Evidence-Based Practices for Equity in Social and Emotional Learning
Ruth Sebastian: Wonderful. We will now begin the webinar and start recording. Welcome to the webinar, Evidence-Based Practices for Equity and Social and Emotional Learning. Good afternoon. My name is Ruth Sebastian from WestEd. I am joined today by my colleagues Shazia Hashmi, L.A. Nix, and Shaun Ali, who will be providing technical assistance and support throughout the webinar. It is a pleasure for us to be here today.
This webinar is brought to you by the Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety with WestEd. As we prepare to begin the webinar, there are a few logistics and technical issues we would like to share with you. If you cannot hear audio or have trouble with your audio, please call 669-900-6833, and enter the webinar ID 95364157581.
Throughout the webinar, we encourage you to engage in the chat, look for the flashing orange alert, which will take you to the chat. Please take a minute to change the default on your chat from panelists to all panelists and attendees so that everyone can see your responses and comments throughout the webinar. Otherwise, your post will only be sent to the presenters.
Closed Captions are made available during the webinar as well. Closed Captions may be accessed by clicking on the icon in the toolbar. Today’s webinar will be recorded. All participants will be muted, and your videos can remain off to avoid bandwidth issues. At the end of the webinar, we will send the PowerPoint and the survey link. The webinar recording will be made available in a few weeks. And now I’d like to introduce Natalie Walrond, the Director of the Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety. Natalie?
Natalie Walrond: Hi everybody. Welcome to today’s webinars hosted by the Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety, or as our Center team affectionately refers to it, CISELSS. My name is Natalie Walrond and I serve as the Director.
We’re delighted to be in fellowship with you all today to explore effective, innovative, evidence-based, and data driven practices for equitable SEL, school climate and wellbeing. Last fall, our Center developed a compendium called Integrating Social and Emotional Learning throughout the School System, a Compendium of Resources for District Leaders.
We had two big hopes for the web — for the Compendium. We wanted to illuminate some of the many evidence-based resources in SEL and school climate, developed by thought leading agencies and organizations, and offered at no cost to education practitioners. Additionally, we wanted to provide a well-organized tool for practitioners to identify the resources you all need to implement data driven cycles of improvement for SEL and wellbeing.
We’re thinking of the Compendium as a living document. Our intention is to update it every six months or so as new evidence-based tools, resources and guides are published. So, the first two goals you see here for this webinar are related to the Compendium. First, we wanted to introduce the Compendium to you. My colleague, Shazia, is going to now share it into the chat if she hasn’t already done so. If you click on the link, it should pop up in your browser window so that you all have it handy.
Our second big goal today is to help make the resources and practices described in the Compendium more vivid through this panel discussion. So, I’m delighted that the center has been able to bring to the stage three fabulous practitioners who are currently or have recently been district leaders for wellbeing and equity. They’ll share their own experiences, the successes and the challenges, hopefully, with adopting evidence-based practices and using data to improve wellbeing and advance equitable outcomes for young people in their districts.
Finally, our last goal is that even though we have, you know, 350 people on this webinar today, that this will be a bidirectional experience. So, in addition to periodic opportunities to engage in conversation with the panelists, we’ll administer a few very quick polls, so that our Center leadership can learn from you about your own effective and innovative strategies for using data to inform your practice and to strive toward equity.
So, I am now going to begin by just introducing our three fabulous panelists and I’m going to start on the left of the screen, and move left to right so, Dr. Angela Ward is with us today. She is a mother, wife, and internationally recognized anti-racist educator with over 25 years of experience in education. She brings over a decade of experience with foundational equity work in the Austin Independent School District, where she managed the district’s efforts on cultural proficiency and inclusiveness and restorative practices.
Dr. Ward’s own research focuses on the implications of the multiple relationships of education to culture, power, and society. Her work addresses issues of bias, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination and racism to eliminate disproportionality and disparities across systems. Dr. Ward is a strong advocate for liberating workspaces and school spaces focused toward issues of equity, inclusiveness and relationship building. For an eye into Dr. Ward’s work, please see her recent column, “Equity isn’t just a word, it’s an action.”
Next up, we have Eric Moore, who is currently the Senior Officer of Accountability, Research and Equity for the Minneapolis Public Schools. As Chief of Accountability, Eric provides leadership for the full scope of the Research Evaluation, Accountability, and Assessment Department or REEA, as well as district level efforts around the district strategic and department plans, equity, social and emotional learning and school improvement.
With over 20 years of experience and education, Mr. Moore’s work has focused on topics such as race and student achievement, racial identity and data interpretation, and youth evaluation practices and systemic SEL. Most recently, his work has been featured in the Children and Youth Services review, Education Week, CASEL, State of the Field Report, and the Aspen Institute School Improvement Guide on SEL and equity. Mr. Moore is passionate about using program evaluation, organizational development and measurement to address racial and economic inequalities in urban school systems.
And, last but not least, Dr. Prejean-Harris is currently the Director of Social Emotional Learning for Atlanta public schools. She has 25 years of experience in K through 12 education and has worked as a principal, assistant principal, counselor, and school and science teacher. She’s a Louisiana native and received her BS in Science Education from the University of Louisiana Lafayette, a Master’s in Education in School Counseling from the University of West Georgia, and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Mercer University.
Dr. Prejean-Harris believes that in order for students to gain access to a challenging curriculum, caring adults who are also self-aware and trained in meeting the needs of diverse learners must also cultivate the skills children need to grow social, emotional, and cultural competencies. So, welcome, everyone. Thank you so much. And my apologies for that little technology glitch getting you in here, but we are here and ready to go.
Okay, so we have organized today’s webinar in three big categories. I will introduce the center and then we will talk about practices for setting a vision for serving the whole person and achieving wellbeing for your school and district communities, then we’re going to delve into the implementation aspects of achieving that vision, including exploring data driven and evidence-based practices. Finally, we’ll talk about ways to use disaggregated data for courageous action to achieve equity. We have a lot to talk about today. So, I’m going to move quickly through an introduction to the Center so that we can get to the good part and hear from our panelists.
So, we will start with first, our purpose. So, the Center was awarded in October 2018, with the charge of providing technical assistance supports to states and districts in the implementation of your social and emotional learning, school safety and other whole-person evidence-based programs and practices. So, our charge from the Department of Education is to build the capacity of state educational agencies to support their local educational agencies, then for the LEAs to support their schools. We organize our technical assistance following an ecological concept of learning and development focused on the conditions that young people and the adults who care for them need in order to teach, learn, and thrive.
So, every adult with a meaningful relationship to a student has a role to play. This includes family and families and caregivers, educators, faith leaders, health and mental health professionals and other adults with a recurring role in a student’s community. So, starting from the innermost circle, we build knowledge and capacity related to personal conditions for learning and development. Those are the conditions within individuals and include social emotional, and mental health and well-being, then that outer circle is school conditions or learning environment conditions for folks who are working or working in Out of School Time environments and those are the conditions that foster safe, supportive, responsive and equitable environments.
