Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and the district's Public School Foundation have received a $4.3 million grant from Oak Foundation, an international group that provides resources to the disadvantaged.
The grant will be used to implement a comprehensive project focused on student equity and support with hopes to narrow the district's achievement gap.
According to a press release from the district, the Students First: Equity Through Opportunity grant funds programming over three years and will focus on supporting students of color, English learners and students with disabilities.
The grant will support key initiatives, such as school exposure opportunities, transition support and literacy development for students. Additionally, it supports racial equity training for 650 district employees.
“Data managers, receptionists, cafeteria workers, bus drivers…had not always been included in that equity training,” Misti Williams, the district's senior executive director for leadership and strategy, said. “That piece of the grant will be used to support that work and be certain that every person who interacts with a child has a racial equity lens."
Williams said the grant will also focus on employee training for a code of conduct revision that has been in progress since January 2019.
“We are revising our code of conduct to be more restorative in nature instead of punitive,” Williams said. “There's quite a bit of re-culturing that will go along with that – so lots of training and supporting."
The grant’s emphasis on racial equity and a restorative code of conduct aligns with the work of the Campaign for Racial Equity. The group has been advocating for equity and opportunity for local Black and Latino students in CHCCS since 2015.
Dianne Jackson, a retired employee in the district and member of the Campaign for Racial Equity and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP's Education Committee, said she hopes the grant engages marginalized communities in its implementation.