CP&I Newsletter #AISDequity

Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness- February 2020

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Why the choice to offer AntiRacist professional learning in Austin ISD?

As experienced educators we recognize the field shifts and changes with new federal, state, district, school and community leadership. We recognize also there is one constant in our ability as educators to meet the individual needs of students of color. We choose to offer professional learning focused on race to disrupt the status quo view that professional learning is compliance, sit-and-get, and meaningless.

Critical Race Theory

Critical race theory (CRT) formed from a collective movement built on the work of activists in critical legal studies and radical feminism. CRT consists of recognition of the following:

  1. Permanence of race and racism

  2. Interest convergence

  3. Social construction of race and the malleability of the concept

  4. Whiteness as property

  5. Intersectionality

  6. Counter-storytelling

In this newsletter we're focusing on the first tenet of Critical Race Theory, "Permanence of race and racism." Each month we will focus on another tenet of CRT to inform our work as educators.

Permanence of Race and Racism

The permanence of race recognizes that all institutions, especially the educational institution, is impacted by race. Because race and its impacts are as normal as the air we breathe, we take a transformative approach of addressing it one professional learning session at a time. Historical data shows that Austin ISD is not the only school district that consistently produces disproportionate academic data for black and brown students. Put another way, if a child is black in Austin ISD they have a higher possibility of academic failure, being pushed out for discipline issues (often discretionary), labeled as emotionally disturbed or dropping out of school. A child who identifies as Mexican, hispanic, or Latinx has a higher chance of being labeled for special education services for speech, even if their first language is not English.The tenets of CRT are a central focus in the design and delivery of the CP&I Professional Learning series. As leaders of this series we choose to racialize our voices to bring attention to our everyday experiences and to model a level of comfort with a conversation that is often silenced in the daily decision-making in the work of our schools.


Where do you see the permanence of race and racism in your daily life/work?

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Austin ISD Office of Cultural Proficiency Job Postings

Cultural Proficiency Grant Specialist:

This position will oversee and supervise all aspects of the three-year U.S. Department of Justice Comprehensive School-Based Approach to Youth Violence and Victimization Program.
Employees in this position must be skilled in supporting the proactive equity-focused implementation of youth violence and victimization prevention, intervention and accountability in a middle and/or high school-based setting.

For more information and to apply, visit:


Restorative Practices Associate:
This position is responsible for designing and offering a wide range of academic and holistic support services for the children and families to include developing a restorative center on campus, developing campus protocols for referrals to the restorative center and facilitating staff professional learning in culturally responsive restorative practices.

For more information and to apply, visit:


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How do I register to attend CP&I Professional Learning?

Austin ISD Staff

1) Search the session number in the HCP, or

2) To view all CP&I sessions in the HCP, search "cultural proficiency" and click "view all sections" under each of the three CP&I courses.

Community Members

We welcome community members to our professional learning sessions. If you are a community member interested in attending any of the CP&I sessions, please email cultural.proficiency@austinisd.org to receive an the EventBrite registration link.

No partial credit available. Please check the session times and plan accordingly.

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No partial credit available. Please check the session times and plan accordingly.

Cultural Proficiency: The 6th C

April 8th session #93133

Isolating Race (This is the prerequisite course for the rest of the sessions below.)

February 18th session #93123

Becoming an Antiracist Educator: Words Have Power

February 11th session #93124

* Completion of Isolating Race required to register.

It’s Not Discipline: Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices 101

February 13th session #93125

* Completion of Isolating Race required to register.

White Fragility:

Understanding Whiteness to Overcome Discomfort in Conversations About Race

February 20th session #93449

March 4th session #93127

* Completion of Isolating Race required to register.

Connecting with Families: Exploring & Planning to Interrupt Implicit Bias & Stereotype Threat

February 27 session #93126

* Completion of Isolating Race required to register.

Mindfulness and Unconscious Bias

April 2nd session #93130

* Completion of Isolating Race required to register.

