Equity In Action

Learn more about the Shorewood School District's important equity work as staff members across the District answer the following four questions:
 
1) From your perspective, what impact has the ICS planning/work had on students and/or the community so far?
 2) How has your specific work aligned with our equity work?
3) What steps have you taken to look at inequities within your systems?  How have you tried to address these?
4) What collaboration has taken place within your sphere of influence to create different outcomes for the District?

katherine myszewski1) From your perspective, what impact has the ICS planning/work had on students and/or the community so far?

 

The ICS work that Shorewood School District has been engaging in has had an impact on staff, as they have started to examine their identities, privilege, and systems that they are a part of. Although this work has started, equity is a lifelong journey where school staff are continuously reflecting on their practices and systems. I have seen many courageous and uncomfortable conversations happen amongst staff through ICS. The ICS work has had an impact on students because conversations around social justice, related to race, ethnicity, and gender are being held and welcomed within the classroom. 

 

2) How has your specific work aligned with our equity work?

 

My work with Rainbow Crew has aligned with the ICS work because Rainbow Crew supports LGBTQ+ students. Members in the LGBTQ+ community are historically marginalized; thus examining systems and restructuring them to affirm LGBTQ+ identities is a necessary part of the ICS work. I chose to start Rainbow Crew because I saw a need for additional support for LGBTQ+ students at the elementary level. Shorewood High School and Shorewood Middle School both have student clubs that support LGBTQ+ students. When I started at Shorewood, this type of support did not exist at the elementary level. Through establishing Rainbow Crew, I wanted to create a safe place for students to feel comfortable talking about gender and sexual orientation. Rainbow Crew is an affinity group for LGBTQ+ students and allies at both Lake Bluff Elementary School and Atwater Elementary School. Rainbow Crew meets once a month to discuss various topics related to gender and sexual orientation. Students participated in activities, conversations, and even designed Pride Month posters which were sold at the Lake Bluff Student Market to raise funds for UNICEF. Between both schools, there are over 180 students involved in Rainbow Crew.

 

3) What steps have you taken to look at inequities within your systems?  How have you tried to address these?

 

In my role as the Shorewood Elementary School Band Teacher, I have noticed the lack of a culturally responsive curriculum written for elementary band. This past summer, I wrote out the Shorewood Elementary Band curriculum in the form of a guaranteed viable curriculum. Marzano (2003) says that “a guaranteed and viable curriculum (GVC) ensures that all students have an equal opportunity to learn (OTL). Each student will have access to an effective or highly effective teacher, and access to the same content, knowledge and skills in each section or class.” The Elementary Band GVC is standards based and will create opportunities for all students to show their mastery in the music standards. 

 

Part of having an equitable curriculum is having culturally responsive curriculum resources to support learning the standards. After reviewing past band method books used in Shorewood (a curriculum resource), I have also adopted a new curriculum resource for fourth grade band that is more culturally responsive. Many elementary band method books contain popular songs that are also minstrel songs (“Camptown Races” and “Jingle Bells” are a few examples). Minstrel songs were used in minstrel shows. Minstrel shows were composed of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music performances that characterized people of African descent in a racist way through the use of blackface. Although these tunes are well known and are easy for beginner band students to learn, I wanted to eliminate these songs from the elementary band resources because their roots are steeped in racism. Thus, I have adopted “Habits of a Successful Beginner Band Musician” as a resource where all songs are screened for cultural responsiveness. 

 

4) What collaboration has taken place within your sphere of influence to create different outcomes for the District?


