Burlington School District Home Page
Welcome to the Diversity, Equity and Community Partnership Webpage

Please see our sidebar to the right for links to Member Webpages, Archived Reports, and Department Contact information. 
Upcoming Community Events
Washington Consulting Trainings 11/9 -11/12
In November over 75 BSD administrators, teachers and staff took part in the Washington Consulting ​Cultural Competency Trainings that were offered by the Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement Office.
November 9 & 10--Building Equitable Schools: Cultural Competency for Leaders
November 11 &12--Building Capacity and Competencies: From Awareness to Action
District Administrators and Staff attend SLIFE Conference
On October 1st and 2nd, 20 BSD Staff, including Administrators, Principals, ELL Teachers, General Education Teachers and Content Area Teachers from across the District attended the SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education) Institute. The conference looked through the lens of culturally responsive teaching, and examined the world of Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education, while also developing the knowledge and skills essential to successful instruction for this at-risk population.

For more information please visit:
New England Survivors of Torture and Trauma
The Psychology, Social Work, and Law of Working with
Survivors of Torture and Trauma

On September 17th and 18th, BSD Administrators, Board Members, School Psychologists and Multilingual Liaisons attended this conference which included presentations and discussions related to refugee, New American and torture survivor mental health, well-being, strengths and challenges with a special focus on children, youth and parenting. The keynote speaker was Hawthorne Smith, Ph.D, Clinical Director of Bellevue/ NYU Program for Survivors of Torture.

For more information about the conference and session descriptions, visit:


The focus of the conference was in line with many of the experiences of our ELL students and families.
It is the responsibility of the Equity Team of the Burlington School District to oversee incidents of Bullying, Hazing, and Harassment (B/H/H) throughout the district. Each school has at least 2 trained investigators. They are responsible for opening investigations, interviewing potential witnesses, determining whether B/H/H has occurred and making recommendations to building administrators for possible consequences and steps moving forward for students.

Equity Team members are responsible for reviewing suspension data and data on behavioral incidents throughout the district, analyzing data and informing BSD administration of their observations, recommendations, and areas for change. They are to ensure that students are aware who they are and that they are available for assistance for the reporting of incidents of B/H/H, and reporting as well as other inappropriate student conduct or behavior
Multilingual Liaisons and District Staff Celebrate with Red Bindi
The red bindi is commonly placed on foreheads when celebrating marriage, birth of a child, festivals, to welcome people or say farewell in the Nepali community. It is a sign to show victory in their life and also represents power. In this case the Multiligual Liaisons and Staff are celebrating the marriage of their co worker Malyun Kassim.

Purpose: The Equity Council serves as diversity and equity ambassadors to co-lead, with building administrators, ongoing and open conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion. These staff-focused conversations are essential in establishing the trust and honesty required to have effective professional learning communities around cultural competency and equity in academic achievement, services and opportunities for all in BSD.

Membership: We are seeking at least two educators from each building. Staff members may also be council members.

Meetings: 2nd Monday of the month 3:30 – 5:30, meetings may be shorter (3:30 – 5:00) but will depend on the desires of the group and members ability to arrive on time.

Recertification Credits: for monthly meetings, trainings and presentations at their schools of Equity Conversations.

Da Verne Bell, Director Diversity Education & Engagement
Daniel Baron, Consultant
Karen Vogel, Math Coach
Graham Clarke, Principal Flynn

Welcome Back!
August 2015

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Partnership (DECP) welcomes our new and returning educators and staff back for the 2015-2016 school year. We hope that your break was restorative and filled with special times with friends and family.

DECP is responsible for managing and directing diversity, equity and inclusion programs and efforts across the Burlington School District pursuant to its stated commitment:
Commitment to Diversity and Equity
Burlington School District Policy

The Burlington School District recognizes and values the diversity of our students, staff and community. The District is committed to a culture of diversity that reflects the voices, perspectives and differences arising from our diverse community and the world. We believe that it is important for students to understand and appreciate human diversity, develop a capacity for cultural competence and commit to encouraging inclusion in their future lives.

The District will adopt procedures and implement staff training intended to achieve a diverse and culturally competent school community, inclusive of diverse races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religious and spiritual beliefs, ages, and physical and learning abilities. The administration shall report to the Board annually on its progress, barriers and outcomes.

Diversity and inclusion are indispensable to our capacity to attain excellence and equity must be the lens through which we view our work and our interactions with students and colleagues everyday. DECP will continue to foster and promote increased knowledge of cultural and ethnic diversity and the importance of equity and inclusion to the success of all students and employees of the District.

We are here to support you in and out of the classroom. Please feel free to contact us with concerns, questions or needed support. Again, welcome back and best wishes for a great school year.

“Until we get equality in education, we won't have an equal society.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Celebrating Two Major Accomplishments
Did you know this year marks the 40th anniversary of Lau v. Nichols, which expanded rights for students with Limited English Proficiency? 

Click here to learn more and read statements from members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

This year also marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court case which declared segregated schools unconstitutional.  

Click here to read articles by educators about the impact, or lack thereof, this historic decision continues to have.

Maine's ESL Summer Academy
“Focus on Classrooms:  English language development (ELD) standards in Action-Lesson planning and analyzing data for classroom decision-making. 

June 24-26, University of Maine, Orono

This three-day interactive and differentiated academy provides an in-depth opportunity to apply the ELD Standards to classroom instruction. Participants will explore the purpose and process of transforming the model performance indicators (MPIs) and apply these ideas to their specific educational settings.

