Superintendent’s Update on Equity Statement
LCPS Community Input to Help Develop Division-wide Equity Statement - April 19, 2022
LCPS is developing a new division-wide equity statement and is seeking community input. The updated statement will be formulated to convey the LCPS community’s collective commitment to ensuring a safe, supportive, welcoming, and inclusive environment for students and staff.
Input is being gathered from various groups during the months of April and May 2022. Stakeholder groups providing input include Student Equity Ambassadors and other student advisory groups, the Equity Committee, LCPS Principals, the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee and the Special Education Advisory Committee, in addition to staff input.
Parents and other community stakeholders will also have an opportunity to provide comments and feedback on the draft equity statement. More information on how community members can participate in this opportunity for community voice in the development of the equity statement will be announced in Mid to late May.
Scott A. Ziegler, Ed.D.
Community Input Sought in Revision of Equity Statement - March 7, 2022
Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler is seeking community input in the revision of the school division’s Equity Statement. Ziegler explained this decision at the March 3 meeting of the Equity Committee. Ziegler told the committee, “The Equity Statement has been removed from the LCPS website. It is not going away…When I was appointed permanently to this position, that statement was labeled as the ‘Superintendent’s Statement on Equity.’ That's how it was publicized. We can't really call it that anymore, because I didn't write it. I wasn't here during the development of that statement.” The previous 2019 Equity Statement from former Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams was recently removed from the LCPS website.
Ziegler envisions a statement on diversity, equity, inclusion and opportunity that is crafted with inputs from Loudoun students, staff and community members. “Working with my Cabinet, I decided this should be a community statement on equity.” Ziegler believes that the important work of rewriting and reissuing of the equity statement should correspond with the release of the School Board's Strategic Plan.
“During the coming months we're going to come to you and many other stakeholder groups and ask for your voice in the Equity Statement. We're seeking the input of our student, teacher and principal advisory groups, among others, so that we get a wide spectrum of voices in developing this statement. A community statement is something that we, as a community, can get behind. This statement will reflect our values as the LCPS community.”
The last LCPS Strategic Plan, “Vision 2020,” was adopted by a former School Board on June 23, 2015. A timeline for revising the strategic actions for “Vision 2020,” was presented to a subsequent School Board on April 9, 2019.
The current School Board is developing a new strategic plan with a targeted approval date of June 2022. The goals of the School Board’s Strategic Plan are:
- Building a shared set of core beliefs.
- Establishing clear, common goals.
- Prioritizing and aligning the work of LCPS.
- Holding the School Board and LCPS staff accountable to LCPS students.
- Reflecting the will of the LCPS community and communicating a shared vision.
Office of the Superintendent Update on Equity Work - March 19, 2021
In recent days, media reports and social media posts have sought to distort the equity work by Loudoun County Public Schools. Misconceptions and misinformation persist. I want to take a moment to clarify LCPS’ efforts to ensure every student, employee and member of the community is treated in an equitable, respectful manner.
In explaining LCPS' equity priorities, it might be helpful to state what they are not. They are not an effort to indoctrinate students and staff into a particular philosophy or theory. What they are is an effort to provide a welcoming, inclusive, affirming environment for all students.
LCPS’ equity plan is outlined on the Equity webpage on the LCPS website.
LCPS is not alone in this work. The Virginia Department of Education and school divisions across the Commonwealth and America are engaged in similar efforts.
To start the process to improve its learning environment, LCPS hired The Equity Collaborative in 2019 to perform a Systemic Equity Assessment. This assessment asked students, parents and educators about their experiences with LCPS based on social and cultural factors and their race. The assessment, submitted to the school division in June 2019, identified five barriers that could prevent students from attaining the world-class education LCPS strives to provide. These barriers included race, poverty, learning disabilities, academic expectations and discipline practices. Of these five factors, the assessment identified race as the most prevalent problem.
Areas where LCPS was found to need improvement included accountability, hiring practices and professional development.
The Equity Collaborative recommended professional development for staff in the area of recognizing the social and cultural differences in our diverse student body. Professional development was undertaken using both nationally recognized consultants and LCPS staff trained to facilitate such work. The goal of this work was to raise the racial consciousness and equity literacy of LCPS’ staff.
The professional development offered to LCPS employees explores issues that have traditionally been ignored in professional development. It asks employees to examine their own personal biases and how they might affect student instruction and interactions with the community. Concepts such as white supremacy and systemic racism are discussed during professional development. LCPS has not adopted Critical Race Theory as a framework for staff to adhere to. Social media rumors that staff members have been disciplined or fired for not adhering to the tenets of Critical Race Theory or for refusing to teach this theory are not true.
It should be noted that students do not receive equity training. LCPS has not adopted a uniform equity curriculum, but does have a Culturally Responsive Framework. This framework speaks to providing a welcoming, affirming environment and developing cultural competence through culturally responsive instruction, deeper learning, equitable classroom practices and social-emotional needs for a focus on the whole child. Individual schools incorporate these best practices to meet the needs of their school community. This framework is in-line with emerging guidance from the Commonwealth of Virginia and Virginia Department of Education.
LCPS’ work on equity is a journey that requires the commitment of staff at all levels. I feel the staffs’ work, which has been sustained, honest and undertaken in good faith, has been misrepresented recently by some members of the public.
It has come to my attention that individuals, including some identifying themselves as LCPS employees, have made statements across social media about parents and their thoughts about the school division’s equity work. LCPS recognizes the right of its employees to free speech, but does not condone anyone targeting members of the community for their viewpoint.
LCPS remains committed to its equity work. At the outset, we knew this work would create many hard, but necessary, conversations. I ask only that these conversations be based in fact. In the near future, LCPS will be sharing more communications about our equity work so that our community has a deeper understanding of the journey we are on to provide the best education for all of our students.