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.
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 above. For 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.
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:
- Start with Deanna Kuhney's How Did We Get Here, a short essay about one department's evolution to become a tight knit caring team that can push each other to be better.
- Then take the short online module called Planning Effective and Culturally Responsive Meetings
- Finally, use this Planning Worksheet for planning your next meeting. It includes guiding questions and specific tools for planning and leading effective 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.