Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Belonging and Sociocultural Identities in Schools (BASIS)
and how does it look in Haverford?
What is Equity and how does it look in the SDHT?
“Equity” has become a politically charged term. When we talk about educational equity, the District is focused on working to remove barriers so that ALL students succeed and feel a sense of value and that they belong. This requires us to evaluate why certain groups of students are not performing as well as others in some areas. School districts have been providing equity for decades. For example, by teaching special education students in different ways (e.g. providing additional time and support to master the lesson or complete a test) we have been helping to provide equity to this group of students. Additionally, low-income students and students of color have not historically performed as well as white, more affluent students. Equity means looking at how we can address those gaps. Can we provide breakfast so students aren’t distracted by hunger? Can we evaluate whether we are encouraging students of color to consider higher-level classes at the same rate that we are encouraging white students to take them?
What is Critical Race Theory and are children being taught this in school?
Critical Race Theory is a concept/academic theory that is more than 40 years old. Its main theory is that racism is embedded in our legal systems and policies, and isn’t just a product of any one individual’s bias or prejudice. Some components of Critical Race Theory are controversial, and concerns about whether it’s being taught in schools have swept the country in recent months.
SDHT does not offer a course, program, or curriculum specific to CRT, nor is CRT incorporated as a framework in any of our existing programs. Our social studies curriculum follows the National Council for the Social Studies and PA Standards for teaching civics, economics, geography, and history. We use a variety of primary and secondary sources as well as supplemental books and literature to teach these standards. While teaching the standards, we uncover multiple perspectives around major concepts and topics through an inquiry-based model. We do not teach Critical Race Theory. We do teach multiple perspectives of the history including those of enslaved peoples, from not only Africa but other ancient civilizations, as well as the history of racism, racial segregation laws and practices, genocide, women’s suffrage, the American Disabilities Act, and other related topics.
Misconception: White students are being told to feel guilty about their skin color, and all races of students are being taught to blame or judge.
This is simply untrue. Our goal is for every student to feel and be included, have a sense of belonging, dignity, and access to all of the SDHT offerings regardless of their skin color, religious beliefs, gender identity, or ability/disability. Our goal is to teach basic respect and human dignity.
Misconception: The District’s work related to diversity and inclusion are part of a transition to Socialism/Marxism/Communism or part of a plan to eliminate individuality.
The District does not endorse a political party. We do not want everyone to be “the same” in any way. Our district celebrates and values the diversity of our students, staff, and community. We know that children will achieve at different levels and choose different paths. We are not in any way trying to eliminate individuality. We want to ensure we are providing every student with the tools needed to achieve their personal best. (For example, if a student is left-handed, we should provide left-handed scissors or they won’t be able to cut paper as effectively as right-handed students using traditional scissors.)
Misconception: The District’s equity work has lowered the bar for our students.
Notable 2021 Statistics:
• 31st of 610 (Top 5%) school districts
• 1 of 34 districts rated as A+
• 23rd out of 610 Public & Charter Schools in PA (Top 3%)
US News & World Report - HTSD High Schools are ranked among the top schools in the nation and state with the following rankings out of 711 high schools in PA.
•Haverford High School #21 (scored 95.91/100)
Myth: The Achievement Gap exists because certain students simply don’t work as hard as others.
The Achievement or Opportunity Gap is the difference between what’s known as historically underperforming subgroups of children, and historically performing subgroups of children. For example, Black and Latino children typically don’t perform as well on tests when compared to other children. Research has shown that these gaps exist because there are unequal and inadequate educational opportunities - not inherent differences in capability or work ethic. There are studies from the past 50 years confirming the root cause of the Achievement or Opportunity Gap from NAEP (National Association for Educational Progress), the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMSS), and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
Myth: If the district focuses on supports for minority students, white students will lose out.
This is simply untrue. We operate with the mission to educate and to inspire a community of lifelong learners who become well-rounded global citizens. We treat all students as individuals. If a student is struggling, we remove the barriers and provide support to help that student succeed. If a student is exceeding academic expectations, we provide greater challenges to help that student achieve a personal best.
Our district has been recognized for its high achievement. For example, the College Board has recognized our school district as an AP Scholars District. This is calculated by enrolling more students in Advanced Placement courses each year and maintaining an 80% pass rate on the national AP exams.
Is Equity, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT), Trauma-Informed Care the same as Critical Race Theory (CRT)?
No. These terms have been confused by many, and they are not the same. The table below explains the differences with these terms:
|"Every student having access to the educational resources and rigor they need at the right moment in their education across race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, family background and/or family income (www.ccsso.org)|
|Social Emotional Wellness (SEW)||
Strategic Goal: Produce a community of empathetic and resilient learners with skills to socially and emotionally flourish.
|Critical Race Theory (CRT)||
Its main theory is that racism is embedded in our legal systems and policies, and isn’t just a product of any one individual’s bias or prejudice.
HTSD does not teach this theory in any of our courses, nor is it part of the PA state standards.
Diversity & Inclusion
Strategic Goal: Establish a culturally diverse and inclusive educational experience that develops socio-cultural proficiency.
Diversity is the presence of differences that may include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis)ability, age, religious commitment, or political perspective.
Inclusion has two different meanings. One, it is the process of including special needs children into the regular education classroom for access to the regular education curriculum. It also means to include all students socially, and emotionally to be part of an environment where they feel welcomed and comfortable.
In HTSD, we work very hard to include all special needs children in the Least Restrictive Environment (a term used to provide services to children in settings with as many of their peers as possible). For example, including a child with special learning needs in the regular classroom along with proper support for success is less restrictive than pulling that child out for individual instruction in another room. We also offer many different clubs and activities in our schools for students to feel connected based on their own interests.