Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness ~Jan. 2021~ #AISDEquity

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CP&I Vision

Provide ongoing, meaningful coaching and professional learning opportunities for Austin ISD staff to engage in critical self-reflection on their interaction with students and their families in a manner that considers the diverse needs of all. The goals and objectives for the office are focused on clearly communicating an equitable and responsive lens in all that we do. The Race Equity Council serves as our body of partners committed to the work and possessing the multiple perspectives to keep our focus on the vision.

CP&I Essential Questions

  • How do we utilize culturally proficient and inclusive ways of being to disrupt the predictability of success or failure by race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or immigration status?

  • How does Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness relate to culturally relevant teaching, culturally responsive teaching, culturally & linguistically sustaining pedagogy and educator praxis?

  • How do we shift our practices away from punitive, prescriptive, and deficit structures to practices that center identity safety where children learn, grow and lead?

We invite you to reflect on these questions and use them to guide the work that you do this year for our students, families, and community in Austin ISD.

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As educators focused on developing our cultural proficiency lens, we work from the intention of understanding the natural tension and conflict that exists in our world. Our role is to recognize barriers and create opportunities to identity-safe classrooms and workplaces. Overcoming the barriers to cultural proficiency are an important tool in the development of identity-safe schools. The barriers as outlined by leaders in cultural proficiency “serve as personal, professional, and

institutional impediments to moral and just service to a diverse society by being:

  • Resistant to change,

  • Unaware of the need to adapt,

  • Not acknowledging systemic oppression, and

  • Benefitting from a sense of privilege & entitlement.”

Source Opening Doors: An implementation template for Cultural Proficiency Arriaga & Lindsey, 2016

In November 2020, we introduced you to the Guiding Principles of Cultural Proficiency. The guiding principles are core values used as a lens to examine the words we use versus our actions toward equity. We use the guiding principles to check in and hold ourselves accountable to equity-centered action in our daily lives and decision-making.

There exists an ethical tension as one works to overcome the barriers while examining one's words and actions toward equity through the guiding principles. This is that area where we ask you to lean into the discomfort of this work. Given the tension we find ourselves in after the events of January 6, 2021 in the halls of the United States Capitol, I invite you to examine the guiding principles presented in the November newsletter and reflect on the barriers that were present that day and were made more apparent as you provide social, emotional and academic supports to our students and social, emotional and professional support to each other.

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Creating Space for Critical Conversations

As Dr. Elizalde, Superintendent of Austin ISD, said in her statement, "Our students have witnessed an attack on our democracy against the horrific backdrop of the ongoing pandemic and are looking to us to make sense of our future. It is imperative that we speak out critically and emphatically that the actions of treasonous individuals that desecrated our Capitol were wrong and should not be tolerated." Read the full statement here.

Below are some resources to help you plan for critical conversations in your classroom every day, but also in response to events like the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th.

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Despite America’s most sacred ideal of egalitarianism, racial inequality has been a fact of American life throughout our history. Despite historic civil rights advancements, systemic inequity continues to be ingrained in our society—including in our own communities—holding us back from our promise.

How can we all make a difference? The Path to Racial Equity, a series of six free virtual programs beginning on Thursday, January 14th at 5:30pm, will draw on experts who will examine the issues surrounding racial inequity in Austin and offer simple, practical steps each of us can take to be part of the solution.

Registration is free and open to the public. You can sign up here.

Following the Thursday virtual conversations, the Central Texas Collective for Racial Equity will host “Path to Equity: The Aftershow” every Tuesday on Facebook Live. Central Texas regional thought-leaders will share their personal reactions, insights and perspectives to each episode in the Path to Equity series in a small roundtable conversation followed by a live Q&A. More information to come.

You can register for the The Aftershow here.

To learn more about each session in the series, click here.

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Beyond "I Have a Dream"

How might the narrow focus in schools on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech be a barrier to cultural proficiency, equity, and antiracism?

"Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain… Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter—but beautiful—struggle for a new world."

—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Click on the links below for lessons and resources about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement that go beyond “I have a dream.”

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Restorative Practices in Austin ISD

Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant Symposium

JOIN US!!!!!

The third annual EIR Grant Symposium will convene on February 2 & 3, 2021, from 5:30 - 7:30 pm for EIR campus and district staff and February 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for all parents and Austin ISD community members. The Education, Innovation & Research (EIR) Grant is focused on implementing and evaluating Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices (CRRP) at ten Austin ISD schools (Barrington, Becker, Blanton, Blazier, Cook & Pickle elementary schools and Burnet, Dobie, Garcia and Mendez middle schools). For more information about the EIR Grant click the link to the Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness webpage: https://www.austinisd.org/cpi/restorative-practices .

An EIR Symposium event for parents and community members will take place February 9th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This event is a general informational overview of the EIR grant and CRRP in Austin ISD and is open to all parents and Austin ISD community members. Details about registration for the community event will be posted and updated soon to the CP&I Webpage.

We are excited to share a report of the year two implementation of culturally responsive restorative practices in Austin ISD which details preliminary data from the 10 EIR schools. To review the report, visit https://www.austinisd.org/cpi/restorative-practices.

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Let’s keep the conversations about race going …

In this month’s RaceTalk (ATX- Austin,TX) we will continue to engage in conversations about race in this month's topic: Let's Talk About White Supremacy: Silence equals Violence. Come prepared to listen and share. Let’s agree to stay in the conversation to talk about race.

  • WHAT: RaceTalks for Austin ISD Parents + Caregivers
  • WHEN:Tuesday, November 19 at 7:00pm
  • WHERE: Zoom (with Spanish interpretation + ASL, other)

Register now:


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