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Davis Journal

Thompson believes working together can bring about change

Dec 09, 2021 08:49AM ● By Becky Ginos

Assistant Superintendent Jacqueline Thompson will oversee the new Office of Equal Opportunity laid out by the Department of Justice. Photo by Becky Ginos

FARMINGTON—The Davis School District has been through some tough situations recently but newly appointed Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jacqueline Thompson is excited and hopeful for the future. 

Thompson retired as the Director of Educational Equity in 2018. “When the district asked me to come back I said ‘yes,’” she said. “I love the work they do and want to continue to work with the parents, students and educators. I missed them.”

As part of her role she will help oversee the work needed to meet the requirements set by the Department of Justice (DOJ) following a two-year investigation into racial discrimination within the district. 

“We need to work together,” she said. “Students, parents, the district. It is a good time to return.”

A new department, the Office of Equal Opportunity, will be created, said Thompson. “It used to be the Educational Equity department. That will stay in place until we get the new department. We’re planning to have that by the spring of this school year in accordance with the DOJ timeline.”

Thompson will oversee the new department. “It’s exciting,” she said. “There will be a consultant who will look at policy and training in areas regarding race who will work hand in hand with the director. We’ll have three full-time district level staff, equal opportunity coordinators and a full-time secretary.”

The department will help resolve race-based complaints, said Thompson. “There will be 35 cultural liaisons who investigate complaints in the elementary and secondary schools. We have 92 schools in the district. Each liaison will have two to three schools and others will come in to help. This will help tremendously as we move forward to address complaints and in resolving them.”

The goal is to partner with the community, she said. “We want them to know they are valuable and needed. There will be a parent equity committee so that parents’ voices can be heard.”

Thompson said she also wants to be out in the community. “I want to see what is going on and have town halls. The consultant will help define that through community outreach. I want to talk to parents, families and educators and listen to the feedback they are giving me.”

There will also be a high school student multicultural advisory committee, she said. “Their voices are so important. We want to hear the challenges they’re facing but also the good things so we can replicate those. We want to hear their concerns so they can be empowered to be part of the solution.”

What the DOJ has laid out Thompson sees as guidance. “I’m excited to work with the DOJ,” she said. “I know it takes a village to work together and bring about positive change.”

Communication is key, she said. “It makes us all stronger. It’s better for the students and that’s what we’re here for, to make sure every student feels safe, loved, valued and respected so they can be productive citizens. We can do this if we move forward together.”