Welcome to Our DEI Page!
Downingtown Area School District is passionate about our students, staff, and our greater community! We want everyone who interacts with our district to feel included, respected, and treated equitably. Between our current Cultural Equity Task Force and hiring Justin Brown (our new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), we're continuing to actively take steps to increase awareness and improve the DEI practices in DASD.
As we go along, our site will have more resources and will highlight the progress we're making. We look forward to showcasing our hard work!
Join our efforts and stay up-to-date!
Over the past 10 years, diversity in Downingtown Area School District has more than doubled. Recognizing that a truly inclusive environment is vital to the wellness and success of all students, teachers and staff, DASD has worked to better serve our diverse population by focusing on improving equity and inclusion, district-wide. To be completely inclusive, all individuals within the district must feel safe to express ideas, dreams and dialogues. There must be equal access to and opportunity for everyone to contribute fully. Hate, disrespect, intimidation and intolerance have no place in our district or in our community.
Creating a positive, inclusive and diversity-driven district takes time, patience and skill. In DASD, teachers, staff and students work together to create an environment where individuals can successfully pursue their academic goals and dreams without the interference of negative experiences caused by microaggressions and bigotry. The administration, teachers and staff play a key role in creating and modeling an inclusive environment. All DASD employees must foster a sustained and long-term commitment to change and progress that recognizes diversity and multiculturalism. We must acknowledge that many individuals have complex identities in which their experiences have been based on gender, race, color, creed, sexual orientation and ability and we must respect these differences.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) and the state of DASD’s mental health and well-being are directly connected.
Student Wellness: Students spend a significant portion of their time in school making choices related to academics and personal interactions. Positive mental and emotional well-being plays a significant role in supporting student learning, academic success and overall health and wellness. Schools that are inclusive and foster the whole child are better able to meet the wellness and academic needs of all students. Effective school-wide strategies that align wellness, inclusion, diversity and equity empower all students to meet their individual and unique goals.
Staff Wellness: Promoting overall wellness and addressing diversity, equity and inclusion is critical to creating an inclusive school culture that supports the overall well-being of staff. School-level equity teams focused on strategies to foster inclusive working environments support positive mental and emotional well-being; promoting positive school climate, and coping strategies to address the everyday challenges both in the classroom and in the community.
Community Wellness: School communities committed to meeting the academic and wellness needs of their students must recognize and design opportunities where positive mental health and emotional well-being can be fully integrated with diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Doing so raises awareness, promotes positive attitudes and encourages behaviors essential for student success, both in and outside of school. A diverse and inclusive learning environment promotes the well-being of the entire school community.
Best-practice diversity and inclusion programs recognize mental health and well-being as a diversity issue.
I envision a district where every student is encouraged to achieve their highest potential and we will maximize our differences to achieve excellence. I recognize that it will take growth, change, hard work and vigilance to achieve and maintain this vision. I am prepared to do that work and provide guidance and a clearer path for the work of the district, superintendent, board, teachers, students and community to achieve this noble vision.
We will acknowledge and work to address structural and procedural barriers to full inclusion within the district. We must all take ownership of our behaviors and understand shared community values of respect and excellence. DASD will create an environment where individuals have real and equal opportunities to grow and thrive.
Justin L. Brown, M.A.
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion