CP&I NEWSLETTER

Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness ~Feb. 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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MESSAGE FROM DR. WARD, AUSTIN ISD RACE EQUITY ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISOR

This issue comes at the beginning of Black History Month. The original framer of the month, Carter G. Woodson took the position that Black History should be a part of American History. The early-1900s Harvard PhD graduate found the separation of black history from mainstream history studies as problematic. As educators on the journey to cultural proficiency we are consciously aware of the need to shift our practices and to critically examine historical occurrences that are take for granted.


The cultural proficiency continuum provides a visual representation of where actions and behaviors show up as we endeavor to make shifts. The continuum provides a foundation to conversations about difference and helps us make sense of what we learn about others as we journey toward cultural proficiency.

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In the book Opening Doors: An Implementation Template for Cultural Proficiency, the authors share a series of questions to help us reflect at each stage of the cultural proficiency continuum:


Cultural Destructiveness - Is the door slammed shut? In what ways do we exclude or marginalize students and their cultures?


Cultural [Intolerance] - Is this the door you are to be using? In what ways do we send messages that our school [work environment] is not inclusive?


Cultural [Reductionism] - Door? What door? In what ways do we ignore or render invisible the diverse communities in our school attendance area?


Cultural Precompetence - Is the door cracked open? To what extent do we have the courage to examine access and achievement data to assess areas of discrepancy and disproportionality?


Cultural Competence - Is the door wide open? To what extent are we using students’ cultures as assets in our instructional programs [and centralized decision making]?


Cultural Proficiency - Is the door wide open, and are we escorting students through the door? To what extent are we advocating for students and their communities?


Source: Opening Doors: An implementation template for cultural proficiency; Corwin 2016


Critical Reflection:

Black History Month is often observed outside of American History relegated to one month out of the year. Given the questions above, where does this type of observance show up on the Cultural Proficiency Continuum?

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CP&I Online Professional Learning

Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices in Austin ISD

Feb. 9th 5:30-7:30 Register at tinyurl.com/EIRCommunity3 (Open to Austin ISD staff and community)

What does it take for students to share their authentic self in school? What protocols, structures, processes, and ways of being can foster a campus culture and climate that fulfills Austin ISD's Theory of Change of creating spaces that are psychologically, physically, and emotionally safe for students to learn? In this session, participants will experience a community building circle, explore the National Equity Project’s definition of Equity, and gain a basic understanding of Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices (CRRP) in Austin ISD.


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****Central Office No Place for Hate Activity****

Speak Up: How to Respond to Everyday Prejudice, Bias, and Stereotypes

Feb. 11th 9:00-12:00 session #96565 (Open to Central Office staff and principals only.)

Feb. 17th 1:00-4:00 session #96566 (Open to Central Office staff and principals only.)

Feb. 23rd 9:00-12:00 session #96567 (Open to Central Office staff and principals only.)

As the largest No Place For Hate district in the nation, Austin ISD is committed to providing a psychologically, physically, & emotionally safe environment for all of our students which means we need to be prepared to engage in difficult dialogue to nurture safe, welcoming & inclusive schools. In this session, you will become familiar with the Austin ISD board policy on harassment, examine the ADL's Pyramid of Hate, learn strategies to speak up, & practice interrupting biased language or stereotypes when it happens in our classrooms, schools, community, or online spaces.

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Using Your Voice for Equity

March 11th 5:00-8:00 session #96709 (Open to Austin ISD staff and community)

***Save the Date: registration links will be in the March CP&I Newsletter!

What does it take to develop personal and collective capacity to disrupt inequitable practices in Austin ISD? The recent worldwide events highlight the need to prepare Austin ISD educators to engage in difficult dialogue to nurture equitable, safe, welcoming, and inclusive schools virtually and face to face. In this session, participants will consider the definition of educational equity, work to understand our own identities, connect who they are to their beliefs and practices, make meaning of the Barriers to Cultural Proficiency, and practice using their voices to disrupt educational inequity.


Deconstructing Racism

April 15th 5:00-8:00 session #96710 (Open to Austin ISD staff and community)

***Save the Date: registration links will be in the March CP&I Newsletter!

What is racism and how does understanding the impact of racism further the progress of equity in Austin ISD? In this interactive session, participants will collectively deconstruct the meaning of racism and race, apply a working definition of racism to our public school context, and identify institutional racism in our educational system.

