Updates and Turtles

This blog post is provided as a source of information, updates, stories, resources, and more. Please continue to scroll down through the page to access all of the information provided: 1) updates, 2) resources, 3) stories of inspiration from our schools

Updates:

FYI: In case you didn’t know:

  • At this year’s NEA RA in July 2019 a new resolution was passed:
    • New I Resolution: White SupremacyThe National Education Association believes that, in order to achieve racial and social justice, educators must acknowledge the existence of White supremacy culture as a primary root cause of institutional racism, structural racism, and White privilege. Additionally, the Association believes that the norms, standards, and organizational structures manifested in White supremacy culture perpetually exploit and oppress people of color and serve as detriments to racial justice. Further, the invisible racial benefits of White privilege, which are automatically conferred irrespective of wealth, gender, and other factors, severely limit opportunities for people of color and impede full achievement of racial and social justice. Therefore, the Association will actively advocate for social and educational strategies fostering the eradication of institutional racism and White privilege perpetuated by White supremacy culture.
  • Also, NBI on Black Lives Matter:
    • NEA will promote the Black Lives Matter Week of Action in schools during Black History Month in 2019, using existing communications resources, specifically calling for clear efforts to demonstrate support for the three demands of the BLM Week of Action in schools:
      • 1) ending zero-tolerance policies and replacing them with Restorative Justice Practices,
      • 2) hiring and mentoring Black educators, and
      • 3) mandating that Ethnic Studies be taught in PK-12 schools in age-appropriate ways.

Resource Highlight: Code Switch Podcast– from SEA CRE Board Member, Uti Hawkins

“Code Switch conversations about race are centered on asking great questions and going to the community for answers. Topics range from pop culture, to history, to law. You can pick any episode and be surprised at how much you laugh and awe at how the conversation flows. Its a great entry point into race conversations for those who are gaining understanding or those needing to be re-energized. Many are accessible to high school students, too.”

Use this link to find out more: https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510312/codeswitch

Creating Change: Leschi Elementary Student Equity Teamreflection from SEA CRE Partner Coach, Danielle Guzman, educator at Leschi Elementary

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Recognizing:

It all started with a belief that student voice is as valuable as adult voice. “The Leschi Racial Equity Team (staff) had engaged in readings, discussions and meetings when we came to the conclusion we weren’t hearing from the most impacted voices – the students. We then developed the idea to have a Student Equity Team where the goals, learning and work would be lead by the students. We created a process for students to nominate themselves or others, present why they wanted to serve on the team and have their peers vote. Every class, Kindergarten – 5th grade has a representative and they meet 1 or more times a month to work on projects and learning that they have selected as important.

Overcoming barriers:

A challenge that we continue to face is how to cross collaborate with the Staff team with the Student team. One thing we have done is have some of the Equity Team students present at staff meetings to provide staff an overview of their current work. We’ve also filmed some of the students discussing their work and presented that as well. We continue to look for ways to have the Student team voice their work to the Staff team, and in return have the Staff team honor and uphold the Student team’s work.

Impact:

Students on the Equity Team have expressed a sense of ownership and belonging. They have created systems that are maintained and run by the students, for the students. For example, they created the Turtle Award – an award they give out to a student who they see “sticking their neck out for another”. The result has been a more student centered approach to considering topics and issues in our school that need to be addressed.