As the demographics of Mansfield ISD changes, it’s important that those changes are reflected throughout all areas of the district as well.
MISD has embarked upon a strategic journey to ensure the district is intentional about becoming more inclusive. The decision was made under the guidance of the MISD Board of Trustees and Superintendent Dr. Kimberley Cantu.
The first step was to hire an employee dedicated to that purpose. The district’s new director of diversity, equity and Inclusion position was filled by Danyell Wells.
Wells started in August and said her main focus will be building positive relationships.
“I want people to feel included. I want them to feel celebrated; but most of all, I want them to feel seen,” said Wells.
Wells has led the formation of MISD’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion District Advisory Council to bring students, parents, staff members and community members from various backgrounds together.
The council’s first meeting was held on Sept. 16.
“The real purpose and why behind forming the committee is for us as a school district to really take advantage of an opportunity that we have been given to take a real hard look at or system, at our processes, at our policies and the way we do business and evaluate its fairness and inclusivity,” said Superintendent Dr. Cantu.
In addition to the meetings, MISD has partnered with third-party agencies, the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and Curriculum Management Solutions, Inc., to lead the district through an equity audit. The audit will include surveys and an inspection of the district’s current practices, policies and procedures.
“Our auditors will be looking into all areas of the district,” Wells explained. “They will be looking to see if Mansfield ISD is assuring equity in its treatment of all students and staff members and whether the district is assuring equal access to all services and educational opportunities.”
The findings of the audit will be brought to the advisory council. The council will then make recommendations to the MISD Board of Trustees in the spring to ensure that the district is a safe learning community in which all voices are valued and in which students and staff have a sense of belonging and connectedness.
“The future and next steps are putting specifics in place in order to make Mansfield ISD a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for all,” said Wells.
Wells said diversity, equity and inclusion is an ongoing process. The district will continually be reviewing its practices, policies, and procedures even after the audit is complete.