Educators at Catlin Gabel are deepening their equity literacy skills to help create a learning environment where all students and colleagues are seen for who they are
By Jasmine Love, Director of Inclusion and Outreach, and Krystal Wu, Upper School English Teacher and Equity Literacy Professional Learning Coordinator
It hasn’t been easy. This past year, we’ve found ourselves in some rabbit holes, and gotten stuck grappling with questions that came up around race and equity. But the Catlin Gabel community has pushed forward with action steps inspired by our antiracism vision. We continue to focus on how we can expand our community engagement efforts with an antiracism and equity lens.
We are examining the climate and culture at Catlin Gabel after listening to many of our students, parents, and guardians whose voices have been marginalized; they’ve shared their experiences and let their needs be known. And we have created an oppressive language policy and protocol to ensure that teachers are more careful in how they present materials that contain oppressive language and depictions.
Until this year, however, we have not done as much work institutionally in looking at our curriculum with an equity lens and ensuring culturally responsive instruction by creating goals and competencies for our teachers. To this end, Krystal Wu has worked with instructional coaches and school leadership this year to form an Equity Literacy Design Team.
Becoming more equity literate requires educators to deeply understand how equity and inequity operate in schools and society, to identify and eliminate inequities, and to actively cultivate equity.
In the 2021-22 school year, divisional employees will attend eight all-school professional learning sessions focused on building their equity literacy. Designed and facilitated by the Equity Literacy Design Team (comprised of Catlin Gabel teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators), the sessions will include ample time in facilitated small groups to build community, discuss case studies, engage in protocol-based conversations, share action steps to take in our work with students, and reflect on changes we make to our instructional and curriculum practices. To support this work, we are consulting with the Equity Literacy Institute, an organization that partners with schools as they make the necessary changes to prioritize historically marginalized students and families.
As a teacher, I am excited to have these authentic learning experiences with my colleagues and to deepen my own equity literacy skills. My vision for Catlin Gabel is a place where all our students and colleagues are seen for who they are and are able to take action for racial and social justice. If we each learn to cultivate equity in our spheres of influence, we can begin to give shape to this vision.