Many staff members have collaborated with me to support Rainbow Crew at the monthly meetings. Additionally, with each lesson, I have created a caregiver guide that educates adults on the monthly Rainbow Crew topic. These documents were intentionally made to provide care and support to caregivers who in turn can provide care and support at home to the scholars in Rainbow Crew. The caregiver guides were designed by myself in relation to the monthly Rainbow Crew topic. The staff members that help with Rainbow Crew also review these guides and provide feedback. The Rainbow Crew caregiver guides highlight learning targets, new information learned, question prompts, and activities to extend learning. In the process of creating the caregiver guides, I learned the importance of supporting initiatives that are happening within the school building at home. In order for change to truly work, it needs to be a community effort. Thus, caregivers need to be educated about the initiative topics and how they support their scholars in the school’s work.

 

Outside of Rainbow Crew, I have collaborated with the previous Shorewood High School Band teacher, Bryan Kujawa, to discuss and review our band literature to work on programming more culturally responsive music. 

 

Links to Rainbow Crew Resources:


Rainbow Crew Caregiver Letter
Rainbow Crew Meeting #2

Rainbow Crew February Caregiver Information

Rainbow Crew Meeting #3

Rainbow Crew March Caregiver Information

Rainbow Crew Meeting #4

April Rainbow Crew Caregiver Information

Rainbow Crew Meeting #5

May Rainbow Crew Caregiver Information

jody1) From your perspective, what impact has the ICS planning/work had on students and/or the community so far?

The ICS work is in year three of implementation, so we are working on how we continue to inform the public about the work our staff is doing.  The work continues to build our capacity to support students moving forward.  The Rec Department sees how our equity work can give more accessibility to our students, our families, our community members, and our staff.  
 
2) How has your specific work aligned with our equity work?
 
Our department does our best to equip participants, community members, and instructors with the necessary support to provide opportunities for everyone interested in participating in our programs. Whether that be additional staff, room accommodations, or other needed support.  The various ways that community members, staff, students, alumni, and families can use our facilities provides opportunities to keep people active and engaged.  These connections allow for more equitable access and opportunities for many.
 
We also provide employment opportunities for several students. Justin Calvert and Perry Perkins, two of our Recreation Supervisors, have made it a priority to include multiple current and former Shorewood High School students on our program staff year-round. Perry served as an assistant coach for the track team with a goal of building relationships with students. Justin also reaches out to students and coaches when recruiting staff. Justin has worked with the high school coaches to provide camps and clinics for young players. These efforts have resulted in building relationships with students that have led to adding them to our staff and providing opportunities to build a resume that will help them attain opportunities later in life. 
 
3) What steps have you taken to look at inequities within your systems?  How have you tried to address these?

We pursue accommodations to make participation possible as much as possible. We do this on a case-by-case basis. Each situation is different based on the needs of the participant we are accommodating. We do our best to get everyone in the room, on the court, in the pool, etc. that would like to be there.
 
4) What lessons have you/your colleagues learned from engaging in this work? 
 
We appreciate the cooperation of the various school district departments when we are looking for support. Being able to accommodate the needs of participants takes the training and support of multiple district employees. Everyone is always willing to provide their services when they are able.  
sam pietenpol1) From your perspective, what impact has the ICS planning/work had on students and/or the community so far?
 
I believe that the work we’ve been doing through ICS is helping us educators work towards an environment that makes every single child feel smart, capable and valued. A large component of ICS is building knowledge and perspective of structural and personal inequities in education. It illuminates the common structures and practices that historically and persistently marginalize our students, it leads us to engage in our own personal identity development, and it prompts us to re-examine the deficit language and thinking that harm and hold back our students. This work has given teachers the opportunity to make changes in both their practices and their beliefs to better serve students. As a result, our students are learning in more equitable environments where their teachers believe in them and hold them to high standards.
 
2) How has your specific work aligned with our equity work?
 
A major component of our equity work is calling others into the conversation. It’s not enough just to recognize inequities. It’s not enough to take on dismantling those inequities on your own. To make change, you have to be able to call others into the work to collaborate. Through the Lake Bluff Student Market for Ukraine, I was able to support my sixth graders in this work. They recognized that there were people in need of support and were determined to raise funds to give that support, but most importantly, they called in every other student at Lake Bluff to make the change they wanted to see. These sixth graders crafted videos to educate and empower their peers from kindergarten through sixth grade to join in on the effort. They gathered all students’ crafts and combined them with their own to sell hundreds of crafts at the fair. It’s because of their leadership and collaboration that our market was so successful. As an educator, I believe the foundation of excellent and equitable education is to empower our students to become leaders for change. My work wasn’t to create this market, but to support my students as creators and leaders. They brought together a community to make change, and I believe that is at the core our equity work.

3) What steps have you taken to look at inequities within your systems?  How have you tried to address these?
 
Through conversations I’ve had in ICS, I’ve been told to ask myself, “Is what I’m doing making every child feel smart?” and “Am I holding every child to a high standard?” These questions have guided and changed the structures I put in place in my classroom. I have dismantled ability grouping in my room, and am rebuilding collaborative group work that engages a diverse group of students. This allows powerful minds with contrasting perspectives to learn from and grow with each other. All of my students are held to the same high standard and engage in their work with the support of their peers. As a result, I hope to make every child feel smart, capable and valued. 

4) What collaboration has taken place within your sphere of influence to create different outcomes for the District?
 
Collaboration has been at the heart of successful outcomes in my educational sphere. I have been able to collaborate with our district and school equity teams to analyze the inequalities in schools and discuss what approaches, conversations or supports we can put in place to begin to dismantle them. I am lucky to work with my co-teacher everyday while leading instruction. She both challenges me and inspires me to make changes within our classroom to provide our learners with better, more meaningful education. Most importantly, I am consistently collaborating with my students. In our classroom Crew, we engage in critical conversations about current events and the world we live in. Students share their experiences and beliefs around the issue to co-construct greater insights and personal connection. Through this collaboration, we are able to empower each other to engage in conversations and ultimately make change in our District and community.
kelly steiner1) From your perspective, what impact has the ICS planning/work had on students and/or the community so far?

Sometimes it's hard to see the incredible progress that we've made, but this year when SIS was doing our review and revisit of ICS work so far, we celebrated the growth that has come from each step.  We revisited our model of school that we created when we first embarked on ICS work, and saw all of the ways we have changed.  We still have a lot of work to do, but it's also important to celebrate our growth.  I am proud of us as a district for wrestling with the work that is so hard, but the right thing to do.  We have made a lot of mistakes, but those are also learning opportunities and we can't make mistakes if we're not trying to move forward.
 
I see us working on changing our system so that we shift from blaming a student that doesn't fit a narrow normative, to seeing how the system can better take responsibility for every student as a full and complex human.  We separate, segregate and label kids a lot less.  We have grown in our ability to take responsibility for growing our own capacity to serve.  We have shifted our language and thinking to be more assets-based, which has made us more hopeful, more responsible, and more responsive.  We have built in supports for students and staff to grow such as restorative practices and a community circle for students, and collaborative planning time for staff.
 
2) How has your specific work aligned with our equity work?

One of my roles in the district is a co-program lead for the induction program.  We work with new teaching staff to support their growth as educators.  Equity is a centerpiece of this work.  Since working with Dr. Capper and Fratura, we have worked to improve our job postings to make sure that we're making it very clear that we're seeking people who are serious about doing the work of unpacking our systems and building a more equitable world.  Our interview questions have changed to challenge potential hires to reflect on inequities and wrestle with the difficult work we're engaging in.  As a result, our new hires have been absolutely amazing.  
 
After hiring, it is our job to help them both understand the progress of our work and also to use their new perspectives and experiences to help us grow.  We begin with a training during new teacher week in which we set the stage for our ICS work and review the first few modules so that when whole staffs meet, the new hires are ready to engage with their building in reviewing the work and moving it forward.  
 
Second, every building team begins every year with a review of the ICS work so far, revisiting the content of every module we have completed.  This is an important feature because it means that our work survives any person or people changing roles.  Part of the power of ICS is that it is both top down and bottom up.  Beginning every year this way allows us to make sure that every staff member is a part of the solution every year.  
 
