The Cedar Rapids Community School District’s Board of Directors approved the implementation of a strategic plan, designed by the Office of Talent Management, to take significant action over the next three years to enhance diversity and inclusion in the district’s workforce.
“Our vision for the district is a highly engaged workforce that embraces diversity,” said Executive Director of Talent Management Linda Noggle. “Our goal is to develop and strengthen positive relations with our community, develop and maintain a talented workforce that is representative of our students, and create a workplace where each employee is enabled and empowered to contribute their individual talents to deliver on our vision of Every Learner: Future Ready.”
The three-year diversity and inclusion plan is carefully aligned with CRCSD’s vision and mission and seeks to make positive change for both current employees and future members of the organization’s workforce.
“We want to improve recruitment and retention strategies with an intentional focus on diversity,” Noggle said. “We’re also looking to improve employee satisfaction, decrease turnover of highly-qualified professional talent, and improve decision making with diverse input and worldviews.”
The plan features efforts that focus on recruiting and retaining teachers of color.
Various recommendations include reconnecting with teachers of color who left the state and developing relationships with students of color in education programs at the local post-secondary institutions.
The school district acknowledges that turnover is higher among teachers of color and that a thoughtful retention plan is at least as important as recruitment and hiring practices.
“One of our goals, certainly, is to improve the racial climate in schools,” said Rod Dooley, Executive Director of Equity. “We also want to increase the number of administrators of color and open more pathways for advancement of all teachers, with an awareness that teachers of color don’t often navigate through these pathways as frequently as their colleagues.”
While a significant element of the plan is its focus on recruiting and retaining educators of color, the plan is informed by a vision that embraces a broader understanding of diversity. “We’re ultimately moving towards designing a process and embracing practices that are closely aligned with our values,” said Superintendent Brad Buck. “We want to be more thoughtful and consistent than ever before in attracting and retaining a workforce that reflects diversity in a multitude of areas.”