So, within this domain, we include trauma informed and resilience informed practices, restorative practices, school safety, climate and culture, then finally, that outer circle, which includes all of the ways that schools and school systems collaborate with other child and youth serving systems and community partners in domains such as health, mental health, etc. We also like to say at the Center that a comprehensive notion of human development includes several domains such as physiological, cognitive, social and emotional development, and we always point to the science which shows that these domains develop together and that health and well-being in one domain, bolsters the health and well-being of the others, so at CISELSS, we think of student outcomes as much more than just proficiency and a set of academic standards.
Rather excellent outcomes for students mean they have a sense of personal purpose, are able to sustain healthy relationships, have a strong sense of place in their communities, are equipped to be successful in school and in the workplace, and are active-engaged citizens. Alright, so now we come to the first part of our webinar on setting a vision. So, setting a vision is an essential first step to data driven cycles of improvement because it offers an organizing focal point for your many home person initiatives. It provides coherence to the work. As I mentioned, we’re going to begin each of the three of the main three main sections of the webinar with an opportunity to hear from our participants, because the insights that you are able to share with us about your strength schools and needs on these topics will inform our design of technical assistance going forward. So, I’m going to turn it now to my colleague Shazia Hashmi to administer our first poll.
Shazia Hashmi: Thank you, Natalie. So, for our first poll, which I’m going to open, right now – should be able to see that now. We’d like to hear if you feel as though, you know, the strengths, needs and aspirations of the students and families you serve in your district. So, after you respond to the poll, we’d also like to see some strategies you use to build relationships with families and get to know them, and you can just enter those into the chat.
So, our responses are coming in really quickly now. Thank you so much. And in the chat, if you could please expand on your response, we would love to hear from you all. We’re going to keep this open for a few more seconds. Thank you so much, we’re getting some strategies now, home visits, I saw that. Thank you for sharing. Alright, I’m going to keep it open for just five more seconds, so last chance to put your answer in the poll here.
Alright, so I’ll end the polling now and you should be able to see the results, and I’ll just read them as well. So, it looks like 15% of you were certain that you knew the strengths, needs and aspirations. The majority of you, 73%, said somewhat, 5% said no, and then 7% were unsure. So, I will stop those share results. And now that we’ve heard from you, I’ll turn it over to Natalie, so she can get some perspective from our panelists.
Natalie Walrond: Thank you so much, I appreciate that. I feel like that has to always happen once in a webinar or in a meeting on zoom. So, okay, so what I was saying was that we’re now going to turn to our panelists. And we would love to hear you talk a little bit about how you have developed a vision for serving the whole person in your own districts, following these guiding questions.
And I am going to turn the slides off so that we can see faces, but the questions we have are: How did your district develop a vision for serving the whole person? What strategies did you use to ensure that you know the strengths needs and aspirations of students in your district? And how have you influenced your stakeholders thinking about the role of SEL and well-being? And I will stop sharing now.
Dr. Rose Prejean-Harris: So, Natalie, I’ll, I’ll start with this particular question. As a district in Atlanta public schools, we are just entering our next five years of our strategic plan. And as we were designing that new strategic plan for our district, there were some tough questions that came up, right, like, first of all, how as a district do we provide the best quality education and services for all of our students, right? And then knowing where we are, where we have the largest gap between kids who are affluent in our district, and kids in poverty in our district, how do we close those gaps? Right? And how do we expand the opportunities that are given to our children who are in despair and some of our economic roles within our school district.
And those opportunity gaps have really existed for generations within our community. And so, we had to ask those tough questions as we were building that new strategic plan. And so from that, as a collective effort from designing the new strategic plan, from several different committees, right, that included internal and external stakeholders, that consisted of parents, external partners, teachers, and district personnel, we came up with our graduate profile, we said, “This is what we want for our students who have matriculated all the way through our system, and what are our indicators of success, for ways to measure our students’ success to make sure that we’re accountable for our children.” And so, with that, we knew that we had to really deepen our SEL work, right.
We had to really deepen the work that we do with our adults within the district. And so, as we started to develop that graduate profile, we also began to work on our whole child framework that we’re implementing right now. We had really, in the past few years, built upon our strong academic systems framework, where SEL was a major part of that, but we knew that we had to touch all of those other pieces that really speak to those things that help children to live past the trauma, you know, to, to go into the things that really are asset-based for them. And look through that mindset, in terms of working through school, and making school a place where they want it to be a place of belonging and engagement for all of the individuals within our school.
And so, as we develop that whole child framework undergirded by our academic systems work, we knew that SEL was a major pillar, right. And not only just the SEL as we’ve been doing it, but SEL that was transformative through an equity lens that really spoke to creating and co-constructing pieces where we could have some real viable solutions for our students who are missing out on those opportunities that were in affluent communities within our district. Making sure as part of that whole top framework that we had some positive behavior supports undergirded with some mechanisms for measuring those pieces, and wellness at the center of it in building the capacity of the adults in our district to be able to do that work.
Natalie Walrond: Eric, would you like to go next?
Eric Moore: Yeah. Yeah, Rose, I appreciate what you said in this. Hi, everyone. I wish I could see all your faces. We were in the same room, Gradients for Minneapolis. And, you know, obviously, just very thankful for my colleagues here. And you know, as everyone knows, we’re wrestling with the murder of Mr. George Floyd, murder of Mr. Daunte Wright — and I’m so thankful for the verdict that we recently received. You know, I — Rose, as I was hearing you I, I do agree that we have those systems. And I, one of the things I heard from you is that it really caused, as we’re developing a vision in our district about the whole child. I think it required a high level of honesty.
And we had to recognize that the vision in previous years that had been articulated, wasn’t serving all students, and more so in speaking to our school board, we just had a conversation about the fact that at Minneapolis, we have some of the highest achieving White students in the United States of America. And that dream is not shared by our students of color. And in fact, what we’ve done over the years is, we actually have participated in a White supremacist culture.
That is the way of knowing and doing, and our district has not included the voices of people of color, of students of the people that, that we serve, in this district, we’re about 70% students of color. So, it really required us to, minus conversations and disaggregate data, and take a look at who we’re not serving, and why. Having direct conversation with students and parents, then I’ll talk a bit about programs such as youth evaluation, parent evaluation, we’ve partnered with community-based organizations to get feedback.
But we really felt the need to develop systems so that we could get the voices of those we served and develop those structures, so that we could actually develop a vision that was inclusive for all. And so that was just something that we felt we were missing. And I think over previous years, as we were making decisions, you know, having to acknowledge that the voices that we are gathering to understand our vision or to develop a vision, were predominantly White and middle class. And so, we had to change the district, essentially, the methodologies that we’ve been using for years and create spaces in which our youth and families can fully participate in a way that it felt value seen and heard.
