Back in February 2020, the School Board adopted its equity policy, which requires such a report each year. According to Public Information Officer and Legislative Liaison Chris Whitley, it also includes a variety of data related to subjects such as student and employee demographics, student mental health, student achievement and resource allocation, among other things.
“Identified are both areas to celebrate, as well as areas for growth,” Disciplinary Hearing Review Officer Dr. Brian Maltby said.
For example, while the report found that most of the school division’s teachers live in Hanover County, it also found that, although declining, the short-term suspensions for Black students are disproportionate.
A team of stakeholders, assembled in Fall 2020, began collecting data at the end of last year. The report revealed that the majority of students in Hanover County Public Schools are white, 9.5% are Black, 6.2% are Hispanic, 2.4% are Asian, 0.3% are American Indian and the remaining 5% of students identify with multiple races.
According to Maltby, the Equity Report also found that gifted education in Hanover County is made up largely of white students. Similarly, 84% of advanced diplomas were earned by white students.
The team collected data on student safety, as well. According to the presentation before the School Board on Tuesday, most students felt that school was safe and that they had someone at home or at school with whom they could speak, if needed. Furthermore, most students felt they had the support they needed to be successful by their schools.
School Board members inquired about the course of action to follow the results of the Equity Report. While Maltby said that the decision about what to do next is up to the Board members, he also suggested that they gather a task force to examine the findings.
“We are and will continue to be about assisting our students to be the best version of themselves,” Superintendent Dr. Michael B. Gill said. “That is the heart of our equity policy.”
After the presentation of the Annual Equity Report, the School Board voted to renew Gill’s contact as Superintendent for a four-year term. Gill has worked in the school division for the past six years.