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A Commitment to Equity

A Special Message from Superintendent Bob Maxwell on behalf of the Pullman Public Schools Board of Directors

To the Students, Staff, Families, and Community of Pullman:

We are heartbroken and deeply concerned by the violence we are seeing across the nation towards people of color.  Racism and inequality are unacceptable everywhere, including the Pullman School District. As a district and as an educational community, we stand in solidarity with our students, staff, families, friends, and neighbors of color.


Like many of you, we watched the video of the murder of George Floyd and have experienced sadness, outrage, and anger. This is not an isolated event, and we acknowledge the many displays of racism, bigotry, and hatred people of color in our country experience.

Our Pullman Promise clearly states our commitment to an “Inclusive culture in which we value each individual and celebrate our community’s diversity”.  We take this commitment seriously, and we are committed to ongoing efforts to fight racism and inequality. As a district, we know it will take community partnerships and conversations to lean into the work of eliminating racism, bias, and injustice. Discussions about these topics can be uncomfortable, but are necessary. 

A few resources that may be helpful in talking to children about racism:
Talking with kids about race:

To those who feel unnoticed or underrepresented in our schools or in our community: we care for you and welcome you, without exception. We are committed to ensuring that every member of our Pullman Public Schools community is safe, can learn, and can thrive in an educational environment free of racism and inequality.

Art by Grant Lovinger, 3rd Grader
Helpful Resources
Books to Spark Conversations about Race, Equity, and Tolerance:
  • Something Happened in our Town by Marianne Celano (available at Neill Public Library)
  • Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges (available at Neill Public Library)
  • Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine (available at Neill Public Library)
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena (available at Neill Public Library)
  • Multiple books by Duncan Tonatiuh (many available at Neill Public Library)
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft (available at Neill Public Library)
  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison  (available at Neill Public Library)
  • A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
  • The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad & S. K. Ali (Authors) Hatem Aly (Illustrator)  (available at Neill Public Library)
  • Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry (Author) Vashti Harrison (Illustrator)  (available at Neill Public Library)
  • IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, & Carolyn Choi (Authors) Ashley Seil Smith (Illustrator)
  • Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt (Author) Vin Vogel (Illustrator)  (available at Neill Public Library)
  • When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson (Author) Julie Flett (Illustrator)
  • Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz (Author) AG Ford (Illustrator)  (available at Neill Public Library)
  • Chocolate Milk, Por Favor: Celebrating Diversity with Empathy by Maria Dismondy and  Nancy Raines Day, (Authors) Donna Farrell (Illustrator)
  • Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford (Author) Ekua Holmes (Illustrator) (available at Neill Public Library)
  • Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o (Author) Vashti Harrison (Illustrator) (available at Neill Public Library)
  • Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford (Author) Kadir Nelson (Illustrator) (available at Neill Public Library)
  • Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi (Author) Lea Lyon (Illustrator)
  • Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin (Author) Lauren Tobia (Illustrator)  (available at Neill Public Library)
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell (Author) Frane Lessac (Illustrator) (available at Neill Public Library)
  • The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren (Author) Fabio Santomauro (Illustrator) (available at Neill Public Library)
  • The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson (Author) Rafael López  (available at Neill Public Library)
  • The Boy and the Wall by Youth at Lajee Centre in Aida Refugee Camp (Authors)
Books Available in the Lincoln Middle School Library - while schools are closed, staff may find these resources helpful
  • Putting Peace First: 7 Commitments to Change the World by Eric David Dawson, 303.6 DAW (also available at Neill Public Library)
  • Migration and Refugees by Cath Senker, 304.8 SEN
  • Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! By Marley Dias, 305.23 DIA (also available at Neill Public Library)
  • A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki, 305.8 TAK (also available at Neill Public Library)
  • Bigotry and Intolerance: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Kathlyn Gay, 320.5 GAY
  • Discrimination: Struggle for Equality - Jewish Americans (320.5 BAR)
  • Discrimination: Struggle for Equality - Japanese Americans (320.5 HIR)
  • Discrimination: Struggle for Equality - Hispanic Americans (320.5 JEN)
  • Discrimination: Struggle for Equality - African Americans (320.5 WIL)
  • Discrimination: Struggle for Equality - Chinese Americans (323.1 NG)
  • Discrimination: Struggle for Equality - Native Americans (973.05 QUE)
  • This Promise of change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce, 379.2 BOY (also available at Neill Public Library)
  • The World Book of America’s Multicultural Heritage, 973.04 AME
  • A Place at the Table: Struggles for Equality in America, NP 323 PLA
  • The Shadow of Hate: A History of Intolerance in America, NP 323 SHA         
  • A Time for Justice: America’s Civil Rights Movement, NP 323.11 ATI
Books Available in the Pullman High School Library - while schools are closed, staff may find these resources helpful
  • What It Means to Be Human: Reflections from the 1800s to the Present by Joanna Bourke, 128 BOU
  • Gallup guides for Youth Facing Persistent Prejudice: People with Mental and Physical Challenges, 303.323 GAL
  • Gallup guides for Youth Facing Persistent Prejudice: Native North American Indians, 303.323 GAL
  • Gallup guides for Youth Facing Persistent Prejudice: Muslims, 303.323 GAL
  • Gallup guides for Youth Facing Persistent Prejudice: The LGBT Community, 303.323 GAL
  • Gallup guides for Youth Facing Persistent Prejudice: Jews, 303.323 GAL
  • Gallup guides for Youth Facing Persistent Prejudice: Hispanics, 303.323 GAL
  • Gallup guides for Youth Facing Persistent Prejudice: Blacks, 303.323 GAL
  • Gallup guides for Youth Facing Persistent Prejudice: Asians, 303.323 GAL
  • Persuasion and the Social Movements 5th edition by Charles Stewart, 303.48 STE
  • The Psychology of Peace: An Introduction 2nd edition by Rachel MacNair, 303.66 MAC
  • Opposing Viewpoints: Social Justice, 305.097 SOC
  • World Issues: Equal Opportunities by Fiona MacDonald, 305.8 MAC
  • Gallup Major Trends and Events: Race Relations by Hal Marcovitz, 305.8 MAR
  • Critical World Issues: Equal Opportunities by Frank McDowell, 305.8 MCD
  • Race, Racism and Science: Social Impact and Interaction by John Jackson, 305.8 JAC
  • Man’s Inhumanities: Racism and Intolerance by Charles Pederson, 305.8 PED
  • Race in America, 305.8 RAC
  • A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki, 305.8 TAK
  • American Families: A Multicultural Reader, 305.85 AME
  • Unfinished Work: Building Equality and Democracy in an Era of Working Families, 306.36 UNF
  • Inventing Human Rights: A History by Lynn Avery Hunt, 323.09 HUN
  • A Place at the Table: Struggles for Equality in America, 323.4 APL
  • Human Rights in the United States: A Dictionary and Documents by Rita C. Cartwright, 323.4 CAR
  • Human rights: A Very Short Introduction by Andrew Clapham, 323.4 CLA
  • To Establish Justice: Citizenship and the Constitution by Pat McKissack, 342.73 McK
  • Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness, NP 305.8 NOT
  • Global Human Rights: Global Concerns, NP 323.09 ABC
  • The ACLU Freedom Files: Youth Speak, NP 344.73
  • A Time for Justice: America’s Civil Rights Movement, NP 323.11 ATI