Dr. Angela Ward: Want me to jump in, Natalie?
Natalie Walrond: Yes, feel free to chime in!
Dr. Angela Ward: Great. So, greetings from Texas, everyone. I have completed one month in my new role as Chief Program Officer for Transforming Education. And I joined Transforming Education from the Austin Independent School District. So, I’ll be talking about my experiences in helping to set the vision for supporting students in Austin Independent School District.
So, in regards to the question about strategies that we use, Eric, I think you are unmuted one of y’all — but feel free to jump in! So, what strategies do you use to ensure that you know the strengths, needs, and aspirations of the students in your district — what came up for me is thinking about the fact that it’s important for us to set up those structures and protocols for social emotional learning and community building.
And so, one thing that Austin Independent School District has is the advisory for secondary, I’m sure a lot of districts have that, as well as morning meetings at the elementary school level. And that really provides a structure for staff to be able to engage students with identity safety. And so, you’re able to design lessons and engagements with students in that type of structure, so that students feel connected to the school in the classroom. And like Eric said, we operate in a White supremacist culture in schools, and he’s not talking about White people, he’s talking about the way our systems are automatically structured to serve the people that schools were created from — for in the 1800s.
Schools were not created for the three of us to be speaking to you, Black people with PhDs and higher leadership levels in schools, they weren’t created that way. And those structures still exist in our schools. So, we’re often operating on the margins and children who look like us are experiencing school and learning on the margins. And so, it’s crucial that we as adults co-create those spaces to center anti-racist student agency and voice. And so, one thing that I did when I was with Austin ISD was create student race equity courses at a middle school and a high school level, where we center the Courageous Conversations about Race Protocol, and the White supremacy culture characteristics.
So, our middle school and high school students were engaging with that as content for their class. And we utilize that framework to bring in a Student Equity Council. So, in December, the first Student Equity Council for Austin ISD convened, and the students are co-creating and working with the adults to design for liberating school spaces. So, they’re using a liberatory design frame to understand how do we create the liberating school spaces that make us feel the students that we bring value that, our voice really does matter?
We don’t throw the word student voice around as an empty term. We really give students the — it was important to me to give our students the discursive muscle to be able to talk to adults on an adult’s level, and be able to critique the system in a way that adults could understand them and not see it as complaining or that everything that they share with the adults have some content and some context that implies that this is what we need as students and we know that you are the decision makers, so we would love to see you work with us to create the liberating school spaces that we value and feel are important.
Dr. Rose Prejean-Harris: So, Angela, I love what you said. And I always I think of SEL as a primer, right? Because when I, when I saw the question, how do you measure their assets? Like, how do you know their strengths? Right? We don’t, come — we usually, in an educational system, don’t come from that lens. Like we have care teams in Atlanta public schools. But those care teams are really centered around kids who have particular needs, right? What about the assets that they walk into the classrooms with, that we know nothing about until we build relationships with them?
And so, when I think about SEL, I think about SEL as that primer to that right of learning those assets and having a more asset-based mindset around, kids bring something into the classroom, that’s very valuable. And we just have to, we just have to sit and listen and give them the opportunity to show us the strengths that they bring into that classroom. And we operate from a place of co-creation, when we allow that student voice into the classroom, when we allow that relationship building to happen, then we can move to the tough conversations, right, that equity brings us to when we talk about educational equity.
Dr. Angela Ward: And when you said that you have care teams in Atlanta, that made me think about so, what are the existing structures that already operate in your school system? And something that’s often overlooked in our schools is how rich the special education programming is, to keep students connected to the school. That’s the whole purpose for special education is to give students exactly what they need.
And special education teachers have so much wealth to offer general education teachers. When I was a campus administrator, one thing we did was work with the Special Education team to give our general education staff very critical ways of thinking about intervention, so that students did get what they needed at the general education level. And we weren’t having all the gaps in their learning, because teachers began to see differentiation in a new light.
Natalie Walrond: Eric, do you want to chime in for a last word? I don’t think we have any questions just yet.
Eric Moore: Yeah, no, I was just thinking about, there’s a couple of things. You know, certainly we have, at every middle and high school, we have what we call Youth Evaluation Group. So, Angela, as you mentioned, you know, we actually support our middle and high school students and learning about program evaluation, it is very important for us, that they develop critical consciousness. So, they’re learning the data collection methods, my research department is supporting along with the schools, the ability to collect data, and we do the same thing with parents, because we found that it does two things.
It allows us to, to better collect voices from our students and our families because our parents and students have a perspective. It also centers their voices. So, as we’re collecting data, and then making mean of data, they’re always at the table. And so that the SEL example you gave, I think is very important. One of the things that we had to do as we’re talking about SEL and developing a vision around social emotional learning, is making sure that you have the people you’re serving there to critique even the definition of social emotional learning.
That is that if we’re going to apply and have an asset base, we also have to be comfortable with people critiquing the models that we use. And so, we always were very clear about that. I mean, we’ve developed just recently, we’re in a process of developing a climate framework in which we’re engaging our families and our students about this culture that we have — this invisible culture, and how do you pull it apart and deconstruct it and then rebuild it. So, we’re looking at values, clearly defined values across the district, for example, around equity, and anti-racism around the whole child, around relationships, trust, communication, around shared decision making, and voice, and then we’re making sure that those values are lived out in our classroom and our staffing.
I mean, our family and community engagement in our buildings, like, so that’s, you know, but making sure that the people you serve are at the table at all times, so that you’re able to equalize power. And quite frankly, we’re really pushing rigor. I mean, it’s really critical that not only are we doing data collection methods, but clearly, we see that when parents and youth are collecting information, it can be at the same level of rigor, and in some cases, we’re getting more authentic data than we would as a research department. So, I just think that’s a critical component of being very aware of power, who’s collecting information, but also who’s at the table making meaning of the information you serve and being open to that critical feedback from the folks you serve.
Natalie Walrond: Fabulous, okay, I am going to reshare my screen again. And we can move on to the next section of the webinar. I would like to just remind everyone, that you should feel free to use the Q&A function to add questions to the chat, because we do want to make this as interactive as we possibly can with 380 people or 370 people in the room. So, I just want to share the key takeaways that we heard as we were having this conversation getting ready for the webinar.
So, the three big ideas from our panelists, right? When it comes to setting a vision for serving the whole person in your school communities in ways that promote equity and sustainability. So, the first one here says build your vision for serving the whole person around your equity work, connect the two so that the why of the vision is clear. The second big idea is base your vision on the strengths, aspirations and needs of your young people and their families. Understand that, your own biases, and then make sure that the vision you articulate for your communities elevates their assets and their values and sets a high expectation for their futures.
