JONESBORO, Ark- Jonesboro Public School’s officials and community members met to discuss the purpose and future of a new diversity task force.
While it is the early stages, they hope to bring more diversity and inclusion into the district.
“Number one we needed to address recruitment and retention for faculty and staff,” says Superintendent Dr. Kim Wilbanks. “Number two we, needed to look at awareness, just general awareness of diversity among all the many groups that our district represents. Number three, we needed to examine our curriculum; and make sure diversity was embedded in our curriculum.”
Dr. Wilbanks says after meeting with individuals it was clear those were three topics the committee needs to discuss.
She says they hope to incorporate diversity into their yearlong curriculum, not just studying one’s culture for a month.
“We didn’t celebrate February as Black History Month, but that black history was embedded, throughout the curriculum for instance.”
The task force is in its early stages with more work to be done before their plan to select members within the next 30 days.
Once it’s established, they plan to have tough conversations with students and staff about race and diversity.
Dr. Wilbanks says the Jonesboro Public Schools are a melting pot filled with many backgrounds and they hope to honor and showcase that.
“We have a growing number of Hispanic students who are in our district and, we don’t want to neglect any of the many cultures we have,” said Dr. Wilbanks. “Because we are a very diverse school district with students from a lot of different ethnic backgrounds, and we want to celebrate that culture and each of those different things that brings to the district.”
While they are in the early stages of creating the task force, Dr. Wilbanks says they hope to meet regularly by the beginning of 2021.