Equity at RGMS: Always Our Focus
At Robert Gray Middle School, we base our actions on the beliefs set forth by the Oregon Education Investment Board:
We believe that everyone has the ability to learn and that we have an ethical responsibility and a moral responsibility to ensure an education system that provides optimal learning environments that lead students to be prepared for their individual futures.
We believe that speaking a language other than English is an asset and that our education system must celebrate and enhance this ability alongside appropriate and culturally responsive support for English as a second language.
We believe students receiving special education services are an integral part of our educational responsibility and we must welcome the opportunity to be inclusive, make appropriate accommodations, and celebrate their assets. We must directly address the over-representation of children of color in special education and the under-representation in “talented and gifted.”
We believe that the students who have previously been described as “at risk,” “underperforming,” “under-represented,” or minority actually represent Oregon’s best opportunity to improve overall educational outcomes. We have many counties in rural and urban communities that already have populations of color that make up the majority. Our ability to meet the needs of this increasingly diverse population is a critical strategy for us to successfully reach our 40/40/20 goals.
We believe that intentional and proven practices must be implemented to return out of school youth to the appropriate educational setting. We recognize that this will require us to challenge and change our current educational setting to be more culturally responsive, safe, and responsive to the significant number of elementary, middle, and high school students who are currently out of school. We must make our schools safe for every learner.
We believe that ending disparities and gaps in achievement begin in the delivery of quality Early Learner programs and appropriate parent engagement and support. This is not simply an expansion of services -- it is a recognition that we need to provide services in a way that best meets the needs of our most diverse segment of the population, 0-5 year olds and their families.
We believe that resource allocation demonstrates our priorities and our values and that we demonstrate our priorities and our commitment to rural communities, communities of color, English language learners, and out of school youth in the ways we allocate resources and make educational investments.
We believe that communities, parents, teachers, and community-based organizations have unique and important solutions to improving outcomes for our students and educational systems. Our work will only be successful if we are able to truly partner with the community, engage with respect, authentically listen -- and have the courage to share decision making, control, and resources.
We believe every learner should have access to information about a broad array of career/job opportunities and apprenticeships that will show them multiple paths to employment yielding family-wage incomes, without diminishing the responsibility to ensure that each learner is prepared with the requisite skills to make choices for their future.
We believe that our community colleges and university systems have a critical role in serving our diverse populations, rural communities, English language learners and students with disabilities. Our institutions of higher education, and the P-20 system, will truly offer the best educational experience when their campus faculty, staff and students reflect this state, its growing diversity and the ability for all of these populations to be educationally successful and ultimately employed.
We believe the rich history and culture of learners is a source of pride and an asset to embrace and celebrate.
And, we believe in the importance of supporting great teaching. Research is clear that “teachers are among the most powerful influences in (student) learning.” An equitable education system requires providing teachers with the tools and support to meet the needs of each student.