This year, a brilliant team met over the summer and planned a Courageous Conversations about Race professional development that every building experienced during the in-service week for all staff.  This encouraged deep and meaningful conversations and connections between staff, and helped to incorporate new staff into their building teams where they can both build connections and share their perspective and wisdom.  Once the school year gets going, we match new hires with trained mentors to help them continue to reflect on their practice and grow in their ability to serve all children.  This mutually beneficial relationship helps us to establish a culture of support, continual growth, and unflinching movement on the work of building a more equitable and just school system.
 
3) What steps have you taken to look at inequities within your systems?  How have you tried to address these?
 
As each of us has grown in our analysis of our systems and ability to do the hard work of accepting our failures and learning new ways of doing things, we have challenged and supported each other to grow.  We now have structures that regularly help us to meet with each other, challenge each others' thinking, and teach each other new strategies to better serve all kids.  The Induction Program has evaluated our feedback data and used interviews to analyze our ability to serve new staff, especially new staff of the global majority, and leverage their willingness to work with us to help our system improve.  We work with the Dane County New Teacher Project consortium and their Partners for Racial Inclusion to improve our program.  Again, we're far from done with this work but I'm proud that we keep working to be better.
 
4) What collaboration has taken place within your sphere of influence to create different outcomes for the District?

At SIS, we have been moving toward having collaborative planning time to co-plan to co-serve to co-learn.  The Induction program works with the building lead mentor, the trained mentors, and district leaders to continually reflect on our program and improve it.  Equity has become a centerpiece of all conversations at all levels, which is an incredible step and will help us to continue to move toward our vision.

emma z1) From your perspective, what impact has the ICS planning/work had on students and/or the community so far?


Through our ICS work, the staff has committed to creating more inclusive environments for all students. We have been working collectively to meet the needs of all students academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally through instruction in the general education setting. As part of this work, we have examined our personal identities and how these identities impact our interactions with others and the decisions we make as educators. We have also looked at the systems within the district that have contributed to inequities and looked for opportunities to proactively address and transform these systems to create more equitable outcomes for all students. As a staff, we have challenged each other to reflect on our practices within our classrooms and larger school community in an effort to provide individual students with opportunities for support within their classroom setting before seeking support outside of the classroom.


 2) How has your specific work aligned with our equity work?

 

The Equitable Multi-Level Systems of Support (EMLSS) process drives our work. At the center of the EMLSS framework are the strategic use of data, collaboration, and high quality instruction. In order to create equitable outcomes for all students, all layers of the support system framework must work in tandem. Using this framework has helped us make some impactful changes in our approach to literacy instruction in the primary grades. For example, as a result of our data team meetings, we noticed that many of the students identified for reading intervention support had gaps in their phonics skills and knowledge. We recognized the need for a universal approach for teaching these skills in a systematic and explicit way, so we implemented a phonics pilot for grades K-3 in the Fall of 2021. The pilot became the impetus for us to reexamine our literacy instruction as a whole; last summer, a group of teachers from Atwater, Lake Bluff, and SIS met to identify priority standards in English Language Arts and begin the process of developing common assessments for reading and writing units. By developing clear visions for teaching and learning, we are better prepared as a system to meet our goal of providing equitable outcomes for all students.



3) What steps have you taken to look at inequities within your systems?  How have you tried to address cate s.these?


Several years ago, a district Response to Intervention team was gathered to address the disproportionality and overrepresentation of Black students within special education. This team looked at root causes and possible solutions to create a more equitable learning experience for all students.  In order to create a more objective process for identifying students in need of additional support, the team recognized the need for a data-driven approach through the EMLSS process.  One of the outcomes of this work was the implementation of a universal screening tool (FastBridge) for reading and math K-8, which is administered three times per year. The FastBridge data provides grade-level teams with information that can be used in connection with other data gathered to design instruction for all students in their classrooms. We were also able to use the data to look at overall trends in student achievement and identify opportunities for our district to shift instructional practices, such as the implementation of a phonics program to systematically address the development of foundational skills in the early grades.


