We acknowledge that Rochester Public Schools (RPS) sites are situated on ancestral lands of the Dakota people. We acknowledge and honor the Dakota Nations and the sacred land of all Indigenous peoples. We believe equity is a lens through which all decisions should be made. We believe in the use of people first and asset-based language. Our emphasis lies on the person, whereas their social identities are secondary. We promote language that raises the visibility of personal stories, creates empathy, and recognizes the diverse assets that difference brings. We believe the practices used in recruiting, interviewing, hiring, supporting, and promoting staff must include and honor, at every level, those who represent the diverse identities of our schools and community. We believe it is the collective responsibility of all RPS staff to be actively and intentionally anti-racist, both individually and collectively, and work to undo historical and current racist policies or actions both inside and outside the classroom. This responsibility involves critical self-awareness and self-reflection; recognizing and addressing bias; dismantling racist cultures, practices, and procedures; and increasing one’s cultural responsiveness and cultural awareness. We believe that all staff and students deserve a space to be their authentic selves. We have a collective responsibility to ensure our schools provide a caring, supportive, and anti-oppressive environment. School communities should support the healthy, positive development of students and help them grow their unique gifts and talents. We believe that one’s gender and sexuality are important parts of one’s identity which deserve to be genuinely accepted and valued. We believe that every student and staff member has the right to grow in a safe space and to be addressed by their preferred name and by pronouns which correspond to their gender identity. We believe that communities, parents/caregivers, teachers, and community-based organizations have unique and important solutions to improving outcomes for our students and educational systems. True partnership with families and the community includes engaging them with respect, listening authentically, and having the courage to share decision-making, control and resources. We believe that speaking a language other than English is an asset. Our educational system must celebrate and enhance this ability while providing appropriate and culturally responsive support for emerging bilingual and multilingual students and families. Students’ English development is stronger when home language maintenance is encouraged and facilitated. Community partnerships are essential in providing multicultural and multilingual language supports for students and families. We believe students receiving special education and gifted services are an integral part of our educational responsibility, and we must welcome the opportunity to be inclusive, make appropriate accommodations and celebrate their assets. We believe we must remove barriers that prevent students from one or more historically marginalized groups from attaining high levels of academic achievement and growth. Barriers include inequitable access to gifted services and other academic programming as well as over-representation in special education and other intervention programs.