Update on Race and Equity Work at FirstLine Schools
As we work toward becoming an antiracist organization, it is important that we maintain transparency throughout this process and provide updates when available. We have recently partnered with an organization called Overcoming Racism to help guide our antiracism work. In that partnership, we will select two annual priorities to address across our network. To better understand what these priorities should be, we have given staff and families the opportunity to fill out a survey selecting from a list of priorities. We know that step one in this process is providing a space for all of our stakeholders’ voices to be heard when we consider how we will move forward with this important work.
All of our employees are reading Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race in School, an excellent collection of essays that provides a blueprint for dismantling systemic racism in our schools. We are engaging in small group discussions on these essays, learning together how to become agents of equality for the children we serve.
Some employees are also participating in breakout groups, reading and discussing other texts, and participating in national trainings and affinity groups, such as one for White leaders working on antiracism. We bring this new awareness into our work and share it with our teams.
Below are a few other actions we are taking to continue on our path to becoming an antiracist organization:
- We are working with our teachers on how to listen to students without offering our opinions and emotions, making our schools safe places for student voices as well as their bodies and spirits.
- All of our staff are engaged in training on Culturally Responsive Teaching, an asset-based approach that honors students’ ethnic and cultural identities, which enhances student achievement and promotes self-esteem.