Keeping the Focus on Equity Webinar Summary

On May 26, 2020, 40 educators and school and district leaders from across the country gathered virtually to discuss ways to keep their focus on race and equity during the Covid-19 pandemic. The session was inspired by similar gatherings hosted by Dr. Mary Anton since mid-March. Sponsored by the Reimagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools (RIDES) project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the session was organized and facilitated by Dr. Anton, Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson, and Dr. Lee Teitel. This “Highlights” summary captures the framing that was provided by the facilitators in the general session and in one of the breakout sessions. In subsequent postings we will try to capture some of the suggestions shared by the participants in other breakout sessions.

Dr. Anton opened by describing how the pandemic revealed and highlighted deep structural and racial inequities in our society in a way that created critical opportunities to reimagine schools with the racial and equity focus. Drawing on “now more than ever…” (Anton and Teitel, 2020) and using a graphic version, “keeping race… (Anton, Teitel, Williams 2020), Dr Anton outlined five approaches being used now by educators to keep race and equity on the table. See video 5:45-11:55

In her breakout session, Dr. Amante-Jackson built on this framework and backed up to provide some basic ideas about equity, privilege, and losses to set the stage for how schools and districts can develop the cultures that they need to effectively disrupt inequity. See videos 25:28-31:58

in response to a participant question, Amante-Jackson wondered aloud whether staff really understand what students and families are experiencing, and suggested “empathy check ins,” and reminded us how important it is for the adults in schools to do the personal equity work needed to lead this work for students. See video 34:10 to about 40:42

When a Latina director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at a predominantly white school wondered how she could share the data about inequities in the school without shaming the white administrators and making her feel even more like a token, Amante-Jackson made some suggestions for the work that white administrators needed to do. See video 52:52-about 58

In response to a white central office administrator wondering how to keep equity on the table, when her team was still developing the common definitions, Amante-Jackson suggested some ways of framing and pacing that work. See video 1:02 to 1:09

The three panelists shared their closing thoughts. See video 1:41-1:46

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Summary and videos will be posted soon...