Project I4: Innovate, Inquire, Iterate, and Impact: Igniting the Power of Networked Improvement Communities to Enhance Professional Learning for Educational Leaders
Project I4, which is funded by a $9.7M grant from the U.S. Department of Education focuses on K-12 school leaders and how they engage with STEM teachers in their schools to improve teaching preactices and academic discourse for equitable student outcomes.
I attended two separate week-long conferences at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC in July 2019 and via Zoom in July 2020.
From these experiences, I learned to better utilize evidence-based observation practices in math and science classrooms; to examine and revitalize principals'
conversations with teachers about improving instructional practices; and to re-imagine useful professional learning experiences for teachers.
North Central Association of Science Teacher Educators
October 12-13, 2019
I attended the regional meeting of the North Central Association of Science Teacher Educators. During this two-day conference, I was able to learn about many of the current research grant proposal submissions being considered for funding by the National Science Foundation.
This experience allowed me to network with and learn from those who had successfully recieved NSF funding and to accept feedback and critiques about the grant proposal that David Kimori and I plan to submit to the NSF entitled Racially Concious STEM Teaching: Teachers examine their implicit bias and develop culturally relavent curriculum and pedagogy.
Courageous Conversations Zoom Meetings
I attended several of the webinars that were offered by Pacific Educational Group. This weekly national conversation was hosted by Glenn Singleton and Brooke Gregory via Zoom. In it, participants enaged in conversations about race, social justice, creating a space and an environment for self-care and healing during the pandemic, and offered support for others around the country and in New Zealand who are doing racial equity work in education.
I was introduced to research and authors that have impacted my thinking and improved my practice and ability to better recognize systems of oppression and the often subtle but powerfully effective resistance to disrupting and dismantling these systems and replacing them with more racially equitable methods.
Reading, Studying, and Learning to Become a Better Leader for Racial Equity
I continue to expand my knowledge by purposeful research and reading about racial equity in education and best practices for andragogy. Through conversations, recommendations, and my own research, I am constantly presented with interesting and valuable material to aid me in my quest for information and improvement.
The gist of my learning is that even though there are definite gaps between students of color and white students, these gaps exist not because there is some sort of inherent deficit in students of color, but rather as a result of certain systems.
Reverend Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy at George Floyd's funeral. His quote exemplifies what I have come to learn about many unexamined aspects of the educational system. My hope is to effect change by bringing to light many of these unchallenged systems and to teach others to lead schools with racial equity knowledge and tools.
Below is an abridged list of the books I've read this past year related to racial equity in education.
“The reason why we’re marching all over the world is we were like George, we couldn’t breathe. Not because there was something wrong with our lungs, but because you wouldn’t take your knee off our neck. We don’t want no favors, just get up off of us and we can be and do whatever we can be.”
–Rev. Al Sharpton