Pattonville students benefit from learning in a high-achieving, richly diverse school environment that enjoys the support of a connected and caring community. Pattonville is noted as the most diverse district in Missouri and one of the most diverse public school districts in the nation. Because we know students learn best when they feel connected, seen and heard, one of Pattonville’s ongoing areas of emphasis focuses on providing a culturally proficient learning environment, with priorities placed on building relationships and fostering a culture in which socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic differences are recognized, valued and appreciated.
CULTURAL PROFICIENCY COMMITTEE
Pattonville's cultural proficiency committee includes teachers, administrators, counselors and support staff from throughout the district's schools. Working with Saint Louis University professor Dr. Jaime Welborn and district leaders, this group seeks to:
Learn more about cultural proficiency to grow our ability to support all, enact positive change and ensure all will learn;
Build our own personal cultural competence to help us better understand ourselves and others; and
Seek ways to actively improve our schools and our district.
Current areas of focus for school improvement include:
Working to support and grow diversity in staffing;
Impact disparities in discipline; and
Promote opportunities for more learning in cultural proficiency for staff.
Committee members and leaders share this work with others in the district through professional development opportunities and connect and collaborate with other district departments and school programs to meet these goals. At the district level, the cultural proficiency committee continues to learn about cultural proficiency and personal bias as well as work on other goals for the district.
practices and initiatives
Training and professional development
The district has created a plan to expand cultural proficiency work to increase learning opportunities for all staff. To date, cultural proficiency work in the district includes:
Cultural proficiency training with all new teachers during new teacher orientation;
Summer training offered as extended learning opportunities for all staff;
Training with building administrators;
Creation of learning resources for staff to help grow their capacity in the area of cultural proficiency;
Training with English learner (EL) teachers, reading specialists and the district librarians, including training around creating and maintaining collections that serve and represent the diversity of Pattonville students and families; and
A variety of building-level work in cultural proficiency tailored to the needs of each school.
As a part of the curriculum review process, committees will work with Saint Louis University professor Dr. Jaime Welborn to ensure teachers use a cultural proficiency lens to guide their curriculum writing work, materials selection and instructional strategies.
Pattonville schools have been working to implement restorative practices as a way to reduce suspensions and address disparities in disciplinary consequences. According to the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP), restorative practices is a social science that studies how to build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision making. The use of restorative practices helps to: reduce crime, violence and bullying, improve human behavior, strengthen civil society, provide effective leadership, restore relationships and repair harm. The IIRP’s definition of restorative practices also includes the use of informal and formal processes that precede wrongdoing, those that proactively build relationships and a sense of community to prevent conflict and wrongdoing.
Hiring and recruitment
The Pattonville human resources department’s primary goal is to hire highly effective staff members. This goal includes a focus on increased hiring of staff who are reflective of the diverse student body in Pattonville. Human resources staff and other administrators attend approximately 20 recruitment fairs annually. The district also encourages its own high school students to enter the education field. An Educators Rising club exists at Pattonville High School to support students interested in going into education, and the human resource center supports this group. High school students annually participate in job shadowing with Pattonville educators to learn more about various teaching roles. Human resources also participates in the Pattonville High School career fair to speak to a wider group of students about considering a job in the field of education. The human resources department conducts an annual program evaluation where data is reported out regarding candidate demographic data for both certified and support staff. The department also analyzes university data regarding teacher candidate demographic data from the Missouri Department of Higher Education.