LWSD Equity Now: Call To Action

The LWSD is, frankly, doing a terrible job protecting BIPOC teachers and staff, especially those who are creating anti-racist classrooms. The district’s own Equity & Family Engagement page calls for bold, anti-racist teaching, for disrupting the status quo in education, but teachers who do so are being targeted.

You can help by:

  1. Resharing these slides on social media!
  2. Writing the school board and administration before 3 pm Monday to have your letter part of the meeting’s public record!
  3. You can also make a live comment to the school board; just email djenkins@lwsd.org before 1 pm Monday and tell her you want to speak, and she will send you a Zoom link.

Letter-writing template:

Feel free to use this template to help you write the LWSD School Board, as well as school and district administration. HOWEVER, template letters hold less value to the board than personalized ones, so please add your own language and stories whenever possible to personalize your message.

As a LWSD [community member / parent with students at _________ school], I am concerned about the recent events at Eastlake HS and the district’s response. After a district wide e-mail was sent, there has been no follow-up communication or transparency.

The district’s response at all levels to EHS’ Patriot Day failed to include the lived experience of many students and families, particularly Muslim, Sikh, Brown, Black and those perceived as Muslim. Not applying an equity lens to decisions and communication opened the door for threats and attacks to be directed at teachers and students.

Not resolutely defending teachers, not holding accountability of those who have caused harm, nor acknowledging the harm, in hopes it simply goes away, upholds the status quo.

When teachers are afraid, when students cannot process their emotions from the impact, it is impossible for teachers to teach effectively and students to learn.

This affects the whole district when this happens at ANY of our schools. This cannot be siloed; the impact has and is still being felt and we must do more to protect all teachers who are willing to follow the LWSD Equity and Family Engagement Vision and Mission:

  • Commit to the legacy work of racial, gender and ability equity for all and the intersectionality therein.
  • Disrupt the status quo.
  • Be unified in the community of unrelenting abolitionists working to intentionally achieve
    educational and social justice to ensure that all students have freedom to choose their paths in
    the world.
  • Engage in intentional, strengths-based legacy work by pushing boundaries through storytelling
    and abolitionist teaching.
  • Disrupt the system that threatens the educational freedoms of our community.
  • Work to harness and include the power and wisdom of historically marginalized communities.
  • Push boundaries and decolonize my curriculum and mindset.

All students have a right to a truthful education that challenges and expands their thinking and
prepares them to engage authentically and fully in the complex world we inhabit.

I urge the administration to:

  1. Make a districtwide statement on how the Superintendent, Director of Equity & Family Engagement, and Asst Superintendents of School Communities, will strongly stand with and protect all administrators and teachers who commit to this LWSD Equity and Family Engagement Vision and Mission.
  2. Ensure the EHS Leadership team conduct a postmortem and develop a plan forward that allows students and teachers to reflect on Patriot Day through an equity lens. Begin and follow through with a restorative justice approach with those who have caused harm to take accountability and restore trust with teachers and students.
  3. Adopt a decision methodology that supports equitable and inclusive decisions.
  4. Consult and contract with an outside group experienced with approaches of restorative and transformative justice through an equity lens focus.

Thank you,
[your name]

Check out Indivisible Kirkland’s Letter of Support: Protect Teachers:

LWSD Equity Now

LWSD Equity Case Study: Events at Eastlake High School Leading up to 9/11/21

Introduction

The following is an examination of the events leading to the controversy at Eastlake High School around 9/11/21.  These events caused and continue to cause great harm to BIPOC students and staff. This is an example of situations that happen in schools across the district and missed opportunities for district leadership to support building staff and the BIPOC community.  These events illustrate why the district needs a) an equity policy at board level, which it did not have until very recently; b) a bold anti-racist administrative equity policy crafted with the help of BIPOC stakeholders; c) district-level and administrative support for building level equity teams, which involve BIPOC students, families, and staff.  

Continue reading here.

