Social Justice and Equity Initiative

Social Justice and Equity Initiative

CES is committed to the belief that everyone is a learner and to our mission to develop and foster educational excellence and opportunities for all learners through collaboration and leadership. Our Social Justice and Equity work, begun in 2014, is specifically included in the priority areas of our 5-Year Strategic Plan (currently underway), crafted by CES leadership and Board members, and approved by the CES Board of Directors. It is also one of the major areas of our Values Statement.  All this reflects a recognition that SJE is mission-critical.

We understand that all forms of oppression are damaging. As we at CES set our sights on understanding and taking action together to challenge racism, we make space for the various identities we all have and the ways we are differently impacted by sexism, classism, heterosexism, transgender oppression, religious oppression, ableism, sizeism, and more. 

We are doing this work pro-actively and purposefully, with the intent of positive outcomes, and because we need to. In doing so, we are building capacity to support and assist educators, schools and districts responding to their students' needs with an increased and intentional focus on matters of bias, social justice, and equity, CES offers specialized training and facilitation as well as technical assistance for developing a plan to implement change in your organization. 

We recognize:

  • the importance of equality, cultural diversity, human dignity, social justice, and individual and group self-determination in accomplishing our mission;
  • education is faced with seemingly intractable and urgent issues of disparities in educational outcomes such as graduation rates, due to unfair and unequal treatment and access to resources;
  • inequality and injustices are deeply embedded in society’s political, social, educational, and economic structures and ideologies;
  • oppression results in the denial of human dignity, individual and cultural diversity, and social and economic justice disproportionately for some groups and, ultimately, for everyone; and
  • discrimination on the basis of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, education level, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age and disability, harms all of us on a daily basis.

SJE Planning Team Co-Chairs

Sherry Smith (Co-Chair and Director of Special Education) - ssmith@collaborative.org

Darnell Thigpen-Williams (Co-Chair and Associate Director of DYS Professional Development) - dwilliams@collaborative.org

Keri "Safire" DeJong (Co-Chair and Social Justice and Equity in Schools Consultant) - sdejong@collaborative.org

For more information, contact: 
Position: 
Interim Director of Professional Development
Phone: 
413.586.4900 x5926
Email: 
aburke@collaborative.org