Let us lead and teach love, with love
In this week’s issue of Hey It’s Danae, we feature a guest blogger, my friend Rashida Evans. Rashida is a talented school leader and Chief Program Officer at Schools that Can (STCM) who has been making a huge difference in how our school leaders are coached to be the best leaders they can be with a particular focus on building successful, respectful and inspiring school culture in all of our school sectors. More than anything, Rashida is authentic with our children and young people -- leading and coaching them to be their best selves and preparing them to take their rightful place in society.
STCM did an amazing professional development program focused on race, ethnicity and community and the roles our school leaders can and should play in ensuring racism, and the other “isms” are not present in our schools.
In light of this past weekend’s awful events in Charlottesville, North Carolina and the hugely disturbing divisiveness and encouraging of violence in our nation, the focus by STCM on topics of racial equity and respect for differences was quite timely. I was thrilled and moved by the choice STCM made to prepare our school leaders to lead to goodness for all of our children through this professional development experience. In addition to reading Rashida’s blog, please listen to her interview on NPR.
See you soon,
Just three weeks ago, STCM hosted our annual Network Leader Training, our annual event designed to bring our leaders together for a shared learning experience. The event brought together over 100 leaders from all educational sectors, district, charter and private to discuss issues of race and equity in the classroom. The 2 day experience opened with leaders sharing their racial autobiographies with each other. The activity asked each person in the room to think about when they first became aware of race. The conversations were very personal and allowed leaders to see themselves and each other more deeply. Most importantly, leaders were able to connect their experiences back to the work with our students, seeing and thinking of them more holistically. While the self-reflection was a highlight, leaders were also able to examine equity in the teaching of standards by looking at how and how much we are asking students to think and the opportunities students have to bring their experiences and opinions into the classroom. In some cases, we are all surprised to learn that what we considered high expectations, weren’t high at all and that there was room for all of us to better honor our students’ brilliance in the classroom.
At the time of our gathering, we had no way of knowing the disheartening events of Charlottesville would happen. This weekend confirmed for me that our schools must model the world we wish for our children. A world that accepts them just as they are and consistently messages to them that they matter. The work that we all do every day is to create and contribute to a better tomorrow for our students. This means that it is more important than ever that we prepare our students for the mental and intellectual battles that are needed to transform their world. It means we have to lead and teach like lives are depending on it because they absolutely are.
Nelson Mandela’s words have been ringing all over the internet this weekend because they are more important than ever: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”
Let us lead and teach love, with love,
Chief Program Officer
Schools That Can