WEST FARGO — After the events of 2020, including the reevaluation of racism across the world, both West Fargo Schools and the city of West Fargo are in the process of creating task forces to discuss and examine equity and inclusion.
On Tuesday, March 23, the West Fargo Schools launched its first meeting of an Equity and Inclusion Task Force.
District spokeswoman Heather Leas said the committee was formed to examine all aspects of the district, provide district leaders with feedback regarding current practices, and propose possible solutions and suggestions for district consideration.
"West Fargo Public Schools is a wonderful district, we have branded ourselves as the #districtofchoice in North Dakota, as the second-largest and fastest-growing district in the state," Leas said. "While that growth is awesome, it also shines a light on the work that we have to do, specifically in equity and inclusion. Therefore, West Fargo Public Schools has formed a task force."
Before the committee launched, the district asked community members to join the task force and "share their time, perspectives, experience and expertise with the focus of ensuring equitable educational experiences for staff, students and families."
The school district asked high school students, parents, staff and community members to join the task force, which will meet 18 times through June 2022.
The meetings include a topic presentation by a department leader, small and large group discussion followed by an exit survey.
Leas said the task force will eventually report back to the West Fargo School Board.
The city of West Fargo is continuing its plan to create a community inclusion committee as well.
West Fargo Communications Director Melissa Richard said the city is still organizing members of the future committee. The city hopes to find cross-sections of the community.
"It's taking a while because there are so many elements to come together," Richard said.
Once the committee is formed, its members will also meet to develop an action plan for the city.
Richard said an action plan would be a roadmap to guide diversity initiatives for the community and would assess need and community engagement. It could include a review of ordinances and policies to new programs and access to additional resources for community members.
"Inclusion refers to a community where members are and feel respected, have a sense of belonging and are able to participate and achieve their potential," Richard said.
Richard said she expects the city's committee will likely benefit from the schools' task force and vice versa.
"The real goal is finding something that represents the total community experience and strategies for making West Fargo an inclusive community," Richard said.