3/27/17If you tried to write me an email last week, you received an auto-reply informing you that I was at the Race Equity and Leadership in Schools conference, hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I attended with the PSB leadership team, including senior staff and all principals. Although it was hard to be away from Driscoll for a few days in a row, especially during Arts Equinox, the time was well worth it.The goals of the conference were the following:
- Deepen [our] understanding of why this work on race, equity, and leadership matters and explore the changes needed to ensure a more inclusive future;
- Understand the many causes of individual, institutional, and systemic racial inequality, past and present;
- Identify concrete strategies for building inclusive institutions and build your toolkit to teach it, model it, and practice it.
Through listening to speakers, conversation, and reflection I do feel like we worked toward a deeper understanding of the importance of explicit race and equity work and we did have time to consider the changes needed to be more open and inclusive. I appreciated an opportunity to further my own understanding of individual, institutional and systemic racial inequalities. And, I most certainly walked away with concrete strategies for moving forward. Though a week is never enough time to grapple with these critical issues, it’s a start.Among the most memorable sessions for me was Karen Mapp’s session on family engagement. The moment she began to speak and share her thoughts on family engagement my wheels were turning about how I could bring this important work back to Driscoll in the form of improved family engagement--rethinking Open House, supporting parents in thinking about how to support learning at home, making sure our expectations and standards for students are clear, etc. etc. etc. I look forward to sharing these and other important ideas with you, with our PTO and I hope you’ll see some of the impacts soon.I’m so proud to be from a district where there was a significant investment in this work.My Best,HeidiHeidi CookPrincipal, Driscoll Schoolheidi_cook@psbma.org617-879-4250 (Main Office)driscoll.brookline.k12.ma.us