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Indianapolis Public Schools to offer parents racial equity training

Multicultural Spotlight: IPS to offer parents racial equity training

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools is expanding its racial equity work.

The district wants to include parents in its equity training.

IPS calls it groundwater training for IPS parents. According to the IPS website, groundwater training is “designed to help practitioners at all levels internalize the reality that we live in a racially structured society, and that is what causes racial inequity.” Representatives say if we have any chance of moving forward, it’s important to have teachers, staff, and parents in alignment.

IPS is on a mission to rebuild stronger. For more than 60 years, Patricia Payne has served the district while watching it transform. She’s now the director of the office of racial equity and inclusion.

“If we have a racial equity movement, it’s going to move anywhere without parent involvement,” said Payne.

Teachers and staff are required to undergo racial equity training through the Racial Equity Institute. The district is branching out and bringing parents into the fold with its second year of groundwater training, which is offered in both English and Spanish.

IPS is looking to bring attention to ways to improve racial equity for students district-wide.

“Our equity vision is to create an IPS where a students outcomes cannot be predicted by race and ethnicity,” said Payne. “We are very serious about this.”

The three-hour virtual training is open to IPS parents of all backgrounds. District leaders say “The Groundwater metaphor is designed to help practitioners at all levels internalize the reality that we live in a racially structured society, and that is what causes racial inequity.”

“The common thread of ridding inequities in all spaces that affects our students, and we need the parent support, and we need the community support, and we need the teachers and staff,” said Annmarie Byers, racial equity district coordinator for the IPS Office of Racial Equity.

District representatives say while students spend a huge amount of time in school, parents are the first teachers, and linking up can only strengthen achievement.

“Everyone is breathing the smog of racism no matter what color you are. You’re affected by it,” said Byers. “One of the things with this training, it allows you to understand how systemic racism evolved.”

The training is free, but registration is required. The first course is scheduled for Sept. 26.