Community leaders, District 203 begin discussion on closing student achievement gap

District 203 Superintendent Dr. Darcy Benway and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Martha Weld greet and speak with parents following last Wednesday’s meeting at New Life In Christ Church. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

Community members and leaders came together last Wednesday evening at a town hall meeting at New Life In Christ Interdenominational Church. Representatives from O’Fallon Township High School District 203 were there to discuss issues separating races at the high school, especially among achievement, expulsion and suspension, and diversity in staffing.

Bishop Geoffrey V. Dudley, Sr. welcomed everyone to the meeting, then introduced Superintendent Dr. Darcy Benway and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Martha Weld.

“We want to be collaborative partners to be part of the journey that we want our community to be on. One of the ways that we do that, that we accomplish that, is have a multi-disciplinary approach to education. That means working together,” Dudley said.

He further explained the goal of the evening, saying “We want to talk about diversity in staffing, professional development. We want to talk about the achievement gap, suspension and expulsion rates for African Americans, in particular, African American males. We want to talk about how the community can get involved and make a difference. Finally, we want to talk about the bigotry of low expectations. Those are the things that we would like to begin this conversation, and indeed, it is a conversation.”

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