4) What collaboration has taken place within your sphere of influence to create different outcomes for the District?


One of the strengths of Shorewood’s staff is their willingness to collaborate on a range of topics to the benefit of all students. Collaboration occurs in formal and informal ways throughout the school year and over the summer. For the past two years, classroom teachers and support staff specialists have been meeting as grade level teams to analyze data from multiple sources at regular intervals throughout the school year. At these data meetings, staff identify strengths and areas for growth for students. Using asset-based language, grade level teams develop plans for whole group instruction as well as opportunities to support small groups or individual students working towards specific learning outcomes. In our supporting roles, we are in constant collaboration with teachers to ensure the best possible outcomes for our students. This can range from something as simple as identifying common language for introducing a phonics skill to spending weeks together in the summer to develop units of study for reading and writing that align with our vision for student learning outcomes at each grade level. 

sarah kopplin1) From your perspective, what impact has the ICS planning/work had on students and/or the community so far?
 
I think that the ICS planning and work that we have started in the SSD has made impacts in how we approach decision making and even in simple, more informal interactions. Just the simple focus on assets-based language has helped to improve our entire school community culture.
 
The willingness to dive into learning about our own identity and how that affects others in a system and in a community is not something that has historically been done, so we have experienced mistakes and missteps so far. I personally think this is part of how we grow and learn. I also think that these mistakes and missteps are how we get to a better system to serve all our students. Learning about the historical impacts of systemic inequities as well as intentional and unintentional decisions that have had such negative impacts on students and people within our community is a vital step to improving our society. As a social studies educator and someone who deeply values the role that schools play in preserving and improving our democracy, I think this equity work is the definition of civic engagement and is necessary to the survival of our nation's public schools. As we continue in our ICS work and we make decisions in our schools that will create systemic changes to benefit our students, I believe it will positively impact our society at large.

 2) How has your specific work aligned with our equity work?
 
The work I am doing in my 7th grade social studies classes has been informed and improved over time from a lot of professional development I have sought outside of the school district and the ICS work has truly augmented this PD and pushed me to grow individually and as part of our system. The way that I plan and approach lessons, units, assessments, and the way I think about how my students learn best has changed over time due to the combination of this PD. 
 
The ICS work has also explicitly shown the importance of eliminating pull outs in an educational environment and prioritized the need for adult professional collaboration time to best serve all students. It has always been a goal of mine to be given time to plan with my department colleagues, co-teachers, and experts in our support staff so we can ensure that all students have lessons and classroom experiences designed before they arrive, rather than making decisions after a class to meet the needs of students a lesson did not work for. I am really excited about the ICS model to include C3 teams which will ensure that all lessons and learning and assessment is planned in teams and is built into our work day/week while we are all together. I just know this is going to make school so much better for our kids. We are already seeing that work play out due to the prioritization and trial of collaboration teams during school hours this year. 
 
I have also made changes to my curriculum to help my students engage in identity work that aligns with our state curriculum standards in social studies. They have done things like investigate the truth behind stereotypes and learn ways to combat those stereotypes by becoming upstanders and educators themselves. Having our district embrace this ICS Equity work and hire leaders who embrace it has allowed me to let students learn about important topics and engage in civil discourse during class time. This was not always the case so it feels good to be able to see my own growth as a teacher and how wonderful it is for students to be allowed to learn about things that are important to them and our world. We hold pop up discussions, socratic seminars, and consensus building conversations that allow for deep inquiry and thinking. I have friends in other communities and districts who are not even allowed to teach about elections or current events, so it feels wonderful to have a community and school leadership that allows students to do so. 
 
