Jun 9, 2020

Racial Equity Statement from PLSD Leadership Team

Racial Equity image

Dear Pickerington community,

On behalf of Pickerington Schools’ administration, staff, and board of education, we are writing you today to talk about racial equity. In solidarity with African American families, educators and community members, we are committed to promoting justice by listening, learning, growing and improving our educational practices to create an environment in which every child knows they have the same opportunity to flourish unhindered by prejudice or bias.

As leaders of the Pickerington Local Schools, we are responsible for ensuring that all of our students and staff feel safe, listened to and valued. As a district, we are committed to promoting a culture of inclusiveness for our nearly 11,000 students. We will continue to work to cultivate a genuinely collaborative and caring approach to engaging our students, staff, and community members in the following ways:

  1. Offering curated resources about race and racial justice for educators to share with their families. It is our hope that these resources will not only provide useful guidance to parents but also give them the confidence to initiate these important conversations with their children.
  2. Continuing to provide ongoing professional development to our staff to ensure they are proactive and prepared to respond appropriately if they hear hateful language.
  3. Regularly surveying students to gauge how they feel about race, diversity and equity in our schools and seek their input on how to improve the climate in each PLSD building.
  4. Create periodic open public forums in which all individuals are encouraged to freely discuss cultural, racial, and ethnicity issues that can provide insight and improve our ability to work together as a community.

While we have been actively involved in advancing diversity and equity issues, we know we are not perfect. We are thankful for the guidance provided by our Diversity Committee, which has helped to propel our district forward since its inception. As we take action in our schools, we ask that you please support our efforts to provide ongoing meaningful dialogue and grow together. We will not give up during challenging times, and will continually strive to be better.

The board of education is undertaking the task of establishing a Citizen’s Advisory Committee. It is our goal to have the committee identified and approved over the summer. This committee will follow the guidelines of policy 9140 “Citizen’s Advisory Committee” in its structure and function. We believe it can be a valuable addition to guide us, and have potential ongoing and lasting benefits to our district.  One task that the committee may be assigned is to perform a review of all of our programs, policies and curriculum to assess how we can improve ourselves, our district and our services to better support parents and children of all races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds.  For more information on the committee and other district diversity initiatives, please visit our “Diversity and Equity in Pickerington Schools” webpage.

This is the moment for everyone to be an ally — the moment for us all to be thoughtful, critical thinkers and problem solvers. Pickerington community, we hear you and value you. We are Pickerington and we are so very #PLSDProud of every single student, individual and family in our community.

Proud to serve as your leadership team,

Dr. Chris Briggs, Superintendent
Ryan Jenkins, Treasurer
Lori Sanders, Board President
Clay Lopez, Board Vice President
Vanessa Niekamp, Board Member
Keith Kristoff, Board Member
Cathy Olshefski, Board Member