increase from 71 percent to 100 percent of African-American and Latinx students having fewer than five absences for the first semester and;

·   increase from 66 percent to 100 percent of Black/African-American and Latinx students passing core courses with a C or above.

WHEREAS, the Seattle School Board affirmed via Resolution No. 2016/17-12 in accordance with District policy and procedure as well as Superintendent Nyland’s February 2017 letter to families, that Seattle School District staff will not ask for, nor record, student or family immigration status; and reaffirms our commitment to a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for every student without regard to their race, religion, national origin, or immigration status; 

WHEREAS, Seattle Public Schools has acknowledged the real and statistically significant gaps in opportunity for the aforementioned student majority and responded to said disparity via Policy 0030 Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity to: eliminate the racial predictability and disproportionality in all aspects of education and its administration including commitments to Equitable Access, Racial Equity, Workforce Equity, Professional Development, Welcoming School Environments, Partnerships, Multiple Pathways to Success and Recognizing Diversity; 

WHEREAS, the Seattle Public Schools Strategic Plan (“Seattle Excellence”) priority area of “High Quality Instruction and Learning Experiences” includes goals of ensuring students of color who are furthest from educational justice will feel safe and welcome in school and be proficient in mathematics in 7th grade and the priority area of “Inclusive and Authentic Engagement” includes goals for students of color who are furthest from educational justice and their families and communities having meaningful voice and leadership in school and district initiatives;

WHEREAS, the National PTA has specific Policy on Diversity and Inclusion which states: the National Congress of Mothers, irrespective of creed, color or condition, stands for all parenthood, childhood, homehood; the recognition of diversity within organizations is valuing differences and similarities in people through actions and accountability; and PTAs at every level must: 

• Openly assess beliefs and practices to assure inclusiveness and guard against discrimination; 

• Make every effort to create a PTA board and membership that is inclusive and reflective of its community; 

• Encourage that all PTA activities at the school be planned by a committee which is representative of the population; 

• Foster programs and practices that eliminate bias, prejudice and misunderstanding within their communities; 

• Become acquainted with the leaders of the many diverse groups in the community and collaborate with them to increase parent, family and community involvement; 

• Educate its leaders and members to the needs, cultural beliefs, traditions and family structures of the population they serve; and 

• Propose change wherever discriminatory practices are perceived. WHEREAS, National PTA provides specific self-audit and toolkit supports to enhance the diversity and inclusion policy; 

WHEREAS the Seattle Education Association (SEA) defines equity in education as the means to achieve justice in educational practices, policies, curricula, and resources; and demands taking action to reverse historical and social disadvantages that prevent learners from accessing and benefiting from education on equal grounds; 

WHEREAS, the SEA has resolved through its Center for Race and Equity: to empower educators, both individually and collectively to dismantle racial injustice in the SEA, our schools, our community, and our profession. 

WHEREAS, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction includes as a top priority the closure of opportunity gaps that exist for our students who are of color, low-income, and from other populations who have faced systemic barriers to their success; and  

WHEREAS, public schools are the foundation of our democracy and we acknowledge that inequities and segregation exist in our school district and city, and that we must critically examine the role that we in PTA/PTSAs have in upholding or dismantling inequities in our system, and work intentionally in a united effort of community and school for equitable opportunities and outcomes; 

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the JAMS PTSA board and membership declares the aspiration of equity to be core to its values, purpose and action; and therefore, be it further RESOLVED, that the JAMS PTSA commits to, demands and holds itself and its members accountable for the centralization of equity work to all of its endeavors, partnerships and collaborations. 

ADOPTED by JAMS PTSA at a regular general membership meeting, held January 27, 2020.