Family and community resources for supporting public schools to engage in equity, inclusion, and anti-bias initiatives.
What equity framework might you/your group choose to operate from? – link to Equity Frameworks (Hammond, 2017)
Consider using comprehensive resource sets from organizations like:
The Equity Project – Resources Link
Engaging families and community members in a school walk through with a focus on culturally, responsive teaching, school climate, and/or inclusion can be an eye-opening experience to launch an equity initiative in a school and then return to monitor progress toward school-wide goals. A few examples of these walk through tools are linked below.
- Culturally Responsive Teaching School Walkthrough Guide Link
- Index for Inclusion – Full Guide Link | Parent Survey Link
- American School Climate Inventory – iPhone App | Android App | Paper Version
Teaching Tolerance has been a foundational organization for school communities to engage in deep equity and anti-bias education. See a few highlights of their free online resources below.
- Posters & Visual Resources
- Film Kits
- Searchable Database of Readings for Children/Students (requires to create a free account to access)
One final idea – make it real with stories and short articles. One examples linked below.
We have the opportunity to tap into the wisdom of our feelings.
When I feel angry, I have the opportunity to pay attention to what the feeling might be telling me.
What am I angry about? What important pathway is blocked? What closely held values are being violated or ignored? What conditions need to be changed? What danger do I sense and want to protect myself or others from in this situation?
I have learned over the past year to breath deeply, to pull back my shoulder blades and open up to a more relaxed posture when I sense that anger is present in my body, mind, and heart. My mouth may feel dry, my pulse quickening , and a feeling of heat or general agitation suddenly appear in my body. I am learning to condition my body to respond to anger with curiosity and openness so that I might learn more about the source of this very powerful feeling.
More often than not, the source of my anger is institutional, but it manifests in individual professionals and parents in city schools. I am often angry about the condition of schools, the mindset of adults who see children and families as less than, the insidious nature of privilege and our inability to see and value others who have radically different views and experiences from our own.
I am curious about how we can learn ways to see our anger as productive to justice-centered endeavors. A few starting points are linked below.
Blog header image from Getty Images
Emotions drive our actions, and developing our capacity to make space for exploring our own emotionscapes gives us greater agency in directing our energies in purposeful pursuit of our goals. Becoming smarter with feelings (EQ – emotional intelligence) is a pursuit I have recently devoted a significant amount of energy to both professionally and personally.
I have found increasingly in my work that many schools in America have normalized an enormous amount of toxic stress into the culture of teaching and learning for children and adults alike. The effect takes a toll on school administrators, educators, children, and parents in ways that change the development and functioning of our individual and collective brains, severely impacting opportunities for student learning.
What is also true is about stress in schools is that it can unlock new capacities in both children and adults, depending on their access to knowledge coming from recently established fields such as neuroeducation.
Are you a school administrator or district administrator? Spend 25 minutes in your next meeting with administrators or educators watching and discussing this video:
McGonigal’s talk alerts us the opportunities that the neurohormone oxytocin releases in us – it stimulates us to reach out to others to whom we feel positively related during times of stress. Research suggests that our bodies are hard-wired to seek out those whom we trust and that responding with empathy and caring to others builds resiliency and may be positively related to many positive health outcomes.
My work in schools and my review of recent research confirms for me that learning the science of empathy, resiliency, and stress is indeed where we need to direct our energy. Attending to emotional wellness in schools is a critical next step for administrators, educators, and parents to take together.
For more resources related to emotional wellness in schools, please visit the Social Emotional Learning Resource Board linked below.