Beyond Diversity: The Foundation of our Equity Work

  • puzzle piece image Since 2009, a major focus of the Lawrence Public Schools’ work to raise the achievement of all students, while closing achievement/opportunity gaps has involved school board members, administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, and community partners participating in Beyond Diversity training. This two-day seminar serves as the foundation of the Pacific Educational Group’s Courageous Conversations about Race programming. Participants describe Beyond Diversity as a powerful, personally transforming experience. The training is designed to equip participants to understand the impact of race on student achievement and the role that racism plays in institutionalized racial disparities.

    Danica Moore, USD 497's equity facilitator and coach, completed PEG-affiliate training in order to assist in facilitating Beyond Diversity training. “This is one of the most adventurous trainings that has required me to go past my comfort zone and really internalize the (Courageous Conversation) protocol. I am honored to have been able to experience this opportunity to become an affiliate,” Moore said. “The greatest benefit I feel personally is I have learned how to facilitate instead of just present. I understand how to rely on the protocol to have productive conversations that allow for those in the discussion to make connections and transformations on their own initiative versus my previous mechanisms that were definitely forceful,” Moore added. “My strongest asset now is realizing I don’t have to create a response to everything and everyone, but instead, I can ask reflective questions to keep others engaged and constantly reflecting on their beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and actions. This is where real change begins.”

    In addition to training all staff, the district has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence and LMH Health to offer Beyond Diversity to both organizations' employees.
    Any district patron interested in learning more about Beyond Diversity may contact the Lawrence Public Schools, 785/832-5000.