Education

New QPS committee targets equity

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 16, 2020 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Quincy Public Schools Superintendent Roy Webb wants a new committee to focus on equity within the school district.

Webb is forming a superintendents committee, QPS Action, to review standard administrative procedures for employees and students.

"We want a safe and great environment for our entire team regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation," Webb told staff members.

Inspired by what's taken place in the community and across the country, "it's just an opportunity for us to look at ourselves and make sure we're treating everybody well," Webb said. "We're going to look at our procedures, the way we handle things."

Several staff members already have expressed an interest in serving on the committee, which likely will hold its first meeting "fairly soon," Webb said.

The new group will operate similar to the district's Boundary Advisory Task Force in 2016 and a committee for naming the five new elementary schools in 2017. As a superintendent's committee, not a School Board committee, the group will not have to hold open meetings.

Plans call for the committee to start its work by talking with staff members and looking at the district's administrative procedures tied to staff.

"I'm going in with an open mind. I just want to listen to concerns and issues," Webb said. "This is not a committee just to discuss. It's a committee that makes changes in our district. I do think there will be some. Whether major or minor, I don't know yet. Whether it will take board action, I don't know yet."

Committee members will take the lead in broadening the discussion to include students and community members.

Webb sees the group also playing a role in furthering diversity in the district where more than 10% of students are African-American, Latino or other races and the staff is largely white.

"People have said they would like to see our staff mirror what our students look like," Webb said. "We have tried to do that. We have struggled recruiting those individuals, so maybe this committee can help us with that as well."