And I so appreciate that comment that you just made, Eric. And then the final is your district vision can influence the policies and practices of your stakeholders. So, an inspiring vision coupled with strategic communication to your stakeholders can help ensure that everyone is working together toward a shared goal. So, we have two — sorry, excuse me, three district leaders on our panel today. But I know that in our audience, we have people at all levels of the system, we have people who are working directly with young people, people at the district level, and then also people at the state level.
So, we think a lot about how about that connective tissue in terms of vertical alignment. Okay, so once a vision for serving the whole person has been developed, the real work then begins and our panelists started to talk a little bit about this, of selecting, adapting, adopting, monitoring, refining evidence-based practices. So, in the second part, we’re going to delve into what this work has actually looked like in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Austin. So, for this section, we have two polls, and I’m going to put myself on mute and turn it over to Shazia to administer our polls here.
Shazia Hashmi: Thanks, Natalie. Okay, so let me find our second poll and launch it now. You should be able to see, our question is ‘How are you measuring the wellbeing of your school communities?’ And once you have chosen your answer, which I just launched it now, please feel free to share specific strategies you use for measuring wellbeing in the chat again. So, I’m seeing those responses coming in, to the poll now. And again, feel free to please expand in the chat, we really want to know how you are defining and measuring SEL in your communities.
So, we’re getting more responses. Oh, I see some people are sharing in the chat — surveys and assessments. Of course, that is a very common tool to measure SEL, love to hear some more, more than one of those choices. Thank you so much for putting your responses in the poll. I’m going to give about five more seconds now, so last chance. Alright, I’m going to end the polling now and share the results for everyone to see.
So, it looks like 14% of you said data connected to SEL competencies, 23% responded with behavior or discipline data and the majority of you, 38%, said school climate data, 11% responded with attendance data, and 14% said other, so something that’s not covered in those results there. So, I will stop sharing. And if we can go to the next slide, there is another poll that would like to follow or — I’ll just, I can just launch this poll now.
So, for our next poll, which I’ve just launched, we want to hear if your team regularly discusses wellbeing data. So, we’re getting some responses in now. Thank you so much. We’ll keep this open for about 15 more seconds. A lot of you are saying somewhat at this point. Thanks, everybody for your responses and your participation so far. Alright, just two more seconds now. Okay. I’m going to end this poll now and share the results. Alright, so 26% said, Yes. 42%, the majority of you, said somewhat, 27% responded No. And then 5% said, you were unsure. Alright, thank you so much for sharing. And I’m going to turn it back to Natalie now.
Natalie Walrond: So, before we turn to our panelists, I just want to point everyone to page four in the Compendium. Hopefully, you’ve had the chance to click on that, where you’ll see this graphic. We organize the Compendium around a set of seven big ideas or guiding questions that districts commonly ask themselves when putting in place a data driven cycle of improvement. And you can see them all here, right.
So, starting at the very top on the right and moving clockwise. The first is creating a vision, and we talked about that in the first part of the of the webinar, and then engaging school communities. Then it goes to identify a framework for SEL or serving the whole person, then assess the strengths, aspirations and needs of your community using SEL measures, school climate measures and other strategies. Then select and implement evidence-based strategies and programs that respond to the strengths, aspirations and needs of your young people, their families and your educators.
And ideally, this selection is done with their partnership, then it moves to curate professional development to support effective implementation. And at the Center, we often recommend that ensuring that the portfolio of professional learning options includes knowledge and capacity building on brain-based strategies for creating safe supportive learning environments, culturally responsive teaching practices, implicit biases, equity, race, equity, etc. And then finally, ensuring an equitable approach through ongoing reflection about the mindsets, beliefs, policies, practices, and systems in play, and the way that you’re serving your young people.
So, here’s the guiding question for the second part, in your view, or in your experience, panelists, what are the most critical aspects of operationalizing, a data driven evidence-based cycle of improvement for social and emotional well-being? And Eric, I’ll turn it over to you, to start first. And I will take the slides down here.
Eric Moore: You know I’m thinking a lot about this, we actually have a school board presentation tonight. Seven o’clock here — actually six o’clock, talking about this exact issue, we’re talking about the climate framework, I think the first thing we had to do was just be very clear on our values. So, it could be talked earlier about, being clear on your vision. And then typically what you do, and I noticed in the, in the chat there were a variety of different ways that you measure, I mean, you come up with a variety of different activities. And then you come up with a series of outcomes, indicators and outcomes.
One of the things that I’m learning, and this is over the past couple of years is the importance of those indicators. And those outcomes being real to the people you serve. And so, you know, it’s not only looking at things such as attendance behavior, but we’re developing, we call it climate index. We’re actually bringing our teachers, our students, our families together. And we’re asking explicit questions like, “What are these things? What does an effective climate a positive climate look like in action? Okay, so, “What do you see there?” Think about the extent to which you actually see it, the extent to which you actually feel there’s something different means that it’s real.
And we’re really tackling this disconnect between defined indicators and outcomes. And do the people that are participating in that space, do they actually feel it? Do they see it? And that’s particularly interesting, important for SEL and climate issues. So, stakeholder perceptions are critical, just directly asking people and again, we have the Youth Evaluation, and Parent Evaluation Group. So, we have a mechanism in which we can directly ask our students, “Are we measuring the right things?” So not only, “Are we doing the right things?” But “Are we measuring the right things? Does it feel different to you? Does this climate that we’re identifying, is it allowing you to show up and be your best self? Are we creating spaces for you to be your best self? Do you feel valued for who you are?” And then, you know, so that’s been critical for us.
I think it’s just – “How do you know? What does it look like in action?” And then, “How do you know it’s happening?” And so, and that’s been part of our feedback loop. That’s something different we’ve done as we’ve actually asked our students and family is like, “Does it look real?” And then we’ve gotten really practical. So, for example, we would have never said, “What does an effective climate look like? When you walk into an office in a school building, people say, hi, how are you doing? May I help you?” Right, I’m like, that’s something, when you walk into a building, are things in multiple languages? like those are things that from a parent’s perspective, student’s perspective says like, yeah, this is real.
Do you do you see values posted in the building? One of the things that I was just thinking about this, one of the things that I’ve learned as an African-American man I’ll share is that when I go into offices, I look at bookshelves, if I have a lot of books behind me, but like I, if I want to feel valued and accepted within an organization in an office and a meeting, I walk into an office, I’m kind of interested in seeing like, what’s on the walls. So, for a student, it could be what’s on the wall that makes you feel valued, comfortable, for me, I’m really, I’m saying, okay, what are the people reading? You know, are we connecting in that way?
So, we had to directly ask, and I, it’s just been invaluable, “Are these measures real? Are these indicators, real?” So again, including stakeholders, from the beginning, I mean, you can have your clear vision, and you bring your stakeholders in to develop that vision. You bring your stakeholders and your parents, students, teachers, on the activities. But I think one of the things that’s missing sometimes is the way we measure, we don’t engage and ask, “What does it really look like and feel like?” And I think that’s particularly critical for social emotional learning work, because particularly on climate, a, because it’s really about how you feel that space is honoring who you are, is honoring your identity, and really getting at that at perception data.
So, you know, that’s the piece that we’re doing, the last thing is, and then taking the time to make meaning. So, when you’re getting the information back, making sure that again, your parents, your families, are at the table, at the beginning. I’ve shared, with another group, like when you’re doing this work, this feedback loop, making sure you give enough time so that you’re able to have the discussions. So, that you’re able to equalize power by having conversations about what these things mean, I think oftentimes organizations, we’re trying to get work done so quickly, that we don’t honor the perspectives of our students and our families.
So, I think this is, those are critical things. I mean, it’s visions, it’s activities, but also, “Do the things that we measure, make sense to you? And are you feeling a difference? Does it really feel like you’re being honored as a parent is, really feel like you’re being seen and respected as a student?” And continue to ask those directly to the people that we serve.
Dr. Rose Prejean-Harris: So, for us in our SEL department in Atlanta public schools, we have really honed into doing improvement science over the past few years. And one of the reasons why we embarked on that was because we wanted to make sure that the implementation of SEL was really meeting the needs of the schools. And so often, we jump directly to solutions, we all have the answers, right? Everybody has the answer to whatever right? We are so solution focused, that we never stop and pause and ask, “What is really the problem? Are we really addressing the appropriate problem? Is that really a problem? Does it really need to be addressed?”
And so, what improvement science has allowed us to do is to start small, work with a small group of schools to say, “What really is the problem? What is it that you really need to focus on to build a more positive culture so that everyone within your school environment feels seen valued and heard?” Right, in, towards the equity lens and making sure that we are really truly aligning our SEL work with the school improvement work of that school, and really addressing the problem.
And so WestEd actually helped us to do this, we have been working with WestEd for the past few years, around this particular process, and us asking those questions, and bringing our schools through those small bitesize problem-solving process of looking at a problem finding a solution to that particular problem, implementing what we think will work and then evaluating to see it does, “Is this really working? Is this truly solving the issue that we see at hand? Is it doing what we need to do in terms of building a better culture for everyone within our school community?” And then if it’s working, continue, and then make it go deeper and get even better at that particular piece.
And so, we have to make sure when we are looking at data, and we’re taking in all of those data sources, that we’re really addressing the real problem, right? And asking ourselves the real whys, why, why, why. And again, it comes back to making sure that all of the people who are there have a voice, right, and that we’re hearing the appropriate voices. And that, that we are taking the time to listen that we are taking the time to address the correct problem. And that we’re not just muddling all of the data to, and just giving a solution right away without even really having the conversations that will really drive the work to where it needs to be.
Dr. Angela Ward: Yeah, Rose listening to you and Eric Talk, I’m thinking about the fact that we need to professionalize and prioritize social emotional wellbeing for adults first so that we can put these things into action for the students. And so, I was thinking about this question, when Eric was speaking, “How does the school space feel when someone enters?” You have to have intentional conversations with staff about that, you can’t just assume that everyone on staff knows that they are in a customer service type of job. You know, education is a customer service job, whether we want to admit it or not.
We are responsible for making sure that people feel safe, welcome, included when they walk into our central administration spaces, as well as our school spaces, as well as our — I mean, people feel welcome when they go to a basketball game or football game, because you know what to expect, right? But we don’t think about, “What does it feel like to walk into a space that all of us are spending a lot of time in, children are with?” — when we were in our face-to-face world, children were at school, seven and a half hours a day, and more, if they are in extracurricular activities. And so, what does that mean if they’re spending most of their life in these spaces?
And so, when I say professionalize and prioritize social emotional well-being, I’m thinking about the professional learning that we offer. So, we have these, this, data, we know what we need to do. So how do we shift that from data to, this has informed how we design and deliver professional learning. And so, it’s important to operationalize a cycle of continuous improvement. That includes learning cycles. And I like to say that we pivot the center of traditional professional learning, we’re not doing sit and get, we’re not doing one and done we’re not doing, you know, the typical compliance type of professional learning because it does not move the needle for children of color.
And it doesn’t move the needle for White children either. But people want to — our data is always looking at this, the data from White versus Black or White versus Latinx, or, but we never really look at the shift between White and Asian, and how much the Asian students outperform the White students in many cases, not always, but in many cases they do. Also, we don’t look at — over the course of decades from Brown vs. Board of Education to current, the number of shifts, and how much progress Black students have made compared to White students. That’s a completely different data chart, if we look at how White students have stagnated since the Civil Rights Movement, and how Black kids have completely outperformed, when you look at it on that level.
And so, the way we look at data shifts and changes, and if we look at it with a little bit different nuance in the, in the course of our professional learning sessions, we give staff a different way of viewing their work and understanding the current context. And so, also you have to start with culture, climate, discipline, academics data, we really work through looking at — when I was in Austin ISD, pulling that data out and critiquing the system, critically loving our system.
You know, we say we value this, yet our discipline data says no, we value kicking Black boys out of school. That’s what we value and it’s very clear and over decades, that’s what it says, our data shows that. Are we creating identity safety for the adults so that they feel safe in their identity when they come in the schools and they’re not putting that social, emotional…. the fact that they are not socially and emotionally safe, that they’re putting that back onto the students and not creating those spaces for students to be their best authentic selves.
And so, it’s important to center the social emotional skills of the adults, and not insert, Second Step. And whatever other curriculum you can find opposite of having the adults understand they have to not only pull out that lesson plan book and walk through the steps, they have to embody social emotional learning, for it to be what it needs to be for our students to be successful.
Eric Moore: Angela I have to say one thing that really resonated with me, which is the relationship between having an equity lens, a social justice lens, and how it impacts how you look at the information in front of you. So how you look at the data, how you look at the data, and support students. And I think, what I’m hearing is, you know, there’s a sense of agency, that that you need to have when you’re looking for data, that is when I’m looking at information about my students, I have the ability, I have the agency to change the trajectory of things that I’ve been seeing, if you don’t do the mindset work in the equity work, then sometimes the data can be reinforced, it can reinforce the stereotypes or reinforce a sense of hopelessness or whatever stereotypes you may have about students.
So that’s something that we also do in Minneapolis, and you’re doing in Austin and Atlanta, is that is that you have to do the equity work. What does this mean? You have to have diverse perspectives in the room, when you are making meaning of the data. And you just have to have a sense of agency and come back and say, I highlight things that are working. And that can really create as I call like a virtuous cycle that it makes you want to continue, I mean, data can be very motivating. In that, it’s a lot of hard work to try to dismantle these systems of White supremacy that have contributed to oppressive classroom environments, district environments for families and students, it’s a lot.
But the data can be very liberating, if you have diverse perspectives in the room, and you are critically analyzing — and to your point, critiquing the system, and coming up with ways to address it. So, I think but that’s a lot of equity work with the data. And I’ll just say one of the learnings I’ve had in Minneapolis, I think is we’re unique in the sense that we have, my division, we have Accountability, which includes School Improvement, Department Planning, Research, Evaluation, and Equity SEL.
And it was really important for us as a district, when I started going on year eight is that, when we’re looking at data, oftentimes with an organization, data represents truth and a perspective, right? If we know that, that it’s a perspective, and so this was important to equalize power, and have all the voices in to get all the perspectives, right, because sometimes we use data to silence groups. And so, but we have that, but we also have accountability, which is like what’s measured matters. And if you don’t use an equity lens, so then we have the equity side of the department, but we wanted a division, we wanted to make sure that we can hold our system accountable for equitable practices.
And so that’s the work that we attempt to do. And I know it seems like sometimes when people say, ‘Well, you have equity, accountability, and research in the same division,’ it’s like, well, yeah, that’s intentional, because for too long, we have not held systems accountable for doing the right work at will practices. And, and the cycle of continuous improvement has to be driven by equity, right? Otherwise, you’re using data and process and plans to oppress the voices and marginalize the voices of others, other people that you serve, so that really made me think about that, and how we’re trying to use data in a way to create spaces for people to be heard, and therefore for the system to operate better and more authentically, because we have not been successful in serving our students of color in Minneapolis to the extent that that we need to.
Dr. Angela Ward: Yeah, what you made me think about in regard to professional learning, Eric, so we have in Austin ISD, we develop a professional learning session called Isolating Race. So, building on Glen Singleton’s work Courageous Conversations About Race. We just talked about the first two: racializing your voice and isolating race as a topic for six hours, we’re just talking about race. And one of the activities in there is to look at our district level High School data.
And so, we put charts in front of teachers, principals, central office leaders, we encourage the professional learning participants to be mixed. So that multiple purposes vectors are represented in each space. And we look at if you are at this high school, and you are a Black student or Brown student, will you fare well versus being at this high school. And we look at it across 10 years. And we look at that data and we critique that data. And the conversations that happen around, well, this is an elite school in the system. And this is not, but if you look at the data for the Black and Brown students, the Black and Brown students are outpacing the students at the elite school.
They’re not they’re not meeting their needs, even at this elite school. So, a middle-class Black child isn’t even faring well in our system, what does that mean? And we have that conversation with our data in the context of professional learning. And then we also pull-out student resources where we pull student data from pre-K through high school that have been in our system, never left, they’ve always been here. And we looked at what the — our internal data reporting system says about them. And basically, they were rap sheets. But we’ve always had these students. So, you’re telling me we have created an environment in our school system that says, ‘This is a child we can throw away.’
Because that’s what the data says that the teachers have put into the system, counselors have put into the system, principals, assistant principals, and we shifted about five or so years ago, and put a strengths-based opener for that system. And to this day, there are students with nothing listed in the strengths. ‘What do you know about the student? What are they like? What do they dislike?’ How do you even get to know what you need to do to support them intervention-wise, if you don’t even know what their likes, dislikes are? And so those are some of the ways that data is used with equity to critique the system.
Eric Moore Yeah, I want to tell you one thing. I want to say one thing, though, which is really cool, because this is really important that one of my favorite projects that we’ve done with data is that we actually, the research department took — examples of dropouts, high school dropouts, and we actually present it each year. So, we looked at different data points each year for the high school. And we actually sat down with our middle school students that were youth evaluators. And we asked them to make meaning of what should the system have done differently each year, because they were able to understand really quickly, the concept of leading lagging indicators.
So, they instantly backwards map, and they helped us identify things that we could have done better each year elsewhere, it sounded just like you’re taking a class at a university. And I guess the point is, like the students know, that the parents know what they need. We just don’t bother asking folks enough in our systems. And so, I just want to say that – Natalie, I’m sorry, Rose. But I, this is like, now we’re at the dinner table. You know, so I appreciate both of you.
Dr. Rose Prejean-Harris: Yeah, that’s the that’s the beauty of practitioners, right? So, we like, we are everyday practitioners living in the work. And when you live in the work, a lot comes out. One of our leaders here she says, data makes the invisible, visible. And so, data is such an important part of making, you know, holding us accountable as leaders in the work as people who are doing the work in the schools, we have to be accountable.
But we have to make sure that we are being accountable for the right things. And so, when we think about doing those key performance indicators, and making sure that in educational equity, that we are giving kids what they need, collecting those data pieces, the — both the quantitative and the qualitative are important. And so, Natalie, now I’m going to turn the floor over to you for the next question.
Natalie Walrond: I just, I just want all the participants to know that I have never had so much fun preparing for a webinar. And I just, I mean, it’s hard to interrupt you guys because there’s so much wisdom and so much experience in this group. So, we’re going to make a little bit of a game time decision. I’m going to run — we have some questions that are coming in. So, I’m going to run through the slides relatively quickly, and then I’m going to share the question that we’re hearing. So that in your, you know, in your maybe your final comments, you can begin to address those as well, because I want people to be able to get their, their questions answered as well.
So, the key takeaways, I’m going to say very quickly, there were many, but the ones that we captured here are for professional learning to be both effective and sustainable, it has to address both the practical or technical and the adaptive needs. I want to lift up that Rose talked to us about improvement science and how it can be used to ensure that as practitioners we’re finding the root cause of disparities, so that we’re solving the right challenge. And then of course, developing a process that makes room for adaptation when needed.
And then finally, we heard the importance. And we’ll talk more about this in this next section about gathering qualitative and quantitative sources of data. Because those stories are bringing the measures to life, right, and helping to make sure that we know our young people well and helps us understand the nuances and interplay of strengths, aspirations and needs. Okay, so data for equity, and we have clearly started this conversation already. Shazia, I’m going to turn it to you so that you can, you can administer the poll, and it is clear to me that I, I think I need to stop sharing so that you can see, so that you can share the poll, right.
Shazia Hashmi: Okay. Thanks, Natalie. We want to know if you feel comfortable talking about the disparities you see in the data, even with colleagues who are of different races and backgrounds from your own. Alright, I can see the responses are already starting to come in. Clearly, this is very relevant to our discussion today and you all have a lot of thoughts on it. Thank you so much for sharing. We’ll keep this open for just five more seconds, because we’re, we want to get to our panelists and have them share more from their perspective.
