August 10, 2016 ricadmin

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.

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