I have also worked with department colleagues to ensure that student voice and choice are at the root of all learning so that students have agency and develop independence in their learning process. Right now students are learning about a country of their choice and they developed their own inquiry questions about the surface and deep cultures there after reflecting on their own cultural identities. My students also vote on decisions they make as a community or even the topic they want to discuss for our monthly current events discussions. These simple changes to the learning environment facilitate opportunities for kids to see themselves in their learning experiences and to have a learning experience that fits their needs.
 
Something I have changed over the past few years in my approach to grading and reporting. When using equitable grading practices, one of the most successful approaches is to ensure that all students have the opportunity to develop their skills at the highest level so accepting late work and allowing and requiring revisions is holding all students to achieve at their highest levels. Something as simple as not offering students a holistic rubric that allows them to "shoot for the C or B", but replacing that with a Single Point Rubric which just shows the expectations for how to achieve high quality grade level work, or the revisions needed to get to that.
 
I am currently working with the Department of Public Instruction as a Facilitator of a Civics Task force to construct and implement a new K-12 Civics Scope & Sequencing for Wisconsin. It is very important to me that the way we approach social studies and civics education in Shorewood is aligned to Wisconsin's Social Studies Standards from 2018. These standards guide learning experiences in classrooms to cultivate student agency, develop strong inquiry skills, and require student voice and choice. Our Civics scope & sequencing is also aligned to the work of Dr. Gholdy Muhammad to ensure that a framework for equitable and culturally and historically responsive learning is used to structure all learning for students in Wisconsin social studies classrooms. The Middle School Workgroup portion of the Taskforce I am facilitating has recommended three new courses for grades 6-8 for Wisconsin! These courses are going to better serve our students. They will be:
 
  • 6th Grade: World Geography & Cultures "Then & Now": Drawing connections between ancient and modern worlds
  • 7th Grade: Civics & Contemporary Issues
  • 8th Grade: US & Wisconsin Studies/Civics 1924-1981
 
All courses will be inclusive of learning that is focused on students developing civic skills and knowledge, but most importantly, civic dispositions and the ability to be civically engaged through proven practices that require student agency and voice.
 
This is such exciting work to be a part of! It is also so wonderful because the goals of this work align perfectly with the goals of the ICS work we are doing here in Shorewood. I hope to continue to be a bridge to our schools and community to see systemic changes and growth in how and what students are learning in their social studies classes. Ultimately, this is going to help them to be the future change makers and be equipped with the knowledge and skills to showcase their voices and passions to preserve and improve our country.

3) What steps have you taken to look at inequities within your systems?  How have you tried to address these?
 
I am a part of our Building Leadership Team at SIS and I have been able to learn alongside amazing and deeply committed educators and administrators to identify inequities in our system here in Shorewood. We work as a team to find ways to reduce pull outs, identify ways our system can promote heterogeneous grouping, foster student voice and choice, and identify needs we have to be able to have the capacity to develop culturally responsive learning environments and best practices. Our team has tried to find ways to improve our current school schedule which has placed limitations on our ability to eliminate inequities. It has also placed huge roadblocks in our way when trying to find collaborative time that is built in to house our C3 Teams. I also have a deep interest in research based practices and data collection in my own practices that has lent to my contributions to this team to recommend books, training, and resources to support teachers in our next steps of ICS as we get into C3 team planning. I am really excited about the schedule work to see how this impacts our building next year. I think it is going to really serve our kids well because it will be inclusive of time for cross-curricular planning and will get us in a better position to remove homogeneous groupings and pull outs. 
 
On a personal level I have worked with my department at SIS over the past 6 years to track data about student engagement, belonging, and metacognition. This data has really helped me, my department, and our 7th grade team to track the same types of data and analyze how different identity groups of students feel about these things. It has helped to inform our decisions and pay closer attention to ways we can better serve populations of students who may fly under the radar because they are in an underrepresented identity group. 

