Building Equity Teams
Addressing inequities in schools requires that adults and young people work together to explore, assess, and transform school culture. This kind of equity work supports each participant to learn and reflect on their own role in maintaining the current school culture; considers academic and policy issues that contribute to inequity; examines the issues that contribute to a sense of belonging and exclusion in the school; and fosters the skills and commitment needed to build joyful, relational, inclusive, and academically rigorous learning spaces.
CES provides a highly skilled and racially diverse co-facilitation team to walk your equity team through this important, complex, and intersectional work. We work closely with an equity-focused point person in the district and provide support materials for recruiting and structuring the equity team. The point person should be able to take care of logistics and be a person with key relationships and some decision making authority within the district. This work is offered in virtual, in-person, and hybrid structures.
Move at the speed of trust. Focus on critical connections more than critical mass–build the resilience by building the relationships.”
– adrienne maree brown (2021)
In order to ensure that stakeholders from across the school community are involved, one of the first steps is to convene a team comprised of stakeholders that include students, caregiversparents, educatorsteCachers, and leadersadministrators which meets monthly to:
- Build a team that can openly and effectively discuss the relevant equity and belonging issues in the school and community.
- Develop a plan for this team to assess equity and belonging issues in the school which might include community dialogue/sfocus groups; listening sessions, curriculum review, policy review using an equity framework.
- Develop a plan of action to implement sustainable change that includes all stakeholder groups.
We recommend that members of this team be identified through a thorough recruitment and application process conducted by a point person in the school district and supported by facilitators from CES. Members should be people who have the capacity to participate in an initial 2-day training/orientation and then meet monthly to continue the work. Equity team members must be willing to productively engage in a relational, respectful, and dialogic process with each other, with students, and with other members of the school community. These team members will also commit to working on this project in-between meetings in dedicated workgroups.
This kind of equity work:
- supports each participant to learn and reflect on their own role in maintaining the current school culture and personal capacity for creating change;
- considers academic and policy issues that contribute to inequity;
- examines the issues and assets that contribute to a sense of belonging, and exclusion, and agency in the school; and
- fosters the skills and commitment needed to build joyful, relational, inclusive, and academically rigorous learning spaces.
Equity Team Outline
(2 full days with 2 facilitators)
Orientation preparation and design: A diverse co-facilitation team to design this foundational relationship-building and data-driven, 2-day orientation specifically for your school district; Logistics to be conducted by a point-person from the district:
- Engage in team building and establish a process and practicesagreements for brave conversations
- Learn about the known equity issues in the school district (this sections developed in collaboration with building/district leadersadministrators)
- Set the stage for a loving and critical reflection
- Collaboratively develop goals for the coming year
- This time is flexible and customizable based on each individual district’s schedule and needs
2. Monthly Workgroup Meetings
(2 hours each)
- Includes our team co-planning and co-facilitating monthly 2-hour equity team meetings that build collective reflection, inquiry, and sustainable action. Participants will need to be supported by a point person at the schools to keep work moving in between meetings (some groups do weekly 1-hour sub-working group meetings in between); Logistics for meetings and other events associated with this committee are to be conducted by a point-person from the school district.
- CES facilitators provide individual/small-group check-ins to support sustaining group capacity, relationships, and equity work
3. (Optional) Professional Development, Coaching/Technical Assistance
- There are goals that the equity team may want to implement that require additional support. For example, professional development workshops, affinity groups, classroom observation, community dialogues/listening sessions, curriculum review, student equity action-research projects, etc. would require additional preparation and support.