Zachary Parker, an experienced coach with ANet District of Columbia, recently wrote to the school leaders he works with on the subject of equity.
For the past two years, ANet has reflected deeply around what race and equity mean for us as an organization and the broader field of education. Among the outcomes of this work—in addition to a greater appreciation for, sensitivity to, and genuine interest in the nuanced realities and perspectives of our 700+ school partners across the country—was the creation of our Advance Equity core value.
ANet’s Advance Equity core value reads:
We seek to understand the role of race, culture, socio-economics, and privilege in our partner schools and communities because we know that inequities persist. We actively reflect on our own and others’ experiences, perspectives, and identities. We take action grounded in our awareness to enhance the strength of our organization, deepen our partnership with schools, and positively impact students’ lives.
I share this because a recurring conversation among many of my team members is how ANet can better inform our schools of the deep work we are doing around race and equity. It is necessary work!
I also share this because, in response to the routine slaughter of black men in America’s streets at the hands of police, I (a black man) have personally and professionally challenged myself to 1) speak truth to power, 2) challenge systems of inequity and injustice, and 3) empower those around me to make a difference.
I have made strides personally; and while my work within the education reform arena is certainly contributing to a better future (especially for students of color), I haven’t been satisfied with the work I have managed to do with all of you to challenge systems of injustice.
Therefore, I am committing myself to sharing instructional resources that you could use to engage your students in rich conversations about our current, unjust reality and empower them to take positive action.
Here is a video of the great work teachers at Codman Academy Charter Public School are doing to bring real world context on race, equity, and police brutality into the classroom. Perhaps it might inspire you to incorporate similar topics in your history, social studies, or ELA classrooms.
While the instruction highlighted is a 12th grade class, similar activities can be scaffolded for younger grades. I am more than happy to serve as a thought partner with you and even support you in creating curricular materials to make this happen.
Thanks for reading this long email and for all you do for our students.