Two students during choice time


Somerville Public Schools is deeply committed to improving equity of opportunity and access for every student in our district. The department collaborates with educators, administrators, and community partners to develop workshops, professional development, and school improvement initiatives that support the development and continued creation of spaces of equity, belonging, safety, and bravery. One of the main focuses of the department is the teaching and learning of cross-cultural collaboration, developing instruction and curriculum that fosters social, emotional, academic growth for student.

The department’s focus complies with the Massachusetts Department of Secondary and Elementary Education vision for equity by 

  • working to create a diverse workforce 
  • having (strong) diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and practices 
  • supporting students in equitable access to curriculum 

The Department of Equity & Excellence works to ensure that the desired results and outcomes of the district align with the goals of the state, the city, and the school committee. 


The Department of Equity & Excellence has developed several tools to shape and direct the district’s vision and mission of creating, and maintaining, equitable spaces of teaching and learning for students, caregivers, and staff.

Annual Diversity Job Fair. The fair is designed to encourage and increase the number of applicants from underrepresented communities who apply for positions at SPS. The fair  also celebrates and highlights diversity and cross-collaborative work in our district. 

Professional Development (PD). The district offers professional development designed to improve practice, increase confidence and competence, illustrate high expectations for both teaching and learning, and provide the tools to reach those high expectations.

  • Every new educator participates in a two-hour orientation around the expectations for equitable practices in the district. All second year educators take a six-hour course that focuses on culturally-responsive teaching.  
  • Educators work in professional learning communities to share best practices, determine areas of strength and areas of opportunity for growth, and identify goals and accountability measures that support equitable access to learning.
  • Affinity Groups, which provide spaces for staff to connect with each other and work together to identify ways to enhance curriculum and school environment. The groups then work directly with the equity team to implement changes.

Monthly Educator Newsletter. The newsletter highlights best practices, activities, tools, materials, resources for growth and reflection, and a “clickable calendar” that includes  multi-cultural events celebrated by members of our community. 

Inclusive Vocabulary List. This list acts as a style guide, that helps staff members communicate more equitably and understand the ever-changing use and impact of words.

Membership in AMSEL. The Association of Massachusetts School Equity Leaders works to share ideas and practices to help districts to improve their practice, help people to overcome challenges, and celebrate the joy of equity, inclusion, diversity, and belonging work. Somerville is a proud member of AMSEL


Diagram of staff structure for Equity Department. Top is Director of Equity & Excellence. Under this position sits district-wide equity coach and school-based equity specialists (1 per school). Under the equity specialists sits school-based equity teams

Director of Equity & Excellence, Caeli Gallitano (Bio and Photo)

District Equity Coach. The equity coach, similar to an academic coach, supports educators in different disciplines. Particular to the work of equity, our coach supports and guides educators in equitable practices. The coach does this through consultancy sessions, coaching cycles, and demonstrating equitable practices that can be applied to classroom lessons, and activities.

School-based Equity Specialists and Equity Teams. The Equity Specialist at each school has a team of 3-8 members who support a positive school culture rooted in respect, acceptance, and growth for our young people as both students and human beings. The action plans and activities developed by each of the Equity Specialists and their Equity teams reflect the plans of  each of the[ir] schools to improve student learning, both socially and emotionally, and academically, as well build a stronger, healthier, more engaging sense of community in each of the schools.  The work that is being developed by the Equity Teams in each school reflects the overarching goal of the district and the Department of Equity & Excellence to provide educators with the tools they need to build knowledge, confidence, and understanding to better support the students - and each other - in academic and emotional growth, and increase a sense of agency and belonging.  The overarching goal of the district and department has been modified to meet the individual needs of each school. 


What We (SPS) Stand For document. All educators get this document as part of their new educator on-boarding process. 

SPS Department of Equity & Excellence Monthly Newsletters

SPS Inclusive Vocabulary list

Our central, guiding texts:

Somerville Public Schools Equity Policy: Somerville Public Schools Equity Policy Adopted by the Somerville School Committee, November 2019