From reducing suspensions to engaging families, 17 things superintendents can do to combat racism

Jeff Duncan-Andrade is listed as an essential author for superintendents and/or teachers to read in order to properly prepare to confront racism in classrooms and schools. Among Duncan-Andrade were other notable social justice activists and writers on race, such as: James Baldwin, Michelle Alexander, Ta-Nahisi Coates, and Pedro Noguera. The author of the article, Joshua Starr, who has been a superintendent of diverse schools in Stamford, Connecticut and Montgomery County, Maryland, shares a list of strategies that he has used, succeeded in, failed at, and hopes can be implemented someday as requirements in schools to tackle institutionalized racism.

He believes that it’s an educator’s responsibility to confront racism in the classroom, and suggests the following ways to prepare (as a summary): (1) read authors who have pioneered race conversations and progressive education; (2) look at policies in your district; (3) clarify your message and core values in your district; (4) review curriculum content carefully and collaboratively; (5) “Review employee turnover data and flag patterns where there’s disproportionality”; (6) reduce suspensions – immediately! (7) review the school budget and see if resources are truly meeting student needs; (8) engage with and be influenced by the community and families; (9) listen to and respond to student voices and experiences; (10) listen to the voices and experiences of teachers and other supportive leaders; (11) “Negotiate equity, social-emotional learning, and cultural competency into formal evaluation systems”; (12) value and respect relationships within the classroom, and make it clear that learning it impossible without love as a foundation; (13) “Analyze your data to determine whether non-academic needs are getting in the way of student achievement” (for example, consider in-school meals, after school programs, etc. ); (14) make sure that students aren’t being tracked, and if they are, make it public and make it stop; (15) pay attention to the well-being of students and staff; (16) never stop learning, even as a superintendent or established educator; and (17) “Don’t be afraid to get fired for standing up for what you believe in.”

Read the full article here.

Afeni Shakur Blessed Oakland’s New Roses In Concrete School, Founding Member Karega Bailey Releases Video For ‘Hope Dealer

Karega Bailey released a new song and video, “Hope Dealer”, and discusses it largely as an anthem for Roses in Concrete Community School, of which he is the Director of Special Education as well as a leader of the arts program. Speaking about the song’s message, Bailey says, “Hope dealing requires the hope dealer to give portions that others may see as fatiguing, but that is the cost to disrupt hopelessness,” a phenomenon to which he contributes – along with all other RiC teachers and staff – significantly.
 

 
Read the full article and click here to read more about Karega Bailey.

You Can’t Kill the Revolution: Davey D on Tupac’s Mother, Afeni Shakur

 

Author, Davey D. Cook, writes a beautiful tribute to Afeni Shakur – beloved mother of Tupac Shakur, a member of the Black Panther Party, a lifelong activist for her community, and a supporter of and inspiration to the Roses in Concrete Community School. The article is a lovely testament to Afeni’s relationship with her son, whose poem, “The Rose that Grew from Concrete” serves as the foundation for Roses in Concrete’s values and goals. The staff and students at RiC were lucky enough to meet Afeni in her later life when she paid a couple visits to the school.

NCTAF Commissioners DeBose & Duncan-Andrade Among Great Educators Invited to the White House on National Teacher Appreciation Day

Jeff Duncan-Andrade was invited to and attended the National Teacher Appreciation Day at the White House in May as a member of The National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future (NCTAF). President Obama honored Jahana Hayes as 2016 Teacher of the Year and acknowledged both Jeff Duncan-Andrade and his fellow commissioner and educator Geneviève DeBose.

Read about this incredible honor in full here.

New twist to tech donations: Google promotes racial justice

Google became part of the movement for racial justice this year by awarding $1.75 million dollars to Bay Area schools confronting systemic racism. Roses in Concrete, alone, was granted $750,000. Other grants went to San Francisco Unified’s My Brother and Sister’s Keeper program, the African American Male Achievement program in Oakland, and programs supporting first-generation college students.

Read the full details of the donations here.

Student-teacher bond integral to professor’s proposed school

Read about what fueled and inspired Roses in Concrete founder, Jeff Duncan-Andrade, to turn his visions of a just, thoughtful educational environment into a reality. Jeff believes in an individualized approach to education – a recognition of each student as their own person with their own needs that must be considered, their own abilities that can be utilized, their own voice that needs to be heard – which he plans to teach to the educators at the Roses in Concrete Community School. Jeff believes in the wraparound approach in education, which will be practiced at Roses because no child can learn in a classroom if they’re hungry, unsafe, or unhappy with themselves. Under the community school approach and Jeff’s vision, the school must take the needs of the community into consideration when mapping out its pedagogical methods.

Roses in Concrete will be a research ground for finding out how to grow great teachers. Through such learning, it, too, will hopefully be a breeding ground for future teachers with the ability to transform the public school system in Oakland and beyond. Read the full article for more details about Duncan-Andrade and the ongoing plans for Roses in Concrete.

Oakland school will train teachers to nurture ‘roses in concrete’

“Duncan-Andrade’s passion for improving the lives of his students and frustration with the public education system have compelled him to embark on a new project: establishing the Roses in Concrete Community School, where educators will be trained to engage with each student as an individual.” The school will address broken infrastructure that leads to misallocation of resources that leave urban public schools suffering. There will be a focus, too, on pedagogical methods; RiC will be an opportunity to do research on the best teaching practices by witnessing them act in the classroom. Unlike other charter schools, Roses will be specifically educating underserved kids from the vulnerable community of East Oakland. Students will not be turned away for any previous lack of performance in a school system that does not acknowledge or address their history and environment. The school and everyone involved emphasize community and family above all else.

Click here to read the full article.

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