The Columbia School Board discussed how members could be more actively involved in the district’s commitment to equity in schools during a retreat Thursday.

The district defines equity as meeting the needs of all students and uses it as a guiding practice and principle, spokeswoman for Columbia Public Schools Michelle Baumstark said in an email.

During the retreat at Rock Quarry House, Superintendent Peter Stiepleman raised the possibility of an ad hoc committee to look at the work the district is doing around equity.

Although the idea needs refining, Stiepleman said it could potentially be a way for board members to engage in equity discussions more directly.

The board agreed on three areas of focus for the coming school year: providing instructional programs for teachers; understanding the influence of the educational system in a larger context; and the management of organizational systems in the district.

Members suggested topics they would like to see the board address in future meetings, including literacy initiatives for all school levels, resources for special education and the relationship between student achievement and technology use.

Members also requested adding an item to board meeting agendas regarding program highlights. They would spend 15 to 20 minutes at each meeting informing the public about district programs and initiatives their proud of. It’s a return to a previous board practice.

“If we don’t talk about it, the assumption is it’s not happening,” President Helen Wade said.

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