Alongside our school district partners, District Management Group is working to break down the walls of systemic institutional racism to make our schools a more equitable place.
Having worked with so many school and district leaders over the years, I know how acutely aware you have long been of the inequity and racism that exist in our society and in our schools, and how deeply engaged you have long been in the work to tackle inequity and racism in your school buildings. Even so, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have been shocking to us all in their brutality and cruelty, and are horrifying reminders of the systemic, institutional racism so deeply ingrained in our society.
As I have spoken with many superintendents and educators over the past few weeks and as we at District Management Group have been having discussions amongst ourselves, I have come away wanting to redouble our efforts and further strengthen our commitment to effecting change. DMGroup was founded in 2004 with a mission to bring about lasting, sustainable improvements in public education so that every student can thrive. My personal experiences as an immigrant to this country cemented my belief in the power of education to change life trajectories and has fueled my passion to improve — for every child — access to a strong education so that they can fulfill their potential regardless of race and background. As we reflect on the recent horrific events, it is clear that many things need to change in our society — reforms in policing, in our criminal justice system, in our laws, etc. I continue to believe that focusing on education to create equity of opportunity for quality education for our nation’s youth is a key driver to transforming the future.
I, along with the team at District Management Group, unequivocally commit to working as an anti-racist organization, supporting Black Lives Matter, and supporting equity of opportunity for all. We commit to making sure this belief shines through in our work:
- We will redouble our commitment to continue to create a more inclusive environment within our own organization.
Our team recently finished a one-year-long effort to revamp our equity statement, giving us a firm foundation for continuing our individual reflections and firm-wide conversations, and for reviewing our course of action for how we can continue to learn and grow as an organization to be part of the positive impact we need in our nation. From this has emerged a commitment to further train our staff so that we can better engage in essential race-related discussions among ourselves and with our clients. Also, we will seek to enhance and strengthen the ways we recruit and retain diverse candidates to join our team. We know diversity of perspectives and experiences makes us stronger.
- We will take a fresh look at the way we work with and serve our school district clients.
Each year, we complete nearly 100 projects affecting hundreds of thousands of students, and we are committed to reviewing our recommendations with an equity-focused lens to ensure that the work we do with school districts not only reduces racism but is proactively anti-racist. We deeply value the relationship we have with districts around the country; we aspire to be a trusted advisor to our district partners, and it is in this context that we vow to work hand-in-hand with all of you to bring about positive change. We don’t have all the answers on what it means to “bring an equity-focused lens” to all that we do, but we are committed to working on this actively and to continuing to build out our own understanding.
I, along with all of our team at District Management Group, will continue to partner with school and district leaders across the nation to break down the walls of oppression and systemic institutional racism to make our schools and communities a more equitable and just place. George Floyd's six-year-old daughter said her “daddy changed the world." Let's not let her down, and let’s work together to help make the much-needed changes a reality.