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November 24, 2021

SVUSD Approves $13K Contract for Inclusivity Training

The Scotts Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees approved a two-year $13,200 contract with a Phoenix, Ariz.-based company for inclusivity training services. 

Inclusion Counts, LLC will provide a series of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) sessions between November 2021 and June 2022, including conducting interviews with employees and others about their perceptions of diversity, facilitating community listening sessions and reviewing company data, policies and practices.

“As you know, Scotts Valley Unified School District initiated our Cultural Responsiveness Committee last year,” Superintendent Tanya Krause said at SVUSD’s Nov. 26 board meeting. “We would actually like to bring an outside organization that’s experienced in DEI work to come in and provide some additional professional development and training to our team.”

The contract provides for 10 hours of one-on-one interviews at a cost of $250/hour, eight hours of listening sessions at a cost of $350/hour, four hours of data review at $250/hour, eight hours of ongoing leadership consultation at $250/hour and six hours of staff professional development at $450/hour.

“We felt Inclusion Counts was a good match for our district,” Krause said. “I’ve invited them to be here tonight to answer any board questions.”

Inclusion Counts CEO Amber Checky, who co-founded the organization, said she previously spent a decade working in education.

“I’ve experienced teaching in K-8 elementary schools; I’ve provided professional development to teachers and administrators on social-emotional learning, and safe and healthy school initiatives; I designed online learning for substitute teachers,” she said. “I’ve spent over a decade as a facilitator of diversity conversations and diversity programs.”

The company’s CFO Heather Checky, also a co-founder, said her background included working for an organization called Playworks, where she provided training and consultation to over 100 schools nationwide. She also worked within the homelessness health care field, she added.

“Over the last year we have engaged in partnerships with over a dozen businesses and with about nine school districts and institutions supporting educators,” Amber said. “Our proposal with the Scotts Valley school district parallels some of the work that we’ve done within San Carlos (Elementary) School District.”

Heather noted the San Mateo County-sited district is similarly-sized, although slightly larger.

“In our first year of work with them our deliverables included hosting a series of large group listening sessions and small group interviews, to identify district successes and areas for growth in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion and belonging,” she said. “We had really strong participation with staff, students and community members.”

Inclusion Counts launched a steering committee and began setting goals for that district, she said, adding staff there participated in two professional development sessions in the first nine months.

SVUSD Board VP Michael Shulman said he liked the idea of a steering committee that would allow the district to continue to grow on its own after the initial professional development has been completed.

“And then we take it from there,” he said.

Trustee Jane McElrone said she’s really looking forward to working with the Inclusion Counts team. And Trustee Roger Snyder said he was particularly impressed with their emphasis on getting to know the community and modifying their approach accordingly.

“I think that’s really important to really get that deep understanding of what the community needs in order to improve its approach to diversity, equity and inclusion,” he said. “So I’m looking forward to working with them.”

No member of the public spoke about the item when given the opportunity.

Board President Sue Rains made the motion to approve the contract with Snyder seconding it.

The vote was unanimous.

Drew Penner
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected]


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