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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Published: 6/21/2022 3:54 PM


What We Do

The KDE Division of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB), which is a part of the Office of Teaching and Learning, is committed to fostering an inclusive learning environment in which all Kentucky public school students receive equitable access and opportunities.​ One of the fundamental precursors to an effective learning environment is creating a sense of belonging for all students and educators. ​By valuing the strengths in our diverse experiences, creating equitable access and learning opportunities, and including the voice of each learner​, a strong sense of be​longing will be cultivated, and in turn, each student will be empowered and equipped to pursue a successful future. 

The division provides resources and tools to help schools and districts provide equitable opportunity and access to all students through the Equity Toolkit and other initiatives.​​ Please visit Kentucky's Equity Toolkit webpage​ for more information about each of the puzzle pieces in the Equity Tool.

Kentucky's Equity Toolkit


Diversity: Individual traits and differences which directly impact the engagement, inclusivity and experiences of students such as: race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, country of origin, differing abilities, personality and learning styles, as well as cultural, political, religious or other affiliations. 

Equity: The promotion of access, opportunity and advancement of all individuals, including those in underserved communities, in order to identify and eliminate conditions that prevent the ability of all students to reach their full potential. ​

The term ‘underserved communities’ refers to populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social and civic life (Federal Executive Order 13985, 2020​).​

Inclusion: The intentional act of creating an environment that fosters mutually respectful relationships in which each student, regardless of intellectual, social, cultural and geographic background, is welcomed, supported and valued as fully participating members of society.

Belonging: The degree to which learners believe, experience, and feel that they are accepted by adults and peers, as well as respected as a valued contributor in their learning and social environment.

Core Values

The Division of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging leans heavily on the Kentucky Board of Education's resolution affirming its commitment to racial equity in Kentucky public schools through a resolution adopted on July 10, 2020.

The Kentucky Board of Education and the Kentucky Department of Education believe all students should have ​the necessary supports to reach their full potential as students and human beings. Our goal is to close the opportunity gap for all students and to prepare them for life and future success.


Meet the KDE DEIB Team

Picture of Dr. Thomas Woods-Tucker  
Deputy Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer  
Office of Teaching and Learning​​
Picture of Dr. Damien Sweeney

Director of Diversity, Equity and Incl​usion
Office of Teaching and Learning


Picture of Heather Bushelman

Heather Bushelman, M.Ed.​
Comprehensive School Counselor Program Coordinator

Picture of Florence Chang

Florence Chang, Ph.D.
Strategic Analyst of Learning

Picture of Nicole Fields

Nicole Fields, Ed.D.
Community Engagement Coordinator

Please email Damien Sweeney if you have any questions or need support.​

Sign up for KDE's DEIB Newsletter-01.png
Featured KDE Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) ​Resources

Facilitating Conversations about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion​ and Belonging​ ​

KDE Facilitating Conversations about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion document​​


KyMTSS Equitable Access and Opportunity webpage

KyMTSS Equitable Acces and Opportunity webpage

KyMTSS Resources for Equitable Access and Opportunity

KyMTSS Resources for Equitable Access and Opportunity

Highlighted DEIB Resources from Kentucky School Districts

Woodford County's Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Webpage​

Woodford County Diversity Inclusion and Equity webpage 

JCPS: Racial Equity Analysis Protocol (REAP)

Highlighted ​​DEIB Resources​ from Regional Cooperatives

teachNKY Blog post, Build your Knowledge, Elevate your Students

build your knowledge, elevate your students blog post 


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