Equity Matters! The Leadership Edition

Dear friends, we hope you are well and finding time to take care of yourself. This is an extraordinary time. We are all worried about our families, friends, and students; and we are anxious about how to make the first semester work.

We are sending this edition of EquityMatters! as a reminder that everyone in MCPS needs to plan, work, and teach with an equity lens. Prior to Covid-19, racial inequity was evident in every aspect of our data and we know that distance learning has exacerbated these inequities. With intentionality, we can bridge the gaps in our sphere of influence to foster equitable spaces for teaching, learning, and leading.

The Leadership Edition of EquityMatters provides resources to help Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) leaders create antiracist schools, offices, and departments. In addition to what you find below, we have created a live resource page where we will continue to add tools, modules, articles, and other resources.

Please start with the video below, and then review the sections on Listening to Our Students, Racial History in the United States, What Does it Mean to Be an Antiracist Educator, and How to Be an Antiracist Leader.

With graditude,

Troy, Deanna, Edvin, Daryl, Ericka, Joan, Maniya, Marya, and John

John Lewis 1940–2020

Evidence of Equity

Please begin by watching this two-minute video. Please note that the video may evoke a range of emotions.

"I want to open my heart, but now I close it safe. YOU open yours, it's your turn. Hold our pain. Just stop and listen, WE CAN"T BREATHE. What are you going to do?" Lauryn Whitney

Being an antiracist educator requires that we keep asking questions. So, imagine that the mothers in the video are parents at your school or customers of the services your office provides. Ask yourself if their students will be seen as learners, as being in high level classes, and as someday walking across the stage. Ask yourself if they will be seen as children who will be loved, supported, successful, and worthy of your time. Now ask yourself, what does the student data say and how long do these parents need to wait?

Kindness and empathy are vital to running equitable schools, but they are not sufficient. We believe that if we are going to end racial predictability, we need to look at our systems, practices, and beliefs. One way to do that is to develop habits of asking critical questions.

The Evidence of Equity document below provides suggestions for the kinds of questions all staff need to ask whenever you are planning a new initiative, making decisions as a leadership team, or learning together in a professional learning community. Please contact your equity or learning and achievement specialists for help determining the best questions for your school or office.


Listening to Our Students

We have lots of data in MCPS to guide our work. It is vital to remember however, that quantitative data only tells part of the story. We have to spend time listening to our students.

Below are different sources of data from current and former MCPS students. Use the material to spark conversations about your own department, school, or classroom. Then, decide how you will get authentic student voices that will provide a window into your work.

Courageous Conversations Compass

As you read the materials below, capture your reactions on the Courageous Conversations Compass. Take a piece of paper and draw four squares using the above headings. Then, write your reactions in each square.


Students from almost every high school in MCPS have started Instagram pages to highlight the experiences of Black students. Take a look at what they have to say. If you don't have an account, here is how to start one. These posts are not just for high school teachers. The students also express their experiences in middle and elemetary school.

A Petition for Antiracism Education and Initiatives in Montgomery County Public Schools

On June 22, 2020 former MCPS students Khadijah Adamu, Sumaiya DeLane, and Samiza Palmer presented a detailed petition to the Board of Education on Antiracism Education and Initiatives in Montgomery County Public Schools. Listen to Ms. Adamu's testimony to the board below, and then read the petition.

Stories from MCPS Students and Staff

Racial History in the United States and Montgomery County

We cannot address today's challenges without understanding how we got here. Take time to review the videos and articles below. You can use these videos as converation starters with your staff.

Brief History of Race in America

Race in America provides a brief overview of race in America. This video is 17 minutes in length.

Understanding Structural Racism

There is much talk in MCPS about school demographics because of neigborhood segregation. To understand the root of this issue, it is important to look at the government-backed policies that created the housing disparities we see today. The video explains how these policies came to be, and what effect they've had on schools, health, family wealth, and policing. The video is just over six minutes and contains some profanity.

History of Desegregation in MCPS

In 1954, Montgomery County enforced the Supreme Court's decision to integrate public schools. Witness the experiences of former teachers and students who were there when MCPS desegregated.

A Montgomery College Student studies African-American life in the Montgomery County town of Sandy Spring. The video covers a pivotal time in the 20th Century for civil rights. During interviews with several elders he gains an interesting insight into the community.

Did you know that Silver Spring, developed during the early twentieth century as a sundown suburb where racial restrictive deed covenants prevented African Americans from owning or renting homes? Read the article to understand the racial history of MCPS.

What Does it Mean to Be an Antiracist Educator?

Many people are talking about the concept of being antiracist, but not everyone knows its true meaning. Explore the article below and use the questions for reflection or to engage with your colleagues.

Read "What Antiracist Teachers Do Differently"

Use the following questions to reflect on the article or for a discussion with your team:

  • What are the key points of this article?
  • What connections can you make to your own practice?
  • What makes it hard for you to be antiracist in this system?
  • What are some of the beliefs, practices, and policies that need to be addressed in order to realize an antiracist system?

Review The AntiRacist Educator aboveFor each part, write down what that would look like for you.

Equity Matters Dialogue

Join one of our Equity Matters Dialogues. Sign up in PDO. We will be adding dates througout the summer.

Tools, Modules, Resources

If you want to explore more resources on this subject, go to our live resource page.

Students from Richard Montgomery High School

How to Be an Antiracist Leader

Hearing from Colleagues

We are all on a continuus path to become leaders of equity and anti-racist schools and departments. We are grateful for Ms. Cassandra Heifetz, principal Glen Haven Elementary School; Dr. Joey N. Jones, principal, Robert Frost Middle School; and Mr. Damon A. Monteleone, principal Richard Montgomery High School who have taken the time to explore their paths with us. Please listen to their discussions with the Director of the Equity Initiatives Unit, Mr. Troy Boddy. As you listen think about the connections to your own practice and path.

What is Your Evidence of Equity?

Now that you've had the chance to hear from your colleagues, we would like to hear from you. Please click on this survey and let us know your Evidence of Equity.

Lead Effective Meetings

We have observed that many meetings in MCPS have little or no structure. It's not uncommon for us to join a team working on sensitive issues while most of the participants have their screens off, or 30 people all on screen together trying to brainstorm. It is our belief that we will not effectively address challenges like online learning and equity if we don't plan better meetings.

Below are three resources to help plan and facilitate better meetings:

Help Your Team or Department Develop an Antiracist Approach

As you plan for your leadership meetings or pre-service, consider using this module to help staff develop the skills and mindset to analyze student voice.

The module helps teams to:

  • Evaluate the culture of your school or department
  • Understand stakeholder voice
  • Prioritize areas for action
  • Develop an anti-racist approach to change

Evidence of Equity

Use the Evidence of Equity questions to help ensure that you are working with an equity lens. Please contact your equity or learning and achievement specialists for help determining the best questions for your school or office.

More Tools, Modules, and Resources

Didn't find what you're looking for in this newsletter? Check out our live resource page.

Equity Support

Follow us on Twitter @mcpsequityteam and look for resources at http://bit.ly/mcpsEQUITY

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Created By
John Landesman