Barbara Hanes Burke out as vice-chair, Calvert Hayes in

Barbara Hanes Burke out as vice-chair, Calvert Hayes in
December 19
05:00 2019

After months of discussion and planning, last week the local school board introduced its first Equity Policy.

At the request of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ Board Chair Malishai Woodbury, last December three special committees were added to the school board. One of the three was the Climate, Culture, and Equity Committee. This committee was established to address growing concerns related to academic and discipline disparities. Two major goals of the committee were to establish an Office for Equity and create a Equity Policy before 2020. Superintendent Dr. Angela Pringle Hairston said since the sub-committee was established, members have been working hard to develop the Equity Policy. 

“The committee has met throughout the year; they’ve completed their research. They have dialogued about the concept of equity, the origin of equity and how it best fits into our work as educators,” Hairston said. “Following these meetings in early October, we launched an equity audit. A lot of data was compiled and used to further refine the policy regarding equity.” 

Before presenting a draft of the Equity Policy, Hairston said they used information they received from the Climate, Culture, and Equity Committee. According to Hairston, the draft will be posted for 30 days to receive public input. After the 30 days, the committee will come together again and have another discussion and then the policy will be taken to the policy committee before it will be presented to the board as a final policy. 

“We will follow the process of comments, going back to the sub-committee, going through the policy committee and bringing it back to you once that work is complete,” Hairston continued. “Hopefully that will be by the end of January but if there is a delay, certainly by the first of February.” 

The Equity Policy proposed last week is based on five “Pillars for Equity.” Those pillars are: School Policy and Organization/Administration, School Learning Environments, Academic Placement/Tracking and Assessment, Professional Learning, Standards and Curriculum Development. 

The draft of the policy can be viewed on the district’s website, The Equity Policy can be found under the Board of Education tab under “Policies.” 

In other business, the school board voted not to re-elect Barbara Hanes Burke as vice chair. 

Malishai Woodbury was the only nomination for board chair so naturally the incumbent retained her position. When it came time to make nominations for vice-chair, Dana Caudill Jones nominated Lida Calvert Hayes. Every board member except Hanes Burke voted in favor of Calvert Hayes. 

The decision to move away from Hanes Burke as vice chair comes less than two months after Hanes Burke went against the board’s decision to not approve a mandatory African American History course. Instead, the board decided to expand an African American Infusion course that is already in place. 

When asked about the board’s decision last week, Burke said although she isn’t vice chair any longer, her primary focus will remain the same. 

“My primary focus remains the same: to utilize my 30 years of training, experience, and knowledge as a boots-on-the-ground teacher and administrator regarding the issues specific to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District,” she said. “Although it has been an honor to serve as vice chair this past year, my role and commitment as a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board has not changed. I would like to assure my constituents that I continue to stand for the same priorities for which I was elected.

“As a board member, I will continue to advocate for the concerns of my constituents, the students, and staff of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District. I will continue to move forward and represent their interests with integrity and fairness, even if that means standing alone. The vice chair’s role of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board is to serve in the absence of the chair. By not serving in the role of vice chair in no way detracts from my role or ability to serve.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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