Addressing Diversity and Equity in Our Schools

Good afternoon!

As some of you may have heard, on Monday, June 21st, the Newton Youth Commission will be hosting a very important school community conversation