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It Starts With Us

Education is the road that a student walks to acquire compassion, knowledge, opportunity, prosperity and freedom.

That journey starts with equity and inclusion for every student.

Hands all around

We have just begun our efforts.
There is so much more we can do.

At Simi Valley Schools, when we say that our students go From Here to Anywhere, we make a promise to every student that we will do everything possible to honor, respect and celebrate their uniqueness while they are with us.

“We, like most organizations, cannot claim that we can put a period on our work in this area,” says Dr. Jason Peplinski, Superintendent of Simi Valley Schools. “But we have done a lot over the past few years in this area and will continue to make this a focus of our work.”

Through our award-winning six-year partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools, whose mission is to “ensure that students of color and low-income students have equitable access to the most academically intense high school programs and succeed at the highest levels,” we removed barriers for students to enroll into high-level high school classes (Honors, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate). We now actively recruit and support our students from diverse populations through these rigorous classes because we know that they will find greater academic success now and in their future endeavors from these classroom experiences.

We provide ongoing professional development to teachers on the FAIR Act and use curriculum that includes the historical contributions of diverse groups, including African American, Latino, LGBTQ, Indigenous Americans, women and more.

Supporting the social-emotional and mental health needs of our students is a primary goal. To that end, equity and inclusion are key needs which require continual evaluation. Our goal is for all students to know that they are valued and accepted for who they are in order to feel safe and secure in their learning environment.

Four years ago, we partnered with Panorama Education to help us make more effective, data-driven decisions in the areas of social-emotional learning. With the feedback we gather from our students each year, we are better able to put our resources into the priorities they say need the most attention: mental health, bullying, school-connectedness, substance abuse and more.

Last year, we hired three elementary counselors to serve the social-emotional needs of our youngest students. (We've always had counselors for our middle and high school students.) These counselors are creating resources to help families with their social-emotional needs, which include diversity issues and how to support equity and inclusion in their children’s education.

Through the expert direction of our newly-created Administrator of Equity and Inclusion, we will continue to:

  • Review our recruiting and hiring practices to ensure the most equitable outcomes for personnel.
  • Train staff on bias, inclusion and equity.
  • Review existing curriculum and develop new curriculum that supports a culture of inclusion and acceptance in our schools.
  • Keep the dialogue open with students, families and staff representing diverse groups and interests, and listen better.
  • Create and maintain an atmosphere of kindness, compassion, empathy and support for all students.

We commit to remaining transparent in our equity and inclusion efforts.