An update on the Indian River School District equity survey

Bay to bay news

In response to consent order, Indian River School District conducting equity survey

By Glenn Rolfe

SELBYVILLE — The Indian River School District is canvassing stakeholders through a survey focused on diversity and geared to improve its policies.

Indian River School District Equity Survey
Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe
Indian River School District through May 16 is surveying stakeholder groups with an equity survey, data that will be used to enhance policies, practices and initiatives.

Being conducted online through May 16, the survey is a requirement for the district following a Nov. 6, 2019, consent order agreement in Coalition for Education Reform, et. al. v. Indian River School District.

The case centered around IRSD’s George Washington Carver Academy in Frankford. It alleged that the district operated the academy as a segregated “dumping ground” for African American males ages 3 to 18 since the 1990s.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware approved the settlement agreement, which also mandated that the school close in 2020.

In announcing the survey in late April, IRSD stated it is “committed to ensuring that the school district and its school campuses have an inclusive, engaging and supportive environment.”

Surveys can be completed here. The five questionnaires target the following groups: elementary students (grades 4-5), secondary students (grades 6-12), parents, district staff and IRSD community members.

Dr. Judi Brittingham, the district’s director of special education, outlined the survey’s status and intent at the April 25 board of education meeting.

“The purpose, from the district’s perspective, for gathering this data, is to help us understand how future decisions on policies, curriculum and daily student life in our schools can be improved,” she said. “Our hope is that it gives us an actionable data, so that we can continue to make improvements, as we do every year when we look at our strategic plan and make updates for students.”

Part of a yearlong process, IRSD’s Community Advisory Board and the Equity Steering Committee, along with consultant Gwendolyn Miller, developed a draft of the surveys, Dr. Brittingham said.