Okay, I’m going to end the poll and share the results now. So, the majority of you 68% said, yes, you are comfortable, 29% said somewhat, 2% said no, and then only 1% of you were unsure. Okay, so I’m going to go to our next poll now. This is our last poll today. So, this question gets at it, really. Do you feel liberated to make change in your district or school to improve the way your district or school serves students? Alright, responses are coming in. Thank you again.
In the chat, please expand on your answer and we’re going to get to your questions as well. We’ll keep this open for again, just five more seconds. Thank you so much. Okay, I’m going to end it now and then share the results. 38% said yes, you do feel liberated, 40% said somewhat, 13% said no, and then 9% were unsure. Alright. Thank you everyone, for sharing your experiences with us. I’ll turn it back to Natalie now to share more on this topic.
Natalie Walrond: Thanks, Shazia. Okay, a few quick words. So ultimately, the tools we’re creating at the Center have the central goal of eliminating disparities and promoting equitable outcomes. Right. So, the conversation we’ve been having at the Center about the connection between equity and SEL is getting clearer and sharper in the context of both a global pandemic, and a national reckoning with racial injustice in our country.
We know there’s lots of different definitions in the field, I just want to begin with language that my dear colleague and friend Erin Trent Johnson shares, she’s at the Community Equity Partners and she says, in order to operationalize and achieve equity, social outcomes must no longer be predicted by race, class and gender. To do this, we must acknowledge and examine power structures, including systemic advantage and disadvantage, that hold inequities in place. And so, you know what we often say the center’s inequitable experiences are connected to inequitable outcomes.
And so, we offer seven strategies and the technical assistance that we do so the first is, listen first, and trust teachers, students and families. The work we do should draw from the wisdom and experiences of our community. Second is, planning, decision making, communication, should include the strengths and aspirations, not just the needs of those closest to our missions. Embrace the values, histories, and relationships in our communities.
Co-design, co-implement, co-lead and co-govern initiatives with students, families and communities, illuminate and disrupt the implicit and explicit biases that may be held by those in positions of power through inquiry and reflection. Illuminate and disrupt organizational and structural inequities that may be found in the policies and practices in schools and communities through data collection and analysis, and then finally create opportunities for young people to step into their own power, so that they can be part of co-determining and co-creating their paths and that of their families and communities. Alright, so let’s keep going.
The guiding questions here are, how are you using data to inform actions around equity? What’s worked well? And what have you learned? And I might lean into a little bit of, you know, what’s worked well and what have you learned? Because we’re getting some questions from the participants around those things. And I’ve highlighted just a few questions that I want to share with you here that you can think about as you’re responding to these guiding questions. So, there is a question that came in. Dr. I think you may have responded a little bit in the Q&A, but I’m going to lift it up here for everybody.
Can you say more about liberating — liberated school spaces? How do liberated schools, school spaces look and feel different? There was another question that is to Eric that says, how are the students learning about data collection, etc. from your youth evaluation teams? Do they take courses? Is this a hands-on learning opportunity, like an apprenticeship? It sounds amazing. And love that you’re doing this would love to learn a few details. This question I think, is for all three panelists, which I love.
How do we address the intersectionality of students’ race, ability, culture, language, sexual identity, etc.? Within SEL, how do we make sure that those voices are heard, and we have stakeholders from these communities actively engaged? And then I’m going to toss in another one here, which is, how do we include stakeholders that do not feel safe, comfortable and valued within the school system, due to past trauma, bad experiences, and so on. So, I’m going to toss everything, all of that into the mix and go back on mute and let you guys get started. And Angela, I think, you know, I’ll let you go first, if you’d like.
Dr. Angela Ward: Okay. So, I would say first answering the question about, “How do we center multiple identities?” I kind of assume that people know that anti-racism is intersectional. But you start with race, because race is the determining factor, that, if you layer race on to LGBTQIA, trans Black women have the most detrimental outcomes in society. And so, we start with race, because race determines how we’re able to be received in society, be received in our schools, you know, we treat Black trans women very, I won’t even go into that, I’m going to table that, because we’re not doing what we need to do to support the students, nor the adults who identify as Black and trans.
And you can lay, you can layer Latinx, as well. And so, we have designed — so I oversaw the focus on cultural proficiency and inclusiveness in Austin ISD. The whole purpose for that office was to bring anti-racist professional learning to staff and have conversations about so we have a session called Speak Up that we use. And I don’t remember what Teaching Tolerance changed their name to y’all. They changed their name recently. But we use their resources, their Speak Up resources, which included videos, and we even recorded — Learning for Justice. Thank you, Joanna.
We included those videos in the context of a six-hour professional learning, where we started with our district policy that calls out all legally protected identities. LGBTQIA is a legally protected identity. Religion is a legally protected identity. And so, we use Speak Up as the forum to, one, center race, and to talk about all the ways identity intersects and we use the No Place for Hate Pyramid of Hate to have a very deep, intense conversation about and if we’re not addressing belittling jokes and snide remarks and slurs at that foundational level, we move up this pyramid of hate, and we get to something called genocide.
And we’re operating in our school spaces, dangerously close to genocide. And we were able to call those things out because we were living them. And we brought the context of things that are happening in the news into the professional learning space, and shifted that to, “And how do you think the students are showing up in your classrooms every day? How do you think the parents are showing up into the workspaces every day? How do you think central office staff are being — are experiencing the world?” And so back to data.
So, we started with historical data from the lens of students who’ve been in our system, we ended suspensions for students pre-K through two by studying the data. So, I talked a little bit about pulling that data of students who’ve been with us. And then we put that into that isolating race professional learning. So, we pull that data, because we wanted to look internally, and we looked with, we invited our critical friends, as we call them, our external stakeholders who were saying, hey, they’re holding this data up, you’re suspending Black boys in pre-K, these are three through seven-year-old children pre-K through two, we’re saying if you’re three to seven, in our system, we’re kicking you out of school.
And developmentally, you don’t even know what school is, you’re still trying to figure out what school is. And adults are saying, you don’t behave right, you don’t behave well, and you don’t belong here. We were saying that overwhelmingly to Black boys in our system. And so, we brought in groups that were critiquing our system to help us critically love it together, we took four to six months, studied actual students. And then I challenge the group to write narratives to frame how we talked about the students, again, using those rap sheets that we have.
What worked well, with that — we ended suspensions district wide for pre-K through two, we learned that our staff were accustomed to looking at data, but not necessarily from the lens of equity, not necessarily from the lens of ‘Okay, I’m, I’m a teacher on this campus. I’ve been here 10 years, students matriculate from this campus every five years. And so, what does that say if I’ve been here, 10 years, how many groups of students who have been here, and I haven’t changed the way I engage, and I’m responsible for the way this data looks?’ And so, we learned that we need to be really intentional about how our students engage with that data, our teachers engage with that data.