Click here to learn more.

2014 TESOL Advocacy and Policy Summit
June 22-24 in Arlington, VA.

The TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit is an unparalleled professional development opportunity for educators to learn about U.S. federal education issues and advocate for policies that support English learners and the field of English language education. The summit will feature policy experts, leadership training, and an opportunity to network with advocates and colleagues from across the country. 

Click here to learn more.  
FREE! Equity Conversations: Updates in STEM Education K-12
Friday, June 6th, 2014, 8:30-3:30 pm

At the University of Southern Maine, Portland Campus, Hannaford Hall

The event is free but registration is required.  You must register by May 23.  

Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Okhee Lee, Professor of Education, New York University

Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont educators are invited to join in conversations with researchers, community partners, and other practitioners focused on best practices in STEM education K-12 for inclusion of all students, including ELLs.  This is an interactive day designed to promote conversation framed by the implications of the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards for underrepresented students. 

Presented by the New England Equity Assistance Center in co-sponsorship with University of Southern Maine Teacher Education.

Click here to learn more.  
Click here to register

Free Webinar from Education Week
Connecting Communites: The Importance of Culture in Digital World Languae & ELL Instruction 

Thursday, May 8, 2014, 2-3 pm 

“Solutions to many of our ecological problems lie in an approach that celebrates, empowers, and nurtures the cultural, artistic, historical and spiritual resources of each local community and region. […] Schools and other educational institutions can and should play a central role in this process.” —Laurie Lane-Zucker, 2004

Join the discussion with educators and curriculum designers from Middlebury Interactive Languages, who will share their experiences utilizing place-based and community-based pedagogies to help world language students and English Language Learners connect with neighborhood communities. The panel of speakers will discuss best practices, as well as challenges, in connecting culture with world language and ELL instruction. 

By attending this free one-hour dialogue, you’ll learn about:

• Place-based and community-based pedagogy
• Design principles to support a community-based approach in language education, and
• The impact of place-based pedagogy on student learning experiences.

Please click here to learn more and register.  

Diversity Alliance Council
The Burlington School District started the Diversity Alliance Council in January and our next meeting will be on Thursday, April 10.  The Council is bringing together numerous community organizations to share the work we are doing in order to better provide for our students, as well as highlight opportunities for collaboration.

We had a great turnout at our first ever meeting in January, and hope for an equally engaged and excited group on April 10.  If you would like more information please contact Kathleen Yun at kyun@bsdvt.org.  

New Neighbors Music Project
The Vermont Folklife Center and Young Tradition Vermont are hosting New Neighbors Music Project Workshops on Friday, May 2 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. The day will introduce educators to the New Neighbors website and a curriculum developed by Edmunds Middle School's Betsy Nolan, as well as provide opportunities to connect with New American musicians and community leaders, ending with a performance!  

See the link below for more information.


Charlayne Hunter-Gault Speaking at UVM
Free and open to the public, come see Charlayne Hunter-Gault speak at UVM's Ira Allen Chapel Monday, March 24 from 4:00-5:30 pm, followed by a book signing.  

There is also an all day symposium on Friday, March 28.  The cost is $30 for non-UVM employees. Click the following link to register, http://www.uvm.edu/conferences/blackboardjungle7/

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Speak at UVM
This has been cancelled.  
Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Join us at ECHO on Monday, January 20th where AmeriCorps Bullying and Harassment Specialist Kat Monterosso and Equity Director Henry Sparks will have a table.  Or enjoy one of the other educational activities happening throughout the area all week long.

See the link below for a complete list of events.


Webinar Training
See below for two great opportunities to learn more about the intersect between culture and behavior. If any of the links do not work, please copy and paste them into your browser.  

Monday, January 27, 2014
1:00-1:45 pm EST

What You See Doesn't Always Show What's Beneath:
Understanding Culture-Based Behaviors

Presented by the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning 

Please see:
for more information and to register.

Topics Include
-Understanding Culture-Based Behavior
-Addressing Children's Behavior While Considering Their Home and Community Culture

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
1:00-2:30 pm EST

Promoting a Culture of Welcome for Refugees in Schools:
Approaches and Opportunities Webinar

Presented by Welcoming America and the Center for Applied Linguistics

Please see:
for more information and to register.

Webinar participants will collaboratively:
-identify key ingredients of a welcoming school
-learn from promising examples from the field
-share their own questions and successes

Remembering Franklin McCain

On February 1st, 1960, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, David Richmond, and Ezell Blair Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), four freshmen from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro sat at a Woolworth’s lunch counter to call attention to the segregation that was still occurring not only in that store, but across the country. 

The actions of these four young men inspired others, and soon sit-ins were being held in fifty other cities.  These demonstrations helped pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

Franklin McCain passed away due to respiratory complication on Thursday, January 9th, 2014 at the age of 73.  Fifty four years later the actions of these civil rights leaders continue to inspire others. As the anniversary of their sit-in nears, we will remember McCain’s courage and continue his legacy by striving to always stand up, or sit down as the case may be, against injustice.  

Welcome to the Diversity, Equity and Community Partnership Webpage

Please see our sidebar to the right for links to Member Webpages, Archived Reports, and Department Contact information. 
Web Pages
+ Ehtesham-Cating, Mirium
+ Fuller, Nikki
+ Sparks, Henri
Click on name to see details.