If you've attended Isolating Race, check out the following sessions offered by Austin ISD's Mindfulness Specialist, James Butler:

Mindfulness 101/201: March 3rd & March 5th * Completion of Isolating Race required to register.

This session covers the basics of mindfulness with a focus on adult self-care and introducing the concept of mindfulness to students. Substitutes are paid for.

Mindfulness 301: March 4th * Completion of Isolating Race required to register.

This session is for folks who have a self-practice of mindfulness and have been implementing with students/staff for at least a year. Substitutes are paid for.

Please contact James Butler, Austin ISD's SEL Mindfulness Specialist, at james.butler@austinisd.org if you have any questions about the Mindfulness workshops.

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A Conversation About Instructional Equity with Zaretta Hammond

"To make progress in educational equity, we need leaders, teachers, and other stakeholders to understand the different aspects of equity and how, when put together, they create more equitable outcomes for children."

"This is the vital equity work: students must comprehend what they’re reading, possess advanced decoding skills, have word wealth, and be able to command all of these literacy skills. Our social justice frame should prompt us to ask these questions: How are students code breakers, how are they text users, how are they text critics, and how are they meaning-makers? Our culturally responsive pedagogies arm us to build these dispositions and skills in our most vulnerable kids."

Learn more about instructional equity from Zaretta Hammond:


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Ghosts In the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago's South Side

Friday, Feb. 7th 2020 at 10:30am

Belmont Hall- Room 328

There has been a location change from the original flyer. Due to the overwhelming interest in Dr. Eve L. Ewing’s talk, we are changing the venue to accommodate as many guests as possible. We want to ensure that we make space for people in the community and at UT to be part of Dr. Ewing’s talk. Therefore, the new location of Dr. Ewing’s talk will be Belmont Hall (BEL) Room 328, which is located at 2109 San Jacinto Blvd (literally right next to the football stadium). When you get to Belmont, take the elevator to the third floor.
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In Austin ISD our definition of Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices (CRRP) 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 belonging and connection in the campus community.

Another way to think about the second part of our definition, "an invitation to share and be our authentic selves", is that we seek to create identity-safe spaces. This article by Becki Cohn-Vargas, shared in Edutopia, helps us understand what it means to create identity-safe spaces in our schools.


The article states:

"An identity-safe school is a place where everyone feels physically and emotionally safe."

In the Austin ISD Theory of Change we see the same language:

To build capacity and empower teachers to design and facilitate highly engaging learning in a psychologically, physically, and emotionally safe environment where students collaborate, communicate, connect, create, think critically, and develop cultural proficiency so that all students are college and career ready.

So what does it take for you to share your authentic self in your school?

What structures, protocols, processes, and ways of being can foster a campus culture and climate that fulfills Austin ISD's Theory of Change?

The Theory of Change invites us to create identity-safe spaces for our students, families, and staff. What will you do to cultivate CRRP in Austin ISD?

Click the article below to read more about Fostering Identity Safety in School.

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Teaching Tolerance Magazine: Spring 2020

"When it comes to presenting a full account of American experience, your average U.S. history or social studies textbook just isn’t cutting it. Stories about people of color and Indigenous peoples are often set outside the main narrative, literally pushed to margins or sidebars. But some social studies teachers are turning to an unusual source to re-center these histories: young readers’ editions of social justice books. Learn more about how educators are using this growing genre in this issue’s cover story, “The New YA.”

Read on for a look at why this year’s census is so crucial, how a group of Las Vegas moms is fighting hate in their school community, and how advocates are working to fix our broken school lunch system. Find these stories and more in the Spring 2020 issue of Teaching Tolerance, and be sure to subscribe so you never miss an issue."

Monita Bell | Inside the Issue | Spring 2020
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Past CP&I Newsletters

January 2020 https://www.smore.com/3y6ex

December 2019 https://www.smore.com/5f2t9

November 2019 https://www.smore.com/n0x65

October 2019 https://www.smore.com/7te4p

September 2019 https://www.smore.com/7z9hk

Follow us on Twitter and mention #AISDEquity when sharing about

your learning and engagements in #AISDEquity work.

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