As a staff, we've been taking time for Equity and Anti-Racism professional development throughout this school year. Our principal has been using the book, Everyday Anti-Racism to guide the staff's conversation. It can be a challenge to have these deeper conversations at the end of a tiring week, but it has been valuable for our staff to go on this journey together.
Read a description of the book below:
Which acts by educators are “racist” and which are “antiracist”? How can an educator constructively discuss complex issues of race with students and colleagues? In Everyday Antiracism leading educators deal with the most challenging questions about race in school, offering invaluable and effective advice.
Contributors including Beverly Daniel Tatum, Sonia Nieto, and Pedro Noguera describe concrete ways to analyze classroom interactions that may or may not be “racial,” deal with racial inequality and “diversity,” and teach to high standards across racial lines. Topics range from using racial incidents as teachable moments and responding to the “n-word” to valuing students’ home worlds, dealing daily with achievement gaps, and helping parents fight ethnic and racial misconceptions about their children. Questions following each essay prompt readers to examine and discuss everyday issues of race and opportunity in their own classrooms and schools. For educators and parents determined to move beyond frustrationies about race, Everyday Antiracism is an essential tool.
Today our principal asked us to discuss ways in which our school is actively showing equity and anti racism. Every small group decided that our school's work with RtI actively promoted anti-racism, and I whole heartily agree.
RtI (Response to Intervention) allows us to do away with referrals (which could potentially be rooted in institutional racism), and moves us to look at the student data. This model helps us to look at the students that have the greatest need, not just the students we may assume have the greatest need. It also promotes the mindset that we should give students the supports that they need to be successful- even if they need different support than their peers.
I've participated in (and led) many diversity talks throughout my time as an educator-- But the work we're doing as a school has challenged me to be more pro-active in preventing racism, especially at my school site.
Has your school done any work with Equity and Anti-Racism? What evidence could you point to that your school is a school that is actively trying to be anti-racist? I know we still have a long way to go...
Be well! Read on!