• by Bradley Scott, M.A. • IDRA Newsletter • January 1999
We are quickly approaching the 21st century, and there are so many things we are striving for in public schools to prepare students to meet the challenges of a new millennium. We are transforming schools, working to create equity and excellence, striving for all students to reach high academic outcomes, and collaborating with parents and community people in new and important ways to re-create schools to work better for all learners regardless of their race, sex, national origin and economic status. The challenges are large, but we can meet them if we work together to support each others’ success.
The IDRA Desegregation Assistance Center – South Central Collaborative for Equity is now called the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity. This change of name reflects the changing focus of the center’s work in support of local education agencies that are committed to making schools work for all learners. The focus will no longer simply be directed toward school districts that are trying to reduce minority isolation through desegregation of schools and programs. The focus now becomes broader to include the goals of desegregation and educational equity.
The center will continue to assist schools in reducing minority isolation, improving interracial relations and contact, and improving achievement for minority students. But it is expanding to embrace the creation of reformed schools that move all learners to high standards of academic excellence regardless of race, sex, national origin and economic status, and the preparation of all learners to operate competently in a diverse, multilingual, technologically complex society.
This new focus means that districts with a diverse student population do not have to be involved in a desegregation effort (voluntary or imposed) in order to receive technical assistance and training from the IDRA center that is absolutely free to them. The eligibility criterion is that the district is working to reform schools to work for all learners to achieve high academic standards regardless of their race, sex, national origin and economic status.
School districts can receive two to three days of free technical assistance and training from the South Central Collaborative for Equity by completing the form below and returning it to the address provided. The types of assistance and training include staff development, materials development, strategic planning, classroom demonstrations, observations and collaboration, focus group and development team assistance, and other forms of assistance that you may specify to meet your local needs and concerns. IDRA staff can deliver this assistance and training to teachers, administrators, non-certified personnel, parents, students, school board members and members of the community.
It is important that we work together to give every student an equitable opportunity to achieve. The center is eager to support you in that effort. It is up to you to request the support. Together, we can make a difference for students in schools.
Bradley Scott is a senior education associate in the IDRA Division of Professional Development, where he directs the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity. Comments and questions may be directed to him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[©1999, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the January 1999 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]