Dallas ISD hosts webinar to discuss race and education inequality

Dallas ISD held the first of several web-based seminars to discuss race relations in the district. It wants to help teachers come up with lesson plans for all of its students.

The people involved in it feel it’s more critical than ever to not just have these conversations, but develop action plans and measure how they are working to enhance cultural intelligence in Dallas schools.

The district is working with the Cultural Intelligence Center, a training and consulting company, to help teachers and staff to recognize and reduce discrimination and bias against minority students.

Nearly 80 percent of Dallas ISD students are Black or Hispanic, according to the district.

“Teachers need the skills to understand the cultural differences and to be able to adapt their teaching style to those differences and needs,” said Dr. Sandra Upton with Cultural Intelligence Center.

The webinar held Monday night is the first of three.

“These disparities didn't happen overnight,” said Dr. Pamela Lear, Dallas ISD Chief of Staff and Racial Equity.

“We will be measuring and monitoring progress along the way every six weeks,” said Dr. Jolee Healey, Dallas ISD Chief of School Leadership.

They discussed the importance of showing images of black boys and girls succeeding and having representation in school leadership.

“To be a young African American boy or girl and to see that path to success, that is monumental,” said Dr. Cynthia Wilson, Dallas ISD Chief of Human Capital Management. “We did not have a high percentage of African American males teaching at the elementary level, so we really need those males in our elementary schools.”

In June, the Dallas ISD school board passed a Black Lives Matter resolution.

Dallas ISD has been working with the Cultural Intelligence Center for two years, but those involved feel the need for this work is ramping up.

“There is a sense of urgency as it relates to addressing the inequities that have been placed upon our students of color,” Dr. Upton said.

There are not yet dates for the next webinars, but the next sessions encourage input and ideas from community members.