District position statements: Critical Race Theory, DEI and Sexual Health Ed.

District position statements: Critical Race Theory, DEI and Sexual Health Ed.

There are many conversations happening nationally and in our own community related to the topics of Critical Race Theory (CRT), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and Comprehensive Sexual Health Education (CSHE) related to schools. The Wenatchee School District is a student-focused public school system that values excellence in learning, equity, and accountability. To help bring greater clarity and understanding to these issues as they relate to our schools and to dispel any misinformation that may be circulating about these topics we’ve prepared a brief summary of our position for each subject below. 

For questions or concerns related to CRT, DEI, or CSHE please contact the Wenatchee School District office’s public information officer Diana Haglund at (509) 663-8161 or haglund.d@wenatcheeschools.org.

Critical Race Theory (CRT)

​​Critical Race Theory is a theoretical framework that some universities and other academic institutions have used to examine racism in our nation’s past and how it influences our institutions today.

The Wenatchee School District does not have a Critical Race Theory curriculum or class, nor does the state mandate we do so. 

Some people are using terminology like CRT in ways that are confusing or just plain wrong. WSD’s commitment is to ensure each of our students is future-ready by building a foundation of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our focus is on improving educational outcomes for students through high-quality instruction, social and emotional support, literacy, math, staying on track for graduation, and involvement in extracurricular and real-world experiences. We are dedicated to each student’s success, and that looks different for every student. 

The passage of recent legislation (House Senate Bill 5044) regarding required Cultural Competency, Diversity Equity and Inclusion (CCDEI) training for school staff has caused confusion among some. 

The legislation requires that starting in the 2021–22 school year, school districts must use one of the professional learning days to train school district staff in one or more of the following topics: cultural competency, diversity, equity, or inclusion. 

Critical Race Theory is not part of the new law, nor is any other specific curriculum mentioned in the law.

The term “critical race theory” does not appear anywhere in the law and it does not mandate any specific criteria for students.

DEI

We acknowledge there is a wide variety of opinions on the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Rather than getting caught up in a national debate, what’s happening in our district is the development of a new strategic plan focused on building a foundation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from which each student emerges future-ready. To do this, we commit to prioritizing a thriving environment where students are seen, valued, and know they belong; equitable access to high-quality academic, extracurricular, and real-world experiences; development of trusting relationships with peers, staff, and community members.

Comprehensive Sexual Health Education 

Our district offers human growth and development curriculum to students in grades 5-12. Our adopted curriculum is available for parents and the public to review on our website

WSD recognizes that the primary responsibility for sexual health education rests with parents and guardians. Parents and guardians may review the curriculum, and opt their child out of Sexual Health instruction at any grade level by contacting the classroom teacher, principal, or district.

Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Implementation (Senate Bill 5395), passed by the Legislature and the voters in 2020, took effect on December 3, 2020. It requires all Washington public schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education instruction that is medically and scientifically accurate, evidence-informed, age-appropriate, aligned with health and learning standards, and inclusive of all students regardless of their protected class status. The bill defines comprehensive sexual health education as recurring instruction in human development and reproduction that is age-appropriate and inclusive of all students.