Posted by Terrence Dalton
The Rotary Club of Akron had the pleasure of listening to Ms. Chapman at our Tuesday, August 17th Club meeting.   Ms. Chapman shared with the Club information about the Diversity efforts being implemented throughout the Akron Public School District. 

Click to view the recording of the meeting.
Chapman began her career with Akron Public Schools in 1995. Recently appointed as the district’s Chief Diversity Officer, she works to promote equity and inclusion across the district, staff, and community engagement. Her recent work includes a focus on diversity training and coaching for teachers, school leaders, families, and other professionals.
The Akron Board of Education is committed to preparing each child for success. They believe that every student, parent/guardian and staff member bring their own personal backgrounds and experiences into their schools; and the schools are richer for it. Each of them has a legitimate expectation to  have a barrier-free learning environment counteracting the contemporary and historical impact of bias, prejudice and discrimination which for generations has produced a predictability of learning outcomes based on race, ethnicity, class, socioeconomics, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, diverse language fluency, religion, and cognitive/physical ability.

The Board believes that the responsibility for student success is broadly shared by district staff, families, community and students' own efforts. The APS Board members believe It is the obligation of the district to embrace the diversity within the school district while actively
eliminating practices that perpetuate the disparities among students so that all students have the opportunity to benefit equally.
With this Board member backdrop, the district created the Chief Diversity Officer position that Ms. Chapman occupies.   Ms. Chapman mentioned that diversity is more than just “race” relations.  Diversity has many dimensions.  I refer readers to the slides below that were included in this article and shows the various dimensions of diversity.  All areas included in the diversity chart intersect in some way. 
To ensure a successful learning environment, the APS District is committed to ensuring an equitable opportunity for all students.  To ensure “equity” within the APS environment, the following areas are being addressed in various ways:
  • Business Engagement
  • Fiscal Equity
  • Student-Centered Learning
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Family and Community Engagement
  • School Climate
  • Diverse Staff of Excellent Educators
  • Equitable Student Access
  • Teacher Quality
The APS District believes in student-centered learning and a barrier-free environment.  To accomplish this, the district believes in:
  • Student Voices being listened to
  • Access based on individual needs
  • Access to learning that meets individual student needs (including learning disabilities, illness/physical limitations, cultural and language difficulties
  • Providing the necessary guidance and supports – across all the many unique and different ways people come to the education table.
Ms. Chapman noted that the pandemic has been challenging but there is some good that has come out of the challenges the district encountered.  Without a doubt, Ms. Chapman believes virtual learning will remain as an option for those families who wish to participate in virtual learning long after we return to “normal” face-to-face learning.
To learn more about the APS diversity initiatives, I encourage you to listen to Ms. Chapman’s presentation. Click here to view our meeting or cut and paste the link into your browser