The impact of the death of George Floyd and other black Americans who died at the hands of police spurred Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) to declare a bold new initiative.
The board of trustees passed a resolution outlining an action plan unanimously at its Aug. 18 meeting.
“This is a strong statement,” Acting Superintendent Daniel Moirao told the board. “We won’t tolerate any racism. We want everyone with equal access across the board.”
One point in the resolution calls for candor in examining the district’s policies and what their effect has been.
The resolution states, “As a district, we must strive to paint an accurate and uncomfortable picture of our nation’s failings. Through unfiltered history, literature, movies and personal experiences, and by all means necessary, we must learn to tell the truth — the whole truth — about racism’s role in our country. We can’t change these problems without clearly acknowledging what they are, and the impact they have had on our communities of color.”
The resolution promises the district will “work proactively to identify class and cultural biases, as well as practices, policies and institutional barriers that negatively influence student learning and perpetuate achievement gaps (between races).”
Further, the district will consult with parents, educators and community groups to identify additional measures of racial inequity by the district. A method will be devised to collect data to show what district programs “are still marked by racial disparities.”
Robbie Kreitz, president of the Dublin Teachers Association (DTA), told the board that she was glad to see passage of the resolution. Kreitz stated that before Dave Marken announced he was leaving the district, she and others asked him to lead a “deeper dive” into the topic of racism.
“We met twice, then COVID hit, so it’s good to bring it ahead,” she said.
Trustee Amy Miller supported the action and said she found value in taking a district trip, paid by grant money, to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
Board President Dan Cherrier said he has been on several of the district’s visits to the museum. After the vote, Cherrier said, “I think it’s the right thing for our community.”
DUSD Names a Gem: Emerald High School
By board consensus, Dublin’s new high school, still in the site preparation stage, earned a name that invokes the spirit of the community’s founding 19th Century Irish farmers — Emerald High School.
Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle for the bright green grass that its year-round precipitation climate yields.
A special committee examined 260 nominations from a survey and two public hearings, and narrowed it to three choices: Emerald, Parks (after longtime military base Camp Parks), and Alamilla Springs (a natural spring that was an oasis for early migrants to the Bay Area).
Now that the name is assigned, people won’t have to use the unwieldy term “Dublin’s second comprehensive high school,” said Moirao. He compared it to naming a new baby, with all the pride implied for the whole Dublin family.
There was sentiment for Parks, too, because Camp Parks has been a part of Dublin’s history. The name could still be used on a middle or elementary school located near Camp Parks.
The board also named the school’s library the Virginia Smith Bennett Library after the city’s first librarian, who started serving in 1965. She later became the city’s first historian.
The school will be one of two Emerald High Schools in the United States; the other is situated in South Carolina.
The 23-acre school site is located south of Central Parkway and north of Dublin Boulevard.
Moirea to Make $336,000
Cherrier read from a contract the district will use to promote Moirea from acting superintendent to interim superintendent.
Moirea’s contract will begin in September and expire in August. He will be paid the same medical benefits as other district administrators.
The district has begun the process of hiring a permanent superintendent. HYA Associates — represented by Jim Negri, a former Pleasanton Unified School District assistant superintendent from 1991 to 2002 — will advise the DUSD on the process.
At the meeting, Negri reported the district has already generated its list of desirable characteristics in a new superintendent. He advised the board to get out into the market by January or February before the big competitive rush starts. The district wants the new superintendent in office in July.