Wilton schools adopt diversity, equity and inclusion policy

Superintendent of School Kevin Smith and Board of Education Chair Deborah Low, pictured in 2020, oversaw the Policy Committee’s drafting of a diversity, equity and inclusion policy, which was adopted Thursday.

Superintendent of School Kevin Smith and Board of Education Chair Deborah Low, pictured in 2020, oversaw the Policy Committee’s drafting of a diversity, equity and inclusion policy, which was adopted Thursday.

Jarret Liotta / For Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — The Board of Education unanimously adopted a diversity, equity and inclusion policy across the district Thursday with specific plans to make the policy actionable on the horizon.

The purpose of the policy is to acknowledge diversity “as a strength of the Wilton Public Schools and recognize that differences are an essential part of our history and current and future reality,” according to the official policy. The adopted version was amended over the course of the two previous Board of Education meetings to arrive at its final draft.

“We met earlier this week and reviewed some of the conversations from the previous two coordinatings,” Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith said, “as well as the feedback from a community member.”

One of the changes that came from the suggestion of the unnamed community member was to add “home language” as a criteria for diversity in the district’s definition of “diversity.”

The definition now states that diversity is “the representation of the world’s various identities and differences (including, but not limited to, race, religion, color, national origin, home language, ancestry, ability, alienage, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status, age, and veteran status) in our organization and in our work with students.”

In addition, the word “support” was added under family and community engagement in relation to encouraging, and supporting, all families and community partners to participate in important school conversations and activities.

“There was some good conversation about what that would look like when we get to the point of developing an action plan,” Smith said.

The policy also states that it will “attract, recruit, develop and retain a diverse workforce in all areas and at all levels, one that reflects our students, our community, our region and one that expands our understanding of other people, places and cultures.”

The district will now craft action plans on how to implement the policy.