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Superintendent Named 2021 Equity Champion
Posted 1/21/21

Oceanside Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Julie Vitale was named a 2021 Equity Champion by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) for leading the charge to remove barriers to education and create equal opportunities for all students in her district.

“I am so proud of our district’s work toward our vision of an Oceanside where all students can truly say that they belong and have the tools they need to succeed,” Vitale said. “I also know that what we’ve accomplished so far is just the beginning, especially with all that we’ve learned over the past year – we are just getting started.”

Each year, SDCOE selects standout individuals and organizations in the educational community who are leading the charge in “diversity, equity, and inclusion” to honor with a Lighthouse Award, representing a beacon of hope through challenging waters. Vitale was chosen for working with district staff, district leaders, labor unions, and the Oceanside Unified Board of Education to shape district policies with an equity lens and student-centered focus. She is also chair of the newly formed SDCOE LGBTQIA+ Advisory Council and serves on the Executive Committee of the School Superintendents Association (AASA), who advocate nationally for education policy.

OUSD’s equity policies and practices have been supported by the board of education, union leadership, and a Culturally Proficient Educator Committee made up of administrators, teachers, and staff. The committee was formed in 2018 with the purpose of creating equitable learning environments for all students and implementing the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act. Since its inception, the committee has developed calendars to honor various cultural celebrations, curated inclusive lessons and materials, trained more than 400 educators in the restorative disciplinary models, and supported school counselors who have taught more than 3,000 lessons on self and social awareness.

Policies adopted by the OUSD Board of Education include a safe haven resolution protecting all students regardless of immigration status, non-harassment and non-discrimination policy, and a “Black Lives Matter” resolution. The district is also proud to have launched a high school Ethnic Studies course this school year, and of many other ongoing student and staff programs listed on the Cultural Proficiency website.

“This award also goes to our leadership teams and equity champions throughout OUSD who have been instrumental in evaluating how we can do better for our students, families, community and generations of future leaders,” Vitale said.