The College of Education, Health and Human Sciences realizes the disproportions occurring in academic achievement and discipline in Knox County Schools. This realization is a necessary step to eliminating systemic challenges in the achievement gap and implicit bias which occurs.
Two of our faculty, Chonika Coleman-King and Jud Laughter of the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education, are well aware of these issues. In response, they have developed a multi-year plan to address the various categories of diversity, implicit bias, identity, culturally relevant pedagogy and family engagement. This plan will breach up to five years to assist with sustainability efforts. The commitment and proximity of these faculty will allow for collaboration with local administrators to assess and hone their services over the course of the project to ensure the plans effectiveness. The first stage will include a series of workshops for all Knox County employees. During the second stage, Cultural Competence Learning Committees will be formed to develop Sustainability Plans and will include a schedule of support for these employees as they work with their schools in planning professional development opportunities.
On Monday, December 11th, the University of Tennessee’s contract for Cultural Competency training was approved and passed unanimously. Training will begin in 2018.