Friday, September 12, 2008

USD259 names Kim Burkhalter as the new of Director of Equity and Accountability

related posts:
Branch recommendations for maintaining diversity and equity
USD259 approves funding for Director of Equity and Accountability
The 4-Point plan to eliminate the Academic Achievement Gap

USD259 has named Kim Burkhalter as the new Director of Equity and Accountability. This position was created to ensure that as the district ended its busing for desegregation program and as we move towards a new vision and methods of determining student assignments, that we would not fall back into the same segregated and unequal system that busing was intended to remedy.

Kim Burkhalter is a long-time employee of the District and comes to the position from having administered 259's Cultural Proficiency program. I spoke with Kim this afternoon and asked her to share her thoughts on what her first steps might be in the new position. She indicated that perhaps the first step would be to ensure that all parties shared common definitions of "Equity" and "Accountability". "I think the first step would be sitting down with District Administration and the Board and getting a handle or focus on Equity and Accountability... When we say 'equity', when we say 'accountability', what does that mean?", Kim said. She went on to say that the district would look to ensure that the appropriate resources were available for all students, so that all students would be successful.

Now we realize that this position is only one small part of the solution, but we are greatly encouraged to see tangible evidence that we are actively working towards that solution. We can not and will not allow our district to go backwards into the same types of inequities and disparities that characterized our past. And we know that for our district to avoid such a fate requires that we remain proactive and bold in our approach to change. Many districts around the country are already experiencing various levels of decline and dysfunction after having dismantled their desegregation programs. If we are to be different, as we seek to be, then we must be visionary and progressive, and we can see positive signs that we are attempting to do just that.

It is no secret that our relationship with the district has been thorny at times over the last several years. But as the District transitions to new leadership, we look forward to the possibility of once again establishing a positive working relationship, wherein the community and district can work in concert to provide the best outcomes for our children.

We would again like to thank the Board for listening and being responsive to the needs of the community and for taking action. Kim Burkhalter is an excellent choice to head this position and we offer her our unconditional support. We have always had a good relationship with Kim; she has been a good friend of the branch and is a highly skilled and competent administrator, and we look forward to working closely with her in the days and months ahead.

We as the Wichita Branch remain actively and fiercely committed to three principles with regard to education within the district.

  • All schools should be staffed with highly qualified and experienced teachers
  • All students should be met with high expectations and academically rigorous curricula
  • All buildings should present a positive and diverse learning experience
And we are happy to once again work with the district in partnership to ensure that these goals are met...

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