WEST CHESTER, PA — The West Chester Area School District (WCASD) recently announced the hiring its first Director of Equity and Assessment. Dawn Mader has been in education for almost 20 years and has spent the last five years as an assistant principal at Rustin High School in WCASD.
“I am so excited to work in a district that supports equity and understands its importance for all students,” said Mrs. Mader. “There is a long list of things I hope to achieve in this role. What’s important is to put some practical items in place to help recognize and eliminate the inequities that exist.”
Under the newly created position, Mrs. Mader will support a culturally balanced curriculum for all district students and manage the district’s 16 building-level equity teams and District Equity Leadership team. She is also responsible for analyzing all assessment data to identify equity gaps and propose and guide strategies for closing those gaps.
Officials say that while the director position may be new to the district, equity is not. Since 2004, West Chester Area School District stated it has been committed to eradicating institutional racism and inequities through social justice while promoting the emotional development of staff and students and embracing diverse perspectives. The district’s equity goals include:
- Providing students with an inclusive curriculum that teaches anti-racism, celebrates differences, promotes understanding, and seeks multiple perspectives.
- Promoting a positive school climate in which students feel safe, respected, and appreciated.
- Providing on-going professional development to all staff in all aspects of equity.
- Engaging staff, students, parents, and community members in the district’s equity work.
- Providing equitable access to district programming.
“We have spent a considerable amount of time working internally to build systemic training for all staff so they can help each other identify microaggressions in our schools. The work is hard, and after 17 years, we are barely above the waterline of the iceberg. There is much more work to do, and we will continue to do,” said Dr. Jim Scanlon, WCASD superintendent.
Before coming to WCASD, Mrs. Mader worked as an elementary and middle school assistant principal in Delaware County. She also worked for the Camden City School District, where she was named “Teacher of the Year” for her work with students who did not meet with success in a traditional school setting.
For more information on West Chester Area School District’s Equity mission, visit www.wcasd.net/equity.
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