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As you read the following articles, consider which barriers to Cultural Proficiency the authors are critiquing. Where on the Cultural Proficiency continuum might the information the authors share fall? (Barriers were presented in the January newsletter)

Black History Month Isn't Racist, It's a Form of Reparations

In this op-ed, Jenn M. Jackson, a writer, activist, and assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University, explains the significance of Black History Month.


To read the article, click on this link: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/black-history-month-isnt-racist-its-a-form-of-reparations

Five Things Not to Do During Black History Month

Careful planning, thoughtfulness and alliances will help educators avoid the pitfalls of Black History Month.


It happens every February. Yep, Black History Month. Some folks are asking if we should even have a Black History Month. That’s neither here nor there, but there are some things to avoid if this annual commemoration is to have any significance. Here are five guidelines I think we should take special care to follow:


  1. Don’t create “culturally responsive” lessons by simply changing the names or circumstances...
  2. Don’t simply focus on famous firsts or popular celebrities.
  3. Don’t whitewash history (pun intended).
  4. Don’t make the month an African-American “mashup.”
  5. Don’t think you can’t talk about black history because you’re a white educator.


To read the article, click here: https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/five-things-not-to-do-during-black-history-month

America Is Losing the Real Meaning of Black History Month

Since its inception, Black History Month has never been just a celebration of black America’s achievements and stories — it’s part of a deliberate political strategy to be recognized as equal citizens. Yet lost amid today’s facile depictions of Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad or George Washington Carver’s peanuts is black America’s claim as co-authors of U.S. history, a petition the nation has never accepted.


To read the article, click on this link: https://time.com/5162808/black-history-month-purpose/

6 resources to teach your children about Black History Month

If you’re looking to teach your children about civil rights activists this Black History Month, and year round, the resources below can help!


To access the resources, click here: https://brooklyn.news12.com/6-resources-to-teach-your-children-about-black-history-month

This is America: Teach Black history from Black perspectives

For a long time, I took Black History Month for granted. Looking back, I realize that a huge portion of my Black history education started at home. My mother's bookshelves are filled with Black authors and texts on racism, ones that didn't always make it onto required reading lists at the predominantly white institutions I've attended my whole life. Seeing where my school was lacking, she made sure to take me to events at her work or church or in the community that celebrated a more complete Black history.


To read this article, click here: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/this-is-america-teach-black-history-from-black-perspectives/ar-BB1daKA9?ocid=uxbndlbing

Black History in Two Minutes

What is the Black History in Two Minutes (or so) podcast?


It’s Black History delivered in short, lively, fact-packed stories accessible to people of all ages and education levels. It’s fast, accurate U.S. history available in free video podcast recordings describing major historical events and introducing less well-known experiences involving Black Americans. The series received two Webby Awards in May 2020: People’s Choice, as well as Education and Discovery. Podcast topics range from recent events to the founding of the United States of America. Heroes of the Civil Rights movement are covered, as are some of the more obscure figures in the fight for equality. Of the over 40 recordings so far, 2-minute topics include:

  • The Double V Campaign of World War II
  • John Lewis: The Fight for the Right to Vote
  • The Birth of Jazz


To access the videos, click here: https://blackhistoryintwominutes.com/

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Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices in Austin ISD

In Austin ISD our definition of Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices is: Creating a campus environment where students, parents, and staff nurture trusting relationships, are invited to share and be their authentic selves, and have a sense of connection and belonging in the campus community. So what does it take for students to share their authentic self in school? What protocols, structures, processes, and ways of being can foster a campus culture and climate that fulfills Austin ISD's Theory of Change of creating spaces that are psychologically, physically, and emotionally safe for students to learn?


On Feb. 9th you are invited to a session with the CP&I Team to begin exploring these questions. This community session is part of our 3rd annual Education Innovation Research Grant Symposium and will be held on February 9th from 5:30 - 7:30 on Zoom. We invite all Austin ISD staff and community members to join us to experience a community building circle, explore the National Equity Project’s definition of Equity, and gain a basic understanding of Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices (CRRP) in Austin ISD. Register at tinyurl.com/EIRCommunity3.



Visit https://www.austinisd.org/cpi/restorative-practices for more information about our work around Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices.

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RaceTalks: For Austin ISD Parents & Caregivers

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. Come prepared to listen and share. Let’s agree to stay in the conversation.


  • WHAT: RaceTalks for Austin ISD Parents + Caregivers
  • WHEN:Tuesday, February 16 at 7:00pm
  • WHERE: Zoom (with Spanish interpretation + ASL, other)


Register now:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUsde2przstGNeGz3t9jkqJZt4-OWBh_yR-

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