School districts take closer look at teacher training and curriculum following national unrest

Racial bias training in schools

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor renewed a conversation about race in this country and shifted perspective for educators ahead of this year.

“How are we going to address some of the concerns that parents students and teachers have from the social unrest?" said Dr. Terry Lamar, Director of Equity and Education Initiatives for Hoover City Schools.

It’s a question that caused Hoover City School leaders to tweak some of the training for this year. Teachers was trained in how to have conversations about race with each other and students.

“Seventy-five percent of teachers said they feel more knowledgeable and aware of diversity and equity than they did this time last year,” said Dr. Lamar.

Homewood City School also announced plans for teachers to do racial bias training before the start of the year.

“Main theory behind it is that you don’t allow a bias statement to go Unacknowledged," said Dr. Patrick Chappell with Homewood City Schools.

Many students also returned to the classroom with updated curriculum that are more reflective of the students.

“We can teach main ideas by looking at diverse books or literature to teach the same concept we’ve taught for years,” said Dr. Lamar. "Social Studies Curriculum as well.”

Schools can serve as mirror to society so many education leaders say if we want to see change - it starts in each classroom.

“That requires an open and honest look at the realities of how things have existed in our country," said Dr. Chappell. “You are more likely to raise citizens who are more engaged in making the world a better place.”

Districts say they also use student and parent feedback on issues to guide future training for teachers.

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