(LWSD Equity Now is a grassroots community group, of which Indivisible Kirkland is a part, that is working on equity issues in the Lake Washington School District. For more information on LWSD Equity Now, contact info@ikwa.info and we will point you in the right direction.)

Candidate forum on Oct 10

This November’s election will include several Kirkland City Council races and several LWSD School Board Director races.  The important decision on whether or not to keep the Houghton Community Council, a decision that has direct implications for equity in Kirkland, will also be on the Nov ballot.

Join Indivisible Kirkland for a Sunday afternoon candidate forum and information session to learn more in advance of filling out your ballot.  Our moderators will be a mix of BIPOC community members & youth, as well as content-area activists.  We will focus on issues of equity, racial justice, climate justice, and will also take questions submitted from audience members.

Register here.  

Click here to see who will be participating in the Candidate Forum.

Please submit potential questions for the candidate forum here. This is local civic engagement at its finest! This forum will focus on racial justice, equity, and climate justice issues, so please keep that in mind as you consider your questions. We will also have lightning rounds of yes/no questions, so feel free to submit some of those, as well. Thank you!

Should Indivisible endorse eliminating the HCC?

map of Houghton

Indivisible Kirkland has been asked to endorse a side in a local proposition! We are being asked to sign on to the No on Prop 1 campaign to eliminate the Houghton Community Council.

Every four years, residents of the Houghton neighborhood vote on whether to continue having the Houghton Community Council. The HCC is the only neighborhood council that has veto power over the Kirkland City Council when it comes to Houghton land use and zoning.

This strange quirk came about as a provision of Houghton’s merger with Kirkland in 1968. Most of the councils with veto power set up back then were disbanded; Houghton’s is one of only two that remain in the entire state.

Proponents of the HCC say that it acts as a useful check on the city, especially when it comes to upzoning and densification. However, Chanin Kelley-Rae (who has been working on an equity gap analysis for the City of Kirkland) and others have identified the HCC as a significant impediment to equity in Kirkland, since it enshrines a system in which some voters have more say than others in decisions that affect us all.

Since the city is incentivized to compromise with the HCC and pass land use policies that the HCC won’t veto, the members of the HCC end up with an outsized voice in Kirkland planning. (The city also has to devote most of one FTE to HCC-related work. [Source.])

Voting YES on Prop 1 will keep the HCC around for another four years. Voting NO on Prop 1 will eliminate the HCC.

The committee opposing Prop 1 comprises several Indivisible Kirkland members who are working against this proposition on the grounds that the HCC is an inherently undemocratic and inequitable institution that should be sunsetted in order for Kirkland to operate more fairly and justly.

Please vote below on whether you Indivisible should endorse ending the HCC.

Coming Soon
Should Indivisible Kirkland endorse this campaign to end the HCC?
Should Indivisible Kirkland endorse this campaign to end the HCC?
Should Indivisible Kirkland endorse this campaign to end the HCC?

Demand equity in LWSD schools!

Urgent Call to Action!

It’s crucial that the LWSD has a robust equity policy in place, and right now THEY DO NOT. An equity policy serves as a guidepost for the district’s equity work and a framework to focus on racial equity at all levels of the district. Learn more and find a link for contacting the school board here.

LWSD does not have an Equity policy. It was supposed to develop one this year & adopt it over the summer. It did not. Email boardmembers@lwsd.org and let them know that our district needs a STRONG equity policy so we can move forward in closing educational gaps in our schools!

Celebrate Eastside Community Activists

Change of Plans Due to Inclement Weather!

We are shifting Celebrating Eastside Community Activists to a drive-up event

Please swing by Edith Moulton Park on Saturday between 2 and 3 pm to grab your Thank You Bag and say a brief hello or wave from your car.

We’ll be waiting under the covered awning at the entrance of the park, ready to hand you a bag (with PINCKNEY’S COOKIES) and send you on your way with all of our love and gratitude.

Indivisible is hosting a party to celebrate community activists on the Eastside! We appreciate the work you do in our community, and want to celebrate and honor your accomplishments!

