Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the David Douglas School District

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the David Douglas School District

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the David Douglas School District

The David Douglas School District serves 3,200 students in 15 schools in East Portland, Oregon. The district covers 12 square miles and serves a community of approximately 53,775. The district has a longstanding relationship with Vector Solutions, having used the Vector Training Safety & Compliance Courses (formerly SafeSchools) and Vector Evaluations+ for several years. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is a key area of focus for the David Douglas School District and when it came time for the district to select a course provider to train all of its administrators, educators and staff members, Vector’s Diversity & Inclusion Training was a perfect fit.

“David Douglas has used Vector Training (formerly SafeSchools) for many years and we have always appreciated the concise training for our staff,” said David Petersen, the district’s Human Resources Assistant. From my viewpoint as both a user and a system operator, Vector Training has always provided a great place to learn with superb ease of use, flexibility, and excellent customer support. We appreciate the ability to add district-created training for topics that our School District wishes to address for that school year.”


The Challenge: To provide effective DEI training to all staff members to support the district’s DEI goals

The district’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan includes a significant focus on DEI. In the plan, the district outlined its goals and key performance indicators for DEI and created a list of action steps and a timeline to help it achieve its goals. “We have a school district that values equity,” said La'Shawanta “Taye” Spears, who was hired to the newly-created position of Director of Diversity and Equitable Inclusion in 2021. Spears noted that students who are ethnic minorities accounted for 67% of total enrollment but are overrepresented in  the district’s disciplinary instances. These statistics, coupled with the renewed focus nationwide on equity and social justice, were what led to the adoption of a new strategic plan that included DEI.  “We said we needed to do something different as a school district,” said Spears. “Our strategic plan included the creation of an equity plan to help improve school climate and support our black and brown students.” Alongside Kelly Devlin, our Director of Equity, we have made the implementation of this work a priority district-wide. 

As part of the plan, the district was required to ensure all staff members received DEI training. After vetting Vector’s Diversity & Inclusion Training courses, district administrators determined it was a perfect option to help the district meet this challenge.


The Solution: Online DEI courses provide a foundation for all administrators and staff

Spears said Vector’s Diversity & Inclusion Training courses were a great fit because “Everything in the courses was so relevant to (current events) and provided the groundwork we needed in terms of training for our staff members.”

Vector’s Diversity and Inclusion Training for K-12 teachers and staff members covers topics such as:

  • Defining diversity and engaging with difference
  • Anticipating impact and understanding microaggressions
  • Unconscious bias in the classroom
  • Classroom inclusion and cultural humility

The courses have helped the David Douglas School District ensure all staff members have the same, solid foundation and understanding of DEI and what it entails. The ability for staff members to access the courses online is essential, said Spears, because it enables them to take the courses at a time which is convenient for them. The district already uses 25 Vector courses and works to make sure staff members have ample time to complete the courses required of them so it was important to have scheduling flexibility when adding the new Diversity & Inclusion Training courses.


The Implementation: Preparing principals to support the rollout

The district started the rollout of the Vector Diversity & Inclusion Training courses in the 2021-2022 school year. Its 'normal' training program ran from July 1 until September 30 and then on October 1, it added new Diversity & Inclusion Training courses. “We chose to have two separate training periods so we could have a focus for our staff and provide training to our administrators before we initiated the second roll-out,” said Petersen. Spears said timing and communication were important parts of the planning process. “I had a lot of conversations with principals in advance with the times for implementation so they would know exactly what to expect,” said Spears. “I sent monthly reminders of the training times and what each topic was. Our Equity teams were doing PD as well so it was nice for the principals to be able to access the courses to prepare their staff as much as possible.”


The Results: All administrators and staff have a common starting point

Vector Solutions’ Diversity & Inclusion Training courses have been an important part of the district’s larger DEI initiative. Other components of the initiative include creating an equity team at each school that oversees professional learning and identifies academic, behavioral and culturally responsive teaching goals for their school building. “(Culturally responsive teaching) involves lots of self-reflection of our own biases in our work and the Diversity & Inclusion courses help teach how to do that,” said Spears. Responses to the courses from principals have so far been positive, Spears said. “Principals have the option of having staff members in their buildings complete the courses independently or as a group. Some of those who did it as a group said it resulted in some really enriching conversations.”


About Vector Solutions Diversity & Inclusion Courses

Vector Solutions’ Diversity & Inclusion Training includes online diversity and inclusion courses for K-12 teachers, staff and high school students. David Douglas School District uses the courses for teachers and staff members, which help teach skills for engaging with diverse students and colleagues. Courses include:

  • Communication for Inclusion
  • Engagement with Diversity
  • The Influence of Unconscious Bias

The courses are based on peer-reviewed research and input from top scholars in the field. In a Vector survey of course takers, 83% say they will rethink how they communicate with people based on the skills they learned in the Diversity & Inclusion courses.

Companion Facilitator's Guides help deepen engagement with Diversity and Inclusion learning through remote and in-person activities, discussions, and more based on the same pedagogy as the courses.

For more information about Vector Solutions Diversity & Inclusion Training courses for K-12 schools, click here

“Everything in the Vector Diversity & Inclusion Courses was so relevant to (current events) and provided the groundwork we needed in terms of training for our staff members.”

La'Shawanta Spears

Director of Diversity and Equitable Inclusion

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