Prior to the resolution, the Board received emails and heard from staff that there needed to be more efforts to include all 9-R students. The Board also recognized in reviewing student test results that certain groups of students were not performing at the same rate as others.
“We knew we needed to figure out how to do better for all students,” said Board President Kristin Smith.
In an effort to begin by listening, Smith and former member Mick Souder held an initial listening session at the start of the DEIB work. Out of that conversation and others, it was mentioned that the Board could do more to recognize the roots of the land that our schools are built on and the people who contributed to it. Board member Erika Brown set out to make sure that the land acknowledgment and the resolution were developed collaboratively. She met with stakeholders across the community, including the Native American Parent Advisory Council, to gather input. The Board wanted to find a way to make sure that they were in constant recognition of people who have inhabited and developed this land.
Along with the Board Diversity Equity and Inclusion Resolution, the Board adopted the Land Acknowledgement Statement, which is read at Board and District meetings.
“We received feedback from our Native American Parent Advisory Council that they really appreciated the inclusion of this statement in our meetings,” said Smith. “It has also served as a learning opportunity for our student board members to better understand the history of our community.”
The Board Land Acknowledgement Statement reads:
“We respectfully acknowledge that Durango School District 9-R is located on lands and territories taken from the Núuchiu (Ute) people. This land is also the ancestral home of or served as a site of trade, gathering, or healing for Apache, Pueblo, Diné, and other Nations. We recognize and honor these peoples and nations as traditional stewards of this land and water and respect their enduring relationship with it."