At the Asheville City Schools Foundation, we believe that strong public schools are an essential part of breaking the cycle of poverty, dismantling structural racism, and sustaining our democracy. We uphold the value of each student and believe that we have a specific responsibility to increase racial equity in our schools.

We envision a day when all children in the Asheville City Schools discover their unique talents and dreams, fulfill their potential, and our district shines as a national model of excellence with equity.

Where we’ve been

We understand that advancing racial equity begins with each of us, and inside each of our organizations. The Asheville City Schools Foundation board and staff began our dive into racial equity with two years of self-assessment and training starting in 2012. In 2014, ACSF offered racial equity training to 50 participants - including four school-based teams and ACSF board members. The school-based teams received grant funding from ACSF to train fellow staff members and worked to identify barriers at their schools. Three additional schools applied for racial equity grants in the 2016-2017 school year. 

With help from experts, we revised many aspects of our board policies and practices. We changed our programmatic evaluation so that we measure all of our work with an eye to impacts on racial disparities. We have made a commitment to continue to learn and grow in our ability to champion racial equity - we know that we have a long way to go.

What we’re doing now

Our board and staff see a need to uplift the voices of those most impacted by structural racism so that we can learn more about how to best address racial disparities in our schools. We are creating opportunities to listen and engage with students, families, and community members.

Our board is inviting the community to participate directly in our learning this spring in four events, the Choosing Equity series.

 
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Our staff is also collaborating with Asheville High and the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville (SILSA) in a Listening Project. The Listening Project is a collaborative effort to identify existing barriers and opportunities for student success. Volunteer listeners have completed 100 hours of one-on-one interviews with students representative of our high school population. Student responses will be used to create an action plan to increase equity and enhance success for all students at Asheville High School and SILSA.

where you come in

We invite students, families, teachers, and community leaders, to join us as equity advocates. As we develop a road map this spring and summer, we hope you will join us at the Choosing Equity events. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and sign up for ongoing updates through our e-newsletters. Have ideas or feedback? Don't hesitate to reach out to us at acsf@acsf.org or by phone at 828-350-6174. We understand that transforming this conversation into an enduring movement will require all kinds of skills and talents. Let’s work together to make room for your voice.