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  • Kevin Elliott

Rochester Schools builds diversity, inclusion

The Rochester Community School District has appointed Robin Carter as the district's full-time instructional equity program director in an effort to focus on programs that ensure students and staff have a high degree of cultural awareness, diversity and inclusion.

"We are thrilled that Robin will continue the great work to enhance our district's diversity and inclusion awareness initiatives," said district superintendent Robert Shaner. "All people, no matter their ethnicity, socioeconomic classes, gender, language or sexual orientation, must feel safe, valued and respected. At RCS, we are committed to ensuring that the proper resources are available to move forward with this very important work."

Carter joined the district in 2016 as the career and technical/career-focused education coordinator. During her time at the district, she has accepted additional responsibilities in the areas of 504 compliancy and has overseen much of the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Carter's research primarily focuses on the kindergarten through 12th grade educational system as it relates to institutional racism, racial identity development, cultural proficiency, culturally responsive teaching, and stereotyping threats. She has facilitated various social justice topics and presented at several conferences, such as the Facing Race Conference and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NOCORE). She also serves as an active member of Michigan Round Table (The HUB, Flint).

"I am so proud that Rochester Community Schools is committed to continuing the journey toward cultural proficiency," Carter said. "The district is taking a proactive approach to build awareness and trust, while educating our community."

Currently, the district has already undertaken several initiatives, including providing administrators at each grade level with guidance and resources on how to best respond to students when difficult topics surface at school; engaging representatives from all schools and departments in cultural proficiency leadership training; enforcing the district's respect code; working with secondary level students and staff to be thoughtful about their social media posts; and coordinating with the district's Diversity and Inclusion Parent Network to ensure students and staff of various races and ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, genders, languages, religion and sexual orientations are made to feel welcome.

"The Rochester Community School District abides by a respect code and will not tolerate acts of harassment, bullying, prejudice or discrimination,” Shaner said. "We stand firm in our beliefs that all members of our community must feel safe, valued and respected."

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