Blackhawk School District News Article

Blackhawk Professional Development Training

As with many communities in our region and in our nation, questions and concerns have been raised by some parents regarding Critical Race Theory (“CRT”) in our Blackhawk School District classrooms.  As stated at a recent School Board meeting, the Blackhawk School District absolutely does not employ or utilize curriculum or materials that includes CRT.  Further, there has been no suggestion, planning or discussion of utilizing it in the future as part of any In-Service activity or classroom curriculum.
Earlier this summer, some of our staff was invited to participate in a series of professional development centered around understanding, identifying, and supporting students and families who may be experiencing poverty and/or food insecurity and supporting students/families who may be experiencing struggles with mental health. In-service was provided so that staff in all departments had a better understanding of how to interact with and appropriately service students in all facets of our community, including students who identify as LBGTQ+ and minority students.  
The training, which was held over three (3) mornings, was well received by participants.  An anticipated outcome of this training was a common goal to ensure dignity and value for all students and staff.  We reaffirmed our intention to make all families and students feel welcomed in school.   It is important that we create a culture of belonging.  We discussed how to treat all students with respect, including ensuring racist and bias language is not tolerated or accepted in schools.  We also discussed how at some point in our lives, we have all felt excluded and we discussed what can we do in our schools to ensure our current students do not have those exclusionary experiences.  
The training has been mischaracterized by some as CRT training; it was not.  We are working to make sure our schools are safe for students and that they feel welcomed.   The programming addressed institutional needs identified by the Solicitor’s office and by the Administration.  The purpose of the training was to improve awareness and offer tools to assist with Title IX and other anti-discrimination compliance.  The IUP Research Institute from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania was identified as a local leader in this area.
The District is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all of our students and staff.  This stands apart from politics or political motives.  We are grateful for the staff and community’s support and hope to continue bringing practical and effective trainings to our staff so that we can provide the best education to our entire Blackhawk community.  

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