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“Exploring Equity and Excellence” is a virtual learning series designed to support educators and school communities in achieving educational equity and excellence. If an integral component of a school’s mission is to ensure that all students have equal access to high-quality, educational opportunities and the support or resources they need to succeed, then how do we create a safe, supportive, and courageous space to examine and think critically about this important topic? By engaging in collaborative inquiry, the primary goal of this workshop is to provide a lens for examining what is at the center of our school cultures and for ensuring that every member of our school community feels respected and represented in that center. Other goals include . . .
- Understanding how our educational goals of excellence and equity are intricately interwoven
- Developing a deeper understanding of how school culture works—and impacts our student outcomes
- Identifying strategies for shifting cultural norms to better align with our school mission and values
- Investigating how issues such as racism and bias can present obstacles to the full inclusion of students
- Examining our systemic policies, practices, and curriculum from a strengths-based, equity mindset
- Exploring opportunities for centering the voices of those in our school communities who may have felt marginalized in the past and whose experiences can inform our ongoing progress
- Collaborating to identify barriers to progress and to create action steps for ensuring everyone in the school community feels respected and represented at the center of our cultural norms
Why explore educational equity and excellence?
Somewhere in the mission statement of most schools, there is often a reference to ALL students. In reality, we know however that our education systems are often falling short of success with large numbers of children. Reversing these trends requires a collective effort and a sense of critical urgency to explore what we mean by educational equity and excellence—and to examine reflective questions as members of a school community. Such questions include . . .
An additional objective of the workshop is to model how these important topics can be examined collaboratively in a school community—including with staff, students, and community members. For this important exploration, our lead facilitators are . . .
Deirdre Williams, Ed.D. is the founder and Chief Bridge Builder of the U-Bridge Consulting Group and has an impressive educational leadership history. She is a former biology teacher and was a turnaround principal with the Apollo 20 initiative in Houston Independent School District, the eighth largest district in the nation. Her career began in public health, where she led the Centers for Disease Control research studies of HIV/AIDS and its impact on marginalized communities in Houston, TX. She learned from her research that a quality education or the lack thereof was the contributing factor to diseases plaguing poor communities. She combines her skills in education, public health research and evaluation to support leaders with changing their organization cultures and improving learning outcomes for all students. Deirdre has served in several educational leadership roles including the Executive Director of the School Reform Initiative, the premier source for professional development and resources related to creating transformational learning communities fiercely committed to educational equity and excellence. Under her leadership the organization supported districts across the country with building equity bridges to engage student and community voices in the development of equity policy and programs to eliminate gaps in student outcomes.
Anastacia M.G. Reed
Anastacia M.G. Reed has spent over a decade as classroom teacher of science and outdoor education, houseparent at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center, supported schools, districts, and non-profit organizations in implementing equitable transformational change. She is fiercely committed to creating equitable outcomes for all students, while supporting organizations in reaching these outcomes. By building on their current strengths and successes, Anastacia has coached districts in leading for equity, trauma-informed pedagogy, project-based learning, literacy across the curriculum, cultivating a trusting & collaborative culture, dismantling white supremacy, creating statewide metrics for evaluation, and starting charter schools. Strengths-based leadership, asset-based facilitation, principles of Critical Friendship, and embodied leadership are some of the many tools Anastacia has honed throughout the years. Nationally, Anastacia has worked with education leaders on school reform and facilitated workshops at national conferences for organizations such as School Reform Initiative, Coalition of Essential Schools, Future Focused Education, and Big Picture Learning, while also supporting change initiatives in New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Vermont, New Hampshire, California, Colorado, Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Arizona & Georgia. Anastacia is an embodied leadership coach, aspiring anti-racist educator, entrepreneur, & mom.
“Perhaps our missions and commitments are never truly secured for any one group or individual, unless they are proven to be afforded to all individuals.”
– Craig Martin, Executive Director Pegasus Springs Education Collective