Barrington school district to hire director of equity, race and cultural diversity

  • Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials have created a new position to lead equity, race and cultural diversity initiatives.

    Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials have created a new position to lead equity, race and cultural diversity initiatives. Daily Herald File Photo, 2019

  • Barrington Area Unit District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris says the school system remains committed to helping build a strong sense of empathy within students and an ability for them to embrace differences.

    Barrington Area Unit District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris says the school system remains committed to helping build a strong sense of empathy within students and an ability for them to embrace differences. Photo by Peter Wynn Thompson

 
 
Updated 6/26/2020 7:48 PM

Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials have created a new staff position to lead equity, race and cultural diversity initiatives.

The district plans to have the administrator hired in time for the 2020-21 school year. Applications are being accepted for the job, which officials say was made possible through a restructuring of administrative positions and will not increase the size of the staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

School board President Penny Kazmier said the board last year agreed on a goal of promoting greater cultural sensitivity in the schools, which led to creation of the new position.

"We identified this as something we needed before the last couple months, let's put it that way," Kazmier said.

As part of the official job description, the duties of the director of equity, race and cultural diversity initiatives will include promoting an inclusive school climate and fostering healthy youth development.

In addition, the administrator will lead the development, coordination, facilitation and delivery of diversity-related programs, services and support for students and employees across District 220.

Another essential job function will be to lead a focus on social justice initiatives and cultural awareness.

Superintendent Brian Harris said District 220 remains committed to building a strong sense of empathy within students and an ability for them to embrace differences.

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"We need this position to lead those efforts," Harris said. "I want the Barrington community to know that we expect our students and staff to promote compassion and respect to all people regardless of race, creed, gender or orientation."

About 19% of the district's 8,646 students in 2019 were classified as low-income. According to the most recent Illinois State Board of Education report card, 61% of the district's students were white, 18% Hispanic, 15% Asian, 4% two or more races and 1% Black.

At Sunny Hill Elementary School in Carpentersville, about 87% of students were low-income and 86% of the building population Hispanic, according to state data. District 220 has 12 schools.

"We do have a very diverse community," Kazmier said. "And we want to make all of our students feel comfortable and respected and cared for by everyone."

School board members will determine the pay and benefits for whomever is hired for the new post.

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