Please RSVP on this Activist Form to tell us more about you, and how you would like to participate in the event. Thank you!

Details:

  • When: Saturday, September 18, 2-5 pm.
  • Where: Edith Moulton Park (13634 108th Ave NE, Kirkland WA 98034)
  • Hosted by Indivisible Kirkland & Indivisible Eastside as part of Welcoming Week 2021: Belonging Begins With Us.
  • We want to create a space of connection, celebration, and sharing!
  • We will provide light refreshments.
  • If you are interested in sharing your accomplishments or experiences with other activists, there will be an opportunity to speak — or to display info about your organization.
  • Families are welcome! There will be arts & crafts and a playground.
  • Masks will be required in the covered picnic area, optional in other park spaces unless required by local mandates.

a crowd of activists


With activism on the Eastside flourishing over the last few years, we fear that we might miss inviting some folks. Please help us spread the word!

Share these invitations with your fellow activists and organizers!

  1. Shareable link on Canva!
  2. Shareable pdf!
  3. Instagram post!
  4. Facebook post!

Indivisible Kirkland’s response to LWSD’s Proposed Equity Policy

August 9, 2021

Dear LWSD School Board Directors,

Indivisible Kirkland is a progressive community organization with over 600 members. We care deeply about local civic engagement and have been actively engaged in the community since 2017. In the past, we have supported the district by advocating for LWSD levy and bond propositions.

We recognize and believe that the equity issues facing school boards and city councils on the Eastside are tremendously important. We firmly believe that school boards and city councils must take action to change the systems, structures and practices that allow inequity of outcomes to continue.

We would like to commend you on your efforts to create a Lake Washington School District School Board Equity Policy. The equity statement serves as a guidepost for the district’s equity work and a framework to focus on racial equity at all levels of the district. Embracing a clear and direct equity statement will help lead the way to a strong, anti-racist equity policy in the LWSD. We will fully support a strong, anti-racist policy.

As you know, the need for an equity policy becomes clear when looking at the racial gaps that exist in education in Washington (WA State School Directors’ Association):

  • Black students make up 4.4% of students in WA’s public schools, but Black teachers make up only 1.5% of WA’s teachers;
  • Black students who have one Black teacher by third grade are 13% more likely to enroll in college, and those who have two Black teachers by third grade are 32% more likely to enroll in college;
  • Though Black students make up 4.4% of WA’s public school student body, they are 8.3% of the students excluded from class for disciplinary reasons, creating a racial discipline gap;
  • Indigenous students make up 1.3% of WA school students, but are 7.7% of students excluded from class.

And, most importantly, LWSD youth have told stories of the racism that they have experienced in their lives as students. These stories are “proof” enough of the work that needs to be done. It is also important to listen to the voices of district stakeholders, Black families, Indigenous families and families of color. As an educational community, we must honor all of these voices and strive to create an anti-racist educational system. An equity policy is the first step in that process.

But not all equity policies are created equal. An equity policy must be strong and specifically indicate that it is in place to create an anti-racist educational environment. Some components of an anti-racist educational system include:

  • Hiring racially, ethnically, and gender diverse staff;
  • Allocating resources in a way that creates equity;
  • Actively pursuing anti-racist curriculum;
  • Engaging students and families in the learning and educational environment in a meaningful way;
  • Academic and participation outcomes, not intentions, are the measures of success
  • All staff, including administration and board directors, will receive ongoing anti-racism/anti-bias training;
  • All volunteers in positions of authority, such as PTA members, club organizers, etc., also have the opportunity to receive anti-racism/anti-bias training;
  • The racial gap in discipline tactics, including the policing of schools, is addressed, allowing all students to thrive as children.

The Lake Washington School District is a premier school district and should be a leader in creating a new kind of educational system that acknowledges that “educational equity can only exist when a student’s level of opportunity and achievement cannot be predicted based on race, characteristics, or circumstances” (WSSDA) and that creating this equity is truly the guiding light of education.

Sincerely,

Indivisible Kirkland