Welcome to the CPE blog: Equity & Engagement in Education! We are so excited to create a space that will help all of us expand equity and engagement in our classrooms, buildings, and districts. At times, this blog may seem very serious and formal, and that is because we take these matters to heart. At other times, you will hear vulnerable voices asking difficult questions. But we hope that you will always find a useful bit of knowledge and an actionable step in every post. To start, let’s explain a little about why we’re here and why we care so deeply about equity and engagement in educational settings:
Not only are we–individually, and as an organization–passionate about addressing educational inequities and disengaged students, we also know that you–our community of educators–are equally passionate about these topics…and sometimes at a loss for how to rectify such issues.
We have sat with groups of administrators and heard, “these topics are hard and we value them, but we don’t know where to start.” We have had teachers share with us that they are scared to tackle anything related to gender or race because they don’t know how the community will react. We have had superintendents tell us, “I want to engage my teachers in culturally relevant training, but my board will not allow it.” And we have heard students lament, “school doesn’t feel like a safe place,” and “we want to be able to be ourselves.” Ultimately, all of these statements tell us the same thing: “we need help.” And so, we are here to offer you help.
We want to help each of you–classroom teachers, building leaders, and district administrators–to create more equitable and engaging education for your students. We want to help you foster learning environments that are rigorous, personalized, and inviting–where everyone can feel that they are safe, and they belong. When students feel a sense of belonging in their classrooms and schools, they are more prepared to engage in their learning and ready to take on the challenges of life.
We realize, and want you to realize, that we will not solve educational inequities and disengaged students in a day or a year. We do not expect any of us to become experts overnight. We want all of us to be open, vulnerable, reflective, and accept that we will never do it all perfectly…but we can grow and learn every single day. No matter what the topic–student voice, competency-based learning, school-business partnerships–we always advise our partners to start small and grow their practice as they go. So, let’s start small by identifying one thing we can do this week to create a better sense of belonging in our classrooms, buildings, and districts.
With each post, you will see “Opportunity for Reflection,” with specific prompts for our different stakeholders. You will see an action segment at the end of every post, where we will provide a usable strategy or a reflective opportunity for addressing specific topics. We hope these segments will provide you with ideas and inspiration to grow your practice of equitable and engaging education.
Opportunities for Reflection
- Classroom Teachers: Which of my students were the least engaged today? What can I do tomorrow to pull that student into my lesson?
- Building Administrators: Which of my teachers seems to be struggling the most right now? How can I remind them tomorrow that they are a valuable part of our school?
- District Administrators: Which building in my district has the most welcoming atmosphere? How can I celebrate that tomorrow?