The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities was invited by Dr. Dana T. Bedden, Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools, to participate in a press conference at Huguenot High School on March 2, 2015. This event included a public apology from administrators regarding a February 2013 incident targeting Latino students. VCIC’s work with Richmond Public Schools over the last few years was noted by several school division leaders as an example of efforts to foster a more inclusive school and division. Below are remarks shared by VCIC President & CEO Jonathan C. Zur at the press conference:
“At the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, we know that more inclusive schools are more successful schools. Research shows that students who feel a sense of belonging are more likely to show up, do their homework, raise their hands, and perform at higher academic levels. And that is the work we do each day.
In recent years, VCIC has been honored to work in partnership with Richmond Public Schools to foster a climate of increased welcome and inclusion for students from all races, classes, and national origins. These efforts have been supported by generous grant funding and have included intensive, ongoing professional development for educators at Fox and Greene Elementary Schools, Brown and Elkhardt Middle Schools, and Huguenot High School on culturally relevant instruction, support for inclusive policy changes and programs, and student leadership training including VCIC’s “Break the Cycle: Be the Change” assembly at Elkhardt and Huguenot last November.
We are especially proud that the new student HEART program (Huguenot Engagement and Research Team) was catalyzed by a group of Huguenot teachers who participated in VCIC’s Educational Equity retreat this past summer. The diverse student leaders in HEART recently presented at a faculty meeting and surveyed the entire school to determine levels of involvement and feelings of belonging. We look forward to HEART’s continued growth and success in fostering a more inclusive Huguenot High School.
While the work is far from over, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities remains committed to working with Richmond Public Schools to ensure that every person is valued, every voice is heard, and everyone has a fair chance to succeed.”