Summer 2020 brought to our national attention the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the continuing injustices of racism and, in particular, anti-Black racism. It is critical for Family Engagement Lab to affirm and support Black lives and the community beyond taking a moral stand, as combating racism in schools is key to fulfilling our mission of promoting equitable family engagement.
At Family Engagement Lab, a key area of focus for us is ensuring that all families have access to information about what their child is learning in class and how they can help at home. To that end, we are examining our content with a lens toward ensuring its continued applicability for all families and its relevance across race, economic status, and language. In addition to internal edits and regular feedback from educator and family stakeholders, we are enhancing our content through a number of activities, including 1) working closely with district partners (e.g., OUSD’s English Language Learner and Multilingual Achievement team), 2) expanding our alignment with Benchmark’s Adelante curriculum, used in OUSD’s dual language programs, and 3) hiring new content writers with backgrounds and experience that support our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
Improving Our Research
We have also improved collection of race/ethnicity data in student-level data and teacher and parent survey data. We are working with the University of Oregon EC PRISM research group and are using recommendations from the Schusterman Family Foundation’s recent Guide to Diversity Equity and Inclusion in Data Collection to inform our efforts.
Sharing Inclusive Practices and Anti-Racism Resources
In addition to our increased focus on equity of access to learning information and research, we have introduced a section in our monthly Learning Series newsletter called “Meaningful Moments” to share inclusive practices and anti-racism resources each month with our 1,400+ subscribers.
With our continuing emphasis on diversity and inclusion in our hiring practices, team culture, and values, Elisabeth facilitated sessions for our team to develop a Charter to help guide our understanding of how each of us want to feel on the team and how we can support each other (you can read more about this tool from Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence). One value stands out: We want to feel uncomfortable that we still have work to do when it comes to fulfilling our vision of equal opportunity for children of color.