Principal - May/June 2021 - 48

E XPLORING

Equity
Listen to Your Community

Taking the First Steps

One of the best ways to identify the
needs of the community you serve
is to develop avenues for regular,
transparent, and open communication
with stakeholders. To build trust and
relationships with the people you are
trying to understand better, you will
need to find ways to safely give different groups a voice they might not
have had in the past.
You might start with different focus
or affinity groups. You could suggest a
coffee and chat for parents or a lunchand-learn with groups of students.
Check out the Code Switch podcast
for ideas as you work to incorporate a
broader variety of historically underrepresented voices.

Learn How You Relate to Race
Embracing practices that advance equity will take multiple
resources and an extended effort from school leadership
BY SHAUN CAMPBELL

L

eading a school community down the long road
toward equity can be intimidating. It's difficult to know
the best way to start challenging systems that have
been in place for generations. Fortunately, there
are resources school leaders can use to adjust the ways in
which they lead and exercise more control over the school
processes that might have created barriers in the past.
In leading the quest for equity, a great place to start is
with yourself. It is crucial for you to be clear and resolute in
your belief that this is important work so that you are able
to communicate that vision to your stakeholders.
Your rationale might be different from that of your
colleagues. You might be aware of inequities in school data
and wish to improve outcomes for your students, while others might say that it is an obligation to create and maintain
systems that eliminate barriers and ensure that all students
have the same access. Neither answer is wrong, but part of
your work is to know what's bringing staff and families to
the table.

*

48

M A Y / J U N E 2 0 2 1 * N A E S P. O R G

Part of understanding the challenges
in the community you serve is to learn
as much as you can about the historical barriers that the underserved
face. Then, learn what it means to be
an anti-racist to better identify your
personal relationship with race and
to use these perspectives to inform
your journey. Good resources for this
effort include the books So You Want
to Talk About Race, The Guide for White
Women Who Teach Black Boys, Why Are
All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the
Cafeteria?, How to Be an Anti-Racist, and
White Fragility.
Whether you come from a place
of privilege or not, talking about race
can be uncomfortable. It will also be
difficult for you to hear criticism about
your school or programs-especially if you had no control over those
decisions. Don't let that stop you,
though-lean into the discomfort.
Read Courageous Conversations About
Race if you need support in engaging
in meaningful discourse.


https://www.sealpress.com/titles/ijeoma-oluo/so-you-want-to-talk-about-race/9781580058827/ https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/the-guide-for-white-women-who-teach-black-boys/book252451 https://www.sealpress.com/titles/ijeoma-oluo/so-you-want-to-talk-about-race/9781580058827/ https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/beverly-daniel-tatum/why-are-all-the-black-kids-sitting-together-in-the-cafeteria/9781541616585/ https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/the-guide-for-white-women-who-teach-black-boys/book252451 https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/beverly-daniel-tatum/why-are-all-the-black-kids-sitting-together-in-the-cafeteria/9781541616585/ https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/beverly-daniel-tatum/why-are-all-the-black-kids-sitting-together-in-the-cafeteria/9781541616585/ https://www.ibramxkendi.com/how-to-be-an-antiracist/ http://www.beacon.org/White-Fragility-P1631.aspx https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/courageous-conversations-about-race/book242855 https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/courageous-conversations-about-race/book242855 http://www.NAESP.ORG

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