What's New? District Action for Equity

  • Dr. Lisa McCall, Assistant Superintendent and Zinnia Un, District Equity Coordinator are hosting an Inquiry for an Equity Problem: Hate Speech at TTSD

    In September, we hosted a two part listening session process. First was for Staff, Teachers, Administrators, and Family, Second was Students and Family. 

    In October, this information was brought to Building and District Leaders and framed improvement inquiry to address this persistent problem. 

    • Administrators unpacked the question: "Hate Speech in TTSD is a persistent problem that has and continues to impact all users in the system."
    • Systemic Oppression, Systemic Apathy, Lack of understanding of problem, Lack of Empathy for those impacted, Lack of Skills to Address, Normalized by Media, Community Impact, Lack of Parent Partnership in process

    In November a review of the process was the topic of a Board Work Session: 

    Hate Speech is a Complex Issue and Is Controversial 

    Homework: Please pick one article and be ready to share a few important takeaways

    Black Minds Matter - Teaching Tolerance impact on young black minds - Statistics on Impact

    It’s time to completely Ban the N-Word in Schools

    No, Hate Speech Doesn’t violate the First Amendment

    Hate Speech is on the Rise

    Can Project based Learning and Professional Learning Communities Counter Hate Speech?

    Readings Summary

    Hate Speech is a Symptom not a Root Cause

    Avoiding the Band-aid Solution - This is not a Quick Fix Problem and Requires a Response that Recognizes the complexity of Transformational Change

     S. Kaner’s Chapter 1 about explaining the Diamond of Decision-Making where the Groan Zone happens when bringing a diverse group of people together that have varying perspectives in their roles and identities within the broader community. 

    What were the expectations of addressing Hate Speech?

    Themes Across Stakeholders Board, Administrator, Staff, Students, and Families

    1. Clear expectations about hate speech and what to do, are we prioritizing this as a safety and well being issue?
    2. Teach about the impact and empathy for others as a community
    3. Zero indifference about the impact and know that it includes interpersonal, system, and structural consequences if left unaddressed
    4. Control and Compliance is not enough to address this complex human problem 
    5. Courage and Models of interrupting hate speech and indignities for those in our community 
    6. All stakeholders need to be involved in this process, specifically students as critical partners in this work.

    Dr. McCall and Zinnia hosted a processing session for the Board: 

    Our priorities are highlighting the root cause

      • Human Capital and Talent- diversifying our Teaching force to be more proportionate to our students body
      • SEL - Social emotional learning - a healthier humanized educational system for all stakeholders and learning community
      • Culturally Responsive School Leadership and Culturally Responsive Teaching- Critical Awareness and Consciousness
    • We can’t address what we can’t measure 
      • What do we currently know about how hate speech is impacting students in our school communities and the frequency of it happening?
      • Is there a current system of data collection?
      • How will our community understand that this is an important part of our current priorities?

     How will this be an ongoing discussion? Who will be a part of this discussion moving forward?

    Next Steps: Director Fox and Director Bowman will work on a statement to bring back to the Board at a later session. Further conversations about Policy and Practice at our next Session in December - Meeting pushed to After Winter Break.  

    Secondary Director Amber Fields and Dr. McCall informed the Board about a Levels Review for any Hate Speech or Racialized incidents. This information will be brought back to the Board in December focused on Follow Through and Follow up.  

     January 2020 Reviewed Internal Data and Communication with Administrators 

    Staff Pillar Update: Building Equity Coordinators and members of Equity Leadership Team, were planning "Leading with Identity" Conference to address affirming and sustaining stance on identity and connect with and honor the strengths students bring into our schools with their lived experience to develop a community of leaders across staff and students. Proactive Equity Stance. 

    Student Pillar Update: Students worked with Equity Leadership teams at the High Schools to plan and organize Unity Day. 

    Family Pillar and Community Pillar update: TTSD continued to bring communities together to inform the decision-making process and priorities for School Funding and Initiatives that advance Equity work that lead to equitable and culturally relevant and responsive practices. SIA process and Budget Process.

    January 2020: Using the feedback and information from Hate Speech Process to guide and anchor SIA work - Reinforcing Diversification of workforce, Social Emotional Wellness, and Culturally Responsive Leadership and Teaching. Centering community voices as contributors to decision-making process for policy and practices. Continued work to support affinity alliance groups and amplifying student voices through cross-school partnerships with TuHs BSU. Family Partnership Committee highlighted the need to support THS to activate and support BSU group. 

    February 2020: Statement Presented at Board Work Session @ Bridgeport Elementary's  Board Members Statement re: Hate Speech

    • TTSU connected with Equity Pillar Leaders to Vet Proposal for Unity Day 

    March 2020: Slated Unity Day was canceled due to COVID-19

    • Leading through Identity Summit was scheduled to share at Board Meeting - Canceled due to COVID-19

    April 2020: Slated Leading with Identity was canceled due to COVID-19

    May:

    •  Cabinet and SIA Planning Team reviewed and Prioritized Equity Initiatives for SIA funding Shortfall. SIA Budget Planning to support the impact of Social Emotional Wellness of   students specifically historically underserved and underrepresented students (Black, Indigenous, LatinX and Pacific Islander) was recommended by SIA through prioritization of     SIA funds and guiding District Decision-Making process for Strategic Financial planning.

     

    • Review of students Feedback about Current Events and Distance Learning - Feedback from Affinity and Alliance Groups highlighted the pain and impact of historical racism that is present today in the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. BSU Presidents demanded change.

    June: TTSU and Board Members crafted a resolution that was brought forth to the Board Work SessionThe Anti-Racist Resolution was passed 4 to 1 during the Board Meeting

    Board Members will be working on the Hate Speech Policy and District Team will be working on Administrative Rules, Keep up to date here.