Petition to Brookline Superintendent and School Committee: Prioritize Diverse Hiring

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Dear Superintendent Bott,

We are writing to ask you to make the recruitment, hiring and retention of more teachers of color a leading priority for the district.  We respectfully ask you to lay out your vision and goals for how the Public Schools of Brookline, K-12, will establish a district-wide, coordinated approach so that all of the schools in Brookline are able to attract and hire teachers who more proportionally mirror the students who they serve.

In prior years, staff from Brookline Public schools have led their own efforts to do this recruitment work on a limited budget with little centralized direction and support from district leadership.  This has resulted in pockets of success, rather than more uniform success across the K-12 continuum.

We believe that all of the principals in the Public Schools of Brookline need a clear directive from you to review current hiring practices, identify needed changes, and implement uniform changes that will ensure successful recruitment of candidates of color and that all qualified candidates of color are given equitable consideration for open positions.

Additionally, we know that all schools need support from the district’s Human Resources department to launch and coordinate strategic recruitment practices with consistent messaging from the district about how much it values having diverse staff at all grade levels.   Our schools also need guidance and support on how best to support and retain teachers of color, once they are employed.

We are aware that we must compete with our surrounding districts by attracting talented staff with timely job postings and recruitment efforts, so we feel a great sense of urgency on this issue.

We were encouraged to read your letter to the parents and community back in December in which you addressed the need for the district to prioritize anti-racism and anti-bias work.  In this letter, you wrote, “My bottom line is that our schools need to work for all students. All students must see themselves as full members of our school community. And all must mean all.”  We couldn’t agree more and that is why we also feel like our students must see themselves in the people who teach them.  We see a strong connection between how we will be better equipped to address racism as a district and having staff who can authentically speak to such experiences.

We know that you are approaching an uncertain time with the override vote and understand that you have prepared two budgets, depending on the outcome.  We hope that, regardless of the outcome of the vote, you have still prioritized diversity hiring in both budget drafts.
We look forward to hearing from you and urge you to be public about your vision and strategic plans for a district-wide approach to this critical issue.

Respectfully Submitted,