Donald Shively, the superintendent of the Paducah Independent School District, posted four commitments in the superintendent’s blog on the district website that the district pledges to follow.
The commitments deal with student equality within the district and how the district’s employees are committed to seeking that ideal.
“As superintendent of the most diverse school district in the state of Kentucky, you know that children and families that you serve, some of them have concerns of what’s happening in the United States today,” Shively told The Sun. “So, it’s important for me to emphasize that it’s not what we say; it’s what we do.”
Shively said that the diversity can be seen in data shown in the 2018-19 Superintendent’s Annual Attendance Report under “Ethnic Counts,” where the number of white males, white females, black males and black females is almost equal across the board.
The report shows that the school district had 617 white males, 597 white females, 554 black males and 570 black females in the 2018-19 school year.
The commitments listed in the blog are:
• To know each and every child by name and need.
• To make implicit bias training an ongoing component of professional development for the staff.
• To increase minority enrollment in Honors and Advanced Placement classes.
• To recruit and hire minority faculty.
The blog states that PISD is “the only district in the commonwealth working with Equal Opportunity Schools to increase the participation rate of minority students in AP classes.”
It further states that based on Kentucky Department of Education’s 2020 Certified Staff Ethnic Count report from last fall, the district ranks third in the state in the percentage of minority staff.
“It’s really recognizing the uniqueness of each child,” Shively told The Sun. “We are committed to the work that we’re doing for each and every child regardless of their background. It’s a commitment that we take very seriously every day.
“It’s definitely an ongoing dialogue within the board, the leadership of the district and the leadership of the schools to our teachers and classified staff.”
Shively said that being an attentive listener is important to understanding different perspectives.
“It’s how you use that information to make the decisions to better prepare the school district, to better prepare the employees in our district to meet those unique needs,” he said.