ICS Community Equity Ally Academy Session #2 Recap

Approximately 45 community members including parents, educators, School Board members, and Village Board members participated in the second Integrated Comprehensive Systems (ICS) Equity Ally Academy Workshop.  This meeting was the second of a four part series which will help support the work the District is doing with ICS.  The goals of the ICS Equity Ally Academy are to:
  1. Learn more about the Shorewood School District’s Equity work
  2. Learn how to support the district’s efforts-as an ally
  3. Learn how to advance equity in your community spaces (e.g., home, work, church, community)
During the second session, the group leaned into the timeliness of the work being done with a research-informed focus on shifting from deficit to asset-based thinking and language. Many attendees reflected on how impactful it is to reframe their thinking and language about identities and identity intersections in ways that affirm and legitimize the assets and experiences of the diverse Shorewood community. This work will help everyone recognize, address, and dismantle stereotypes and implicit biases that contribute to inequitable systems and outcomes. 
Below is some of the feedback participants provided, when answering "What resonated with you? What gave you pause?"
"Language = Power. Deficit language is another way for me to see my biases. I appreciated Elise explaining how asset language use is another foundation for the why so we can change the structures/systems creating inequities."
"How focusing on assets changes the system's function on the outside AND the inside"
"The role language can play in how we value individuals; moving from deficit to asset-based feels allows us to value the skills and talents everyone has."
"deficits based language vs assets based language is a RADICAL shift . You can't change the system before you understand what it is and how it is working."
"Looking at families through a strengths lens. What assets do families and their children bring to the school community?"
"I appreciated the reminder that language is so closely connected to how we act - and that the need for asset based language is NOW."
"All families value education, but not all families are able to participate in education in the same ways. How can we involve families who don't have the time or means to show up at conferences or volunteer at school? How can we make them feel valued, and how can their children get the benefits that more traditionally involved families get?"
"language influences thinking -- how we talk about something changes the way we think -- much like growth mindset vs fixed mindset and what kind of self-talk we are teaching kids. How we talk about race and anti-racism, especially with our kids, influences how we think and act within systems of white supremacy."
"How a shift in language from deficit to asset can reset what is expected of a student"
The next Equity Ally Academy meeting will be held virtually on Thursday May 13, 2021 from 6:00pm-8:30pm.
For more background information on the ICS for Equity partnership, visit the ICS for Equity webpage.