Eric Moore: I think I have the next question I, I’ll say one of the things I’ve learned in doing equity work is I, I need data so I so I’d never do the equity work without the data and what I’ve learned is that it all depends on your audience in terms of what moves people towards action, sometimes people need information that supports the head, sometimes they’re moved by the heart. And what I — you know, this is what led to the development of the youth evaluation work, the parent evaluation work, is that, I wanted to, you know, we wanted to create something in our district that allowed various space for parents and students to systematically collect data in a rigorous way.
But it’s powerful because it comes from the voices of people that we serve. So, when they’re speaking about their lived experience, they’re presenting that in a rigorous way. It’s extremely powerful. Because particularly from students, because of yes, these are the, these are, this is why we do the work, is to support to students. And so, I think for me, it works really well with the head and the heart. And you never know, when you’re presenting what people need at that particular time.
And the goal is always towards moving people towards action, for change, to better serve our students. We, I’m very fortunate because in terms of how we support data, how they learn about data collection, we actually do a retreat. And we pull students out of school for a day, along with their advisors. They start off — the advisors used to be the school social workers now it’s actually a combination of social workers and or teachers that want to be the Youth Evaluation Advisor. We pay a stipend, a teacher leader stipend, to our Youth Evaluation Advisors. And then I identify a portion of my staff time and the Research and Evaluation department that, one of the units, to have, as well as the Accountability departments, so that they can have a portfolio of schools and they work with the advisor on developing the tools and supporting the schools and teaching.
But they do pull out anywhere from twice, twice a month, to once a month at the schools. And then this year — and please contact me I’d love for you to see it. Because during the pandemic, we’ve always we’ve thought about different ways the students present typically, we’ve done a conference in which the students are sharing their youth evaluation projects with each other. This year, we’re going to do something different, which is, and I think is more respectful to students actually, and that the students are doing their presentations, and they’re recording those presentations as district leaders, so our cabinet and our executive directors, we’re going to respond to the student projects. So, we’re going to record a video to show students that we did see it and then we’re going to give them action back.
Typically, with our parent evaluators, we always try to when they give us feedback, we try to align it to the budget cycle. But it’s really important that when you’re asking people for — to share their experiences that you show you’re listening, but it also is leading towards change. And so, it’s a very reciprocal relationship. Um, but for our students, we just use staff time. And I think it just means that you just have to have organizational commitment for your Research and Evaluation departments, which typically from my experience, Equity departments and Research departments, not, aren’t always on the same page. And so, but I thought it was very critical when I started the Research and Evaluation department, our district that I wanted the researchers and evaluators and data scientists to have an equity lens, because it really matters in terms of what you collect, and how you interpret.
So, we use time for that. So, it’s a full day pull out. And then they do an applied project during the year and then they present. And then many of our students like, we started in 2015, we’ve had students now that have been part of youth evaluation since the beginning, and they’ve developed so much confidence. And I’ll just say, as an evaluator, their critical consciousness, their questioning is so powerful. And they’re able to apply that to issues of social justice, because the focus of the projects come from the, from the voices of our students, and so, feel free to contact me, I’d love to send you information on that and connect you with a website and the Research department developed tools.
We actually now have a student board member, we’re involved, because we have a student board member, and citywide government and the Youth Evaluation Teams are now working so, the youth evaluators are another research arm, a city-wide government, who are now reporting to the school board member. So, in some regards, by the time we get into 21 to 20, next year, our student board member is actually more informed as a better way to systematically collect information from stakeholders than our board members. And so, we’ve built that structure over the years.
And, you know, one of the big things that we’ve had to learn, quite frankly, is working with the adults on and getting them to feel comfortable centering student voices. So that goes back to what’s been said before is that a lot of adults and systems aren’t comfortable hearing the perspectives of students, and they’re not comfortable hearing the perspectives of parents.
And so, we just call that out. And we say, and name it. And I think it’s a very different thing this year for our teacher workshop, I’ll just share — typically, we bring in keynote speakers. This summer, we’re going, the keynote speakers will be our students and our parents. And so, we’re going to create that space, but it’s just giving people the opportunity to see that parents and students’ voice should be at the center.
Dr. Rose Prejean-Harris: I’m going to take 30 seconds. And I’m just going to say that it takes courage to speak up. And it takes courage to listen. And so, as an SEL department, our job is really to support right, and really to call out and to create the necessary space. And so, it’s really about working and building the adult capacity to do that, to have the courage to speak up, and the courage to listen and we use data to support that work in doing that. So, Natalie, to you.
Natalie Walrond: Rose, thank you so much. Okay, let me try one more time to figure out how I’m going to share my screen. And I’m going to go quickly, because I’m going to see if I can squeeze in one final, one final question for our panelists. Sorry, just bear with me here. Excuse me.
Okay. So, I’m going to be really quick because I would love, you know, we are in, we’ve got four minutes left, I absolutely want to make sure that we finish on time but wanted to share that, we’ve got a list of resources, we’re going to be sharing the slides. We’ve got a list of resources here that we want to make sure you guys are aware of.
There’s a link to the Compendium we’ve mentioned, our Center also just came out with a new resource called Reimagining Excellence, a Blueprint for Integrating Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Academic Excellence in school, that we hope will be helpful to our participants today as you’re planning your return to school. And then of course, we’ve got tools and resources on our website, including some curated to address the needs of the pandemic and some curated to address the needs of racial equity in schools. So, I want to thank everybody for taking the time this afternoon to participate in this panel. We would love your feedback.
We are putting a survey into the chat. It’ll take about two or three minutes for you all to participate. I want to thank our — I want to thank our panelists as well for joining us. This really felt like getting to sit at a dinner party with you three, and I just so appreciate how vividly and clearly your evidence-based practices in schools, your high expectations for kids, your broad notion of what student outcomes are, and your centering of equity every single day, has showed up so vividly in your comments. I want to thank you for that. And Ruth by show of fingers, how many minutes do we have? Two — okay, 30 seconds, I’m going to ask each panelist, I’m going to give you five words, to answer a question that came in from someone that said, “If we’re starting from ground zero, where do we start?” Five words.
Dr. Rose Prejean-Harris: The adults.
Natalie Walrond: Thank you.
Dr. Angela Ward: What she said.
Eric Moore: Be clear on your values.
Natalie Walrond: Oh, I love it. Okay, thank you, thank you all so much. I just cannot find the words to express my gratitude. This has been fabulous. Ruth, I will turn it over to you.
Ruth Sebastian: We greatly appreciate your attendance and your interest in exploring effective, innovative, evidence based, and data driven practices for equitable SEL school climate and wellbeing. We will keep the webinar open for five minutes for you to put any final questions or comments into the chat.
Today’s webinar was recorded. The recording and PowerPoint will be shared with you so that it can be viewed again and shared. Thank you for your attendance. For more information, please email [email protected]. Again, on behalf of the Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety, thank you and have a wonderful evening.