Equity & Access Newsletter
SPS Anti-Bias Framework and Support Resources
Several equity frameworks improve learning results for historically underrepresented learners. The Equity & Access team, in collaboration with our Equity Champions and community partners, spent last year listening, learning and researching a model to support SPS learners. We’re proud to share the SPS Anti-Bias Framework which we’ve adapted from Teaching Tolerance. The Framework creates a roadmap to help us continue to move the needle for ALL learners. As a key component, the SPS Anti-BIas Framework asks us to reflect on our own identity and how it is similar and different to others. Our experiences lead to our behaviors which lead to our actions. We’ll be using this framework and its accompanying resources at all levels of the system. You can access the framework here and see how the supports we’ve been working on for three years fit into that framework. Please connect with your building leader or equity champion if you think your site could benefit!
Four Ways to Think About Increasing Equity for All Students
Here are four ways to start to increase equity at your school or classroom.
- Have a simple student-centered mission. Focusing on the needs of students can go a long way in promoting school culture and also help educators prioritize the needs of their students. As educators, that may mean we may have to do things differently to help move students.
- Let the data be your guide. This is one of our guiding principles we use when we have workshops with equity champions. Data is an objective way for us to ask deeper questions about our students but also about us as educators. We must ask, where do we need to prioritize and focus? Starting with data is a starting point - not an end.
- Allow for student voice. Finding ways of giving student voice without repercussions of discipline is critical. We can guess and make assumptions about what students think or how they feel. Finding ways to let them share their experiences may give you more insight into their world as they see it. Students having a voice provides them an opportunity to be seen, heard, and valued.
- Demonstrate a growth mindset. As educators, we ask and encourage our students to push beyond their limits and expectations. It's vital for us to do the same and explore how we teach and what we teach. We must also examine our beliefs and experiences of "the other." This goes beyond just knowing holidays and recognizing a heritage month. We may have to explore issues of race and educational gaps within those groups. If we have the impression that all kids are the same, those gaps will continue to persist.
Yost, Sarah. “Increasing Equity for All Students.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, www.edutopia.org/article/increasing-equity-all-students.
What's In your Toolbox?
Homelessness: Did You Know?
Poverty continues to be an issue in Springfield. We have students who are experiencing poverty on various levels. Our students who are in transition with homelessness may have barriers that may limit how often they attend school. Lynn Schirk, SPS Homeless Liaison shares some information with us since November is Homeless Awareness Month.
Springfield Public Schools has an office dedicated to eliminating barriers to education for children and youth experiencing homelessness. Today, over 1100 active SPS students are considered McKinney-Vento eligible (learn more about that below). Visit our website to see how TEAM SPS supports these students and what you can do to help eliminate barriers to their education.
In the world of education, homelessness is defined as those who lack a fixed, regular, or adequate nighttime residence and can include a whole host of living situations:
- Students living with others due to loss of housing or economic hardship
- Students living with friends or family without their legal guardian (due to hardship) and runaways
- Students in substandard housing (without electricity, water, heat, etc.)
- Students in a shelter (family, domestic violence, youth shelter or transitional living program)
- Students living in a motel, hotel, or weekly rate housing
- Students living in an abandoned building, a car, a campground, or on the streets
Because this definition is SO BROAD and includes so many different LIVING SITUATIONS, we call these students MCKINNEY-VENTO ELIGIBLE.
GLSEN's 2017 National Climate Survey
Take some time to read some of the bullet points to see if there are similar trends at your site. There is a district focus on climate and culture; what do you factually know about LGBTQ youth at your site?