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From Commitment to Practice in Central Texas

By Communities In Schools | Aug. 16, 2021 DEI

At Communities In Schools of Central Texas, a three-year plan is being implemented to operationalize the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

They began by doing an assessment of culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) to evaluate how well the organization meets national standards for providing equitable services to all individuals. Next, they formed a Change Team to work with a DEI consultant. 

After eight months of research and evaluation, the consultant made recommendations for how CIS of Central Texas could be more diverse, equitable and inclusive in all areas. A three-year DEI plan was developed based on these recommendations.

“The plan has a strong foundation to build from,” says Sharon Vigil, Chief Operations Officer for CIS of Central Texas. “We introduced diversity, equity, and inclusion definitions, and a DEI commitment statement. Talking about DEI is easier when everyone is using a common language and has shared understanding of their meanings.” 

Key performance indicators related to DEI goals are being established for every department, along with cascading goals, and a DEI dashboard for accountability. Innovation will be the key to the plan’s success. 

“We are identifying nontraditional staff recruitment opportunities,” says Vigil. “We will provide DEI training plans for each staff member that is specific to their area of work and aligned to our mission and goals. Affinity groups will engage staff in cross-cultural dialogue. Our programming will create safe spaces for student-led conversations and exploration around identity, power, oppression, privilege, and possibilities. We will continue to ask the question—how can we be better?”

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