4) What collaboration has taken place within your sphere of influence to create different outcomes for the District?
 
The spaces I have worked to collaborate in to see different outcomes for the district are in my classroom, with my department colleagues, with my 7th grade team, with my school leadership team, and with our Interim Director of Teaching & Learning. Shorewood is a place that thrives when collaboration happens! I feel fortunate to be accepted in these spheres. My goal is to help my students to see me as the person in the classroom who is helping them to develop their own independence and confidence as learners. With my department and 7th grade team I hope to be the person to learn along with them, but also share my expertise with planning and backward design and research based practices that are culturally responsive for students. With our building leadership team I hope to help support our school in building a schedule and an environment that is not just a "space" kids come to each day, but is a "place" where they can grow and become independent and confident. At the district level it has been wonderful to work with Mike Joynt to support a vision for a K-12 Social Studies scope & sequencing and alignment shift. I truly think that this alignment is vital for our students to develop strong inquiry and literacy and civic engagement skills.
 
I would love to see shifts in our assessment practices and also how we view and value social studies education in our district and community. I am hopeful for those changes someday!
 
I love living and working in Shorewood. It is wonderful to see our schools and community embracing the difficult and active work of improving our school system for our future generation of leaders.
emily berry1) From your perspective, what impact has the ICS planning/work had on students and/or the community so far?

I think maybe the most powerful impact has been the consistency of taking a systemic approach rather than trying to resolve inequities and improve outcomes one at a time. Even if there's still trepidation and questions about specific implementation steps, I think we've moved past the idea that we can just take a one-and-done training and be done talking about educational equity. Inequities aren't weeds in an otherwise perfect garden - they are planted there and thrive because we continue to re-seed and fertilize them. That's the system we have to re-engineer if we want to see different results.
 
2) How has your specific work aligned with our equity work?
 
I know that equitable outcomes will manifest in the classroom, and the attention is rightfully focused there. But I do think the board's work matters. We have deliberately reframed our policies and consciously make other decisions based on asset-based language and our shared understanding that there is no excellence without equity. We also set expectations for how the district operates based on those values.
 
3) What steps have you taken to look at inequities within your systems?  How have you tried to address these?

That's a long list, from talking about the ways we engage with community members (i.e. do we make it easy for everyone to reach us), to what I mentioned above about revising our policies and operating expectations. We never stop that self-examination around how we are moving the needle forward equity. In fact, we added that to our usual debrief questions, so if you're still awake at the end of our meetings, you can hear us talk about how we spent our meeting time and whether we missed any opportunities to promote equity and eliminate barriers to excellence and growth for all students.

4) What collaboration has taken place within your sphere of influence to create different outcomes for the District?

Our board is very collaborative with each other and with our Superintendent, along with her cabinet. All of our work begins with asking how we are using our resources - our money, our people, our expertise and our time - to support  high-quality teaching and learning for all students, and to what extent we're seeing the outcomes we expect. I think back to pre-pandemic times for one of the most powerful examples: In 2019/early 2020, we recalibrated our strategic plan to embed equity rather than making it a standalone element. We were lucky to have many staff and faculty join us along with community members and students, and we were able to set goals that still anchor our work today.
 
Along with all of the board members I've been privileged to work with, I've used my platform to be an advocate for students, to champion and even demand equity. I have tried to recognize and call out where we are falling short of our goals, and taken responsibility for how as a board member I have upheld or helped dismantle harmful systems. I hope that has made it easier for other stakeholders to do the same, because that vulnerability is really important to the work. Then, of course, we get up and keep going, striving to avoid repeating mistakes.
 
I'm so proud to be a small part of this change across our schools, and credit all of the people who have shed blood, sweat and tears to get us this far. There is still much to do, but I am really grateful that our community, our students, our teachers and caregivers are so committed to staying with this work. That isn't the case everywhere -- I can't imagine serving on a board anywhere else.