Clark-Pleasant looking closer at bias

The county’s fastest growing school district is also becoming the most diverse, and officials want to be sure they are prepared for — and embrace — those changes.

Currently, more than 20 percent of students in Clark-Pleasant schools are listed as a race other than white.

In the next five to 10 years, that number is expected to reach 30 percent, Superintendent Patrick Spray said.

“We are becoming more diverse, and it is our responsibility to become more aware of it,” Spray said.

For the last few years, the school board has had a goal that the school district value diversity, becoming more aware and culturally competent in light of the growth in students from diverse backgrounds, Spray said. Last year, the school district hosted a community forum led by a nine-person panel of students and community members from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. The forum was planned after officials received reports of students making derogatory posts on social media related to minority students and shouting racial slurs in the halls.

Now, the school district has partnered with the Peace Learning Center, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting people living peacefully, for a 12- to 18-month training for teachers on implicit bias, Spray said.

“People don’t think they are biased, but it can be implicit, where it is behind our consciousness, and how do we work through it? Everybody has bias,” Spray said.

School officials opted for the training after talking with officials in Zionsville, which is seeing similar growth in diversity and went through the bias training, he said.

The goal is to better understand diversity, but also celebrate it, Spray said.

“It’s opening the dialogue more than anything else and keeping that dialogue open. When we talk about cultural differences, racism, the worst thing we can do is not talk about it, and in a lot cases that is what we tend to do,” Spray said.

And by celebrating diversity and spending more time talking about being culturally aware, they also hope to be able to attract more minority candidates for jobs in the school district, Spray said.

“Our goal is for our school and teaching staff to reflect our community,” Spray said.

The Peace Learning Center also offers other resources the school district can take advantage of, such as for restorative practices after a conflict, he said.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”By the numbers” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Here is a look at the population of minority students in Clark-Pleasant schools in recent years:


White: 77.4 percent

Other race: 22.6 percent


White: 84.6 percent

Other race: 15.4 percent


White: 87.9 percent

Other race: 12.1 percent

SOURCE: Indiana Department of Education