Developing an Equity Lens for Pullman Public Schools
by Susan Weed, Board Member
Featured in the June 2020 Pullman Community Update

The past couple of years the Pullman Public Schools Board of Directors has worked on a Strategic Plan, developed from the ground up. We began planning with a survey of our Community asking our stakeholders, including the community, staff, and administrators, to prioritize goals for the future of Pullman Public Schools. As the board started work on a new strategic plan, District staff worked hard on solidifying a set of Cultural Beliefs. The result was the Pullman Public Schools Cultural Beliefs, developed with input from all staff. The Pullman Public Schools strategic plan, or the “Pullman Promise” is the school board’s guiding plan that shows how we commit to ensuring our cultural beliefs are carried out in the future.

One tool we can use to assure the School Board’s decisions are consistent with the Pullman Promise is through the use of an Equity Lens, a lens, or way of looking at things, that assures we have mutual respect through an inclusive culture that values each individual as well as our community diversity. The Pullman School Board started having conversations specifically focused on equity early this year, however, moving board meetings online due to COVID-19 means that we can only take care of essential district business during our online meetings. When we can meet face to face again the Board will have a work session to continue developing our Equity Lens through collaboration, shared decisions made using data and feedback, cultivating trust through transparency and fiscal responsibility, and taking action with measurable goals and continuous improvement. Developing a Pullman Public Schools Equity Lens through which all our decisions are made will help us achieve our Pullman Promise.

An Equity Lens helps us make decisions that ensure that educational opportunities and success are not determined or hindered by race, gender, economic status, or sexual orientation. Differing from equality, equity looks at leveling the playing field, ensuring the starting line does not determine where one finishes. It allows all students to maximize their abilities and potential. Approaching work through an equity lens requires analyzing the impact of internal and external processes, as well as foundational assumptions and interpersonal engagement, on marginalized and under-served individuals and communities.

Some things to consider while developing our equity lens:
  • Every student has the ability to learn
  • Speaking a language other than English is an asset
  • Special Education Services are an educational responsibility
  • Students previously described as “at risk” are the best opportunity to improve outcomes
  • Intentional, proven practices must be implemented to return out of school youth to an educational setting
  • Supporting great teachers is important
  • Ending disparities and gaps in achievement begin in quality delivery
  • Resource allocation demonstrates priorities and values
  • Shared decision making with communities will improve outcomes
  • All students should have access to information about future opportunities,
  • Community colleges and universities play a critical role in serving diverse, rural and ELL communities
  • Rich history and culture is an asset to celebrate

Building a culture of equity requires asking questions through an equity lens and creating meaningful environment for dialogue to ensure that programs, policies and systems built are done so in a manner in which ALL learners needs are met.

Your Pullman School Board is looking forward to working face to face again so that we continue developing our Equity Lens.