Equity and Diversity Council (EDC)


West Hartford Public Schools continues to see steady changes in our racial, ethnic and socio-economic demographics and embraces the richness that diversity brings.

The Equity and Diversity Council (EDC) currently exists as a faculty and staff advisory that seeks to promote equity, advance diversity, and foster inclusiveness, acceptance, mutual respect and support, civility and non-discrimination across all areas of our district’s programs and services. The work of the EDC is aligned with the WHPS’ mission and vision for Clear Paths. Bright Futures. No Limits

The EDC is a district-wide structure that serves to develop systemic approaches to enhancing our policies, practices, programs and the teaching and learning process. To this end, the EDC aims to ensure equitable opportunities and support for each and every student. Further, the EDC applies a real-time equity lens to closely examine Board policies and identify impact for opportunities and barriers.

For more information about the Equity and Diversity Council, or ways to get involved, please contact Roszena Haskins.


Equity and Diversity Council (EDC) Subcommittees

Ethnic Affairs Subcommittee

Co-Chairs: Michelle Lacroix & Lara White

This subcommittee is comprised of two action work groups: The WHPS/WHEA/WHAA Ethnic Affairs Committee is a local level of the Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee of the CT Education Association consisting of educators across the district who collaborate, plan, and support programs and opportunities for expanding and sustaining diversity. The Future Educators of Diversity Program (Co-Chairs: Jamahl Hines and Kim Ambroise), in partnership with local colleges, encourages, provides training, mentorship, and support for high school students of color to enroll in a CT teacher preparation program. The goals of this program are to ensure that students, as aspiring educators of color, are identified, mentored, and are encouraged to build relationships with those who can support them in their journey to becoming West Hartford professional educators. Students who successfully complete the program, meet higher education requirements, and complete educational certification will be guaranteed an interview for employment opportunities in the WHPS.

Family and Community Engagement Subcommittee

Chair: Scott Ratchford

Elements of this subcommittee’s research and work aim to provide opportunities for family engagement and seeks to address barriers based on 5 key principles:

  1. Providing a welcoming school environment and reducing identified barriers;
  2. Active two-way communication utilizing a variety of mediums. 3.) Positive communication regarding student behavior & achievement to families.
  3. Communication that allows for the identification of experiences that increase dialogue opportunities.
  4. Opportunities for families to be involved and influence planning/policy utilizing their expertise.

The Family Engagement subcommittee has been so closely linked to the work of the Open Choice Enhancement subcommittee.

Open Choice Enhancement Subcommittee

Chair: Amy Yarbrough

This subcommittee recognizes that the unique sacrifices and needs of Open Choice families require more individualized study and support beyond what WHPS does for West Hartford resident families. Challenges that Open Choice families face may not be common for West Hartford families, and all school staff need to be aware and responsive (i.e. Families with students in multiple districts, multiple schools within district, transportation challenges before/after school, snow delays, etc). This subcommittee has been closely linked to the work of the Family and Community Engagement subcommittee and have collaborated on efforts to welcome and engage families in the West Hartford Public Schools.

LGBT+ Advisory

Co-Chairs: Bonnie Arcari, Cathy Davis & Kim Grady Davis

Embracing diversity is a core value of the West Hartford Public Schools. We want all students and families to feel welcome, regardless of income, race, religion, or family structure. LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other identities) Advisory, with the support of administration, seeks to ensure that this core value is modeled for students, families and employees. To that end, the LGBT+ Advisory offers support and resources for matters of concern to LGBT+ students and staff, and works to better promote inclusion, awareness and respect for all.

Capacity-Building Subcommittee

Co-Chairs: Dave Barrieau & Melissa Zych

This subcommittee serves to facilitate access to opportunities for students and educators and pathways for success through policy, practice, programming and professional development. The Cultural Competence Continuum and CT Cultural Competence Standards for Professional Learning frame, ground and guide the work of this subcommittee.

Cultural Competence Continuum

Cultural Consciousness:
Understanding of one’s own
cultural identity, bias, prejudices and experiences of both privilege and marginalization 

Cultural Responsiveness:
Commitment to the continuous improvement of skills, knowledge and personal growth needed to establish meaningful connection with people from various cultural backgrounds

Cultural Advocacy:
Lifelong commitment to
action that supports
equity in each school

CT Cultural Competence Standards for Professional Learning: 

Professional learning that enhances both educator practice and outcomes for each and every student facilitates educators’ self-examination of their awareness, knowledge, skills, and actions that pertain to culture and how they can develop their culturally-responsive strategies to enrich the educational experiences for all students. 

The Culturally Responsive Teaching toolkit is accessible via WHPS- Best Practices in Cultural Pedagogy
or https://www.schoology.com. The code to join is 2FN2V-GT64R. Click on 'Resources' in the left hand column.

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Roszena Haskins

Director of Continuing Education & Diversity Advancement


Aiken: Cathy Davis

Braeburn: Bonnie Arcari

Bugbee: Jenny Dorl and Courtney Phelan

Charter Oak: Melissa Zych

Duffy: Gayle Campbell

Morley: Dave Barrieau and Jenny Dorl

Norfeldt: Michelle Lacroix and Erica Moses

Smith: Mary Richardson

Webster Hill: Jeff Wallowitz

Whiting Lane: Thej Singh

Wolcott: Amy Fisher

Bristow: Steve Cook and Kristy Wronowski

King Philip: Scott Ratchford and Christina Foreman

Sedgwick: Jen Hunt

Hall: Shelley Solomon and Lara White

Conard: Ann Marie Houlihan and Alison Peake

Central Office: Roszena Haskins, Paul Vicinus, Amy Yarbrough, and Kim Grady-Davis

Community: Gale Shapiro

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