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Core Beliefs and Commitments

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The Durham Public Schools Board of Education has established a new and dynamic framework that will serve to guide its decision making around ensuring that all students learn to the best of their abilities.

During its January 24 meeting the board unanimously voted to adopt the DPS Board of Education Core Beliefs and Commitments as part of its vision statement policy.  The document lists guiding principles around which the Board will conduct its work.

The amendment to the policy stems from the Board’s ongoing participation in the Reform Governance in Action program.  This program provides school boards with several key tools to develop their local theories of action, improve their operating processes and strengthen their relationships and cohesiveness as a unit.

The Board was selected to participate in the program last year by the Center for Reform for School Systems (CRSS). The Board has completed two of four national training sessions during which they have examined several case studies from school districts in major U.S. cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Houston. Board members have also attended local workshops where school governance experts shared best practices and policies.

Among the Board’s Core Beliefs and Commitments are:

  • All children have talents, skills, and unique abilities
  • All children want to pursue their goals and dreams
  • All children can succeed in their pursuits: college, the workforce, community engagement

Among the Commitments of the Board are:

  • Our children will be challenged to achieve at their highest capacity
  • Our school district will ensure that all of our children have at least one year of growth for one year of schooling
  • Our school district will diminish achievement gaps based on race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status until they are extinguished
  • Our schools will be filled with high quality, competent, and caring teachers, principals, and staff

Board Chairperson Minnie Forte-Brown said that the Board took much time and care in crafting the document, as it will be the guiding force for the Board’s work.

“Our Board is more focused on student achievement than ever before,” said Forte-Brown.  “As we have studied our policies and practices and those of other districts, it has shown where we need to refine and reform our work.  The result for this Board and the district will be a Board of Education that is better able to guide this district to greatness.”

In addition to the Core Beliefs and Commitments statement, the Board also adopted policies affecting Constituent Services and Board Meetings and Committees.

Outreach events such as the Kitchen Table Conversations, and the Be Our Guest sessions with parents have shaped the Core Beliefs and Commitments. The Board also has been working very closely with a trained national facilitator who has several years of experience serving on school boards, to develop a new policy for Constituent Services. This ensures that board members will be accessible to the public, available to address concerns, suggestions, and questions of parents and other stakeholders.

The Board’s new policies for organization and committee structure will help ensure that the Board can properly execute management oversight, based on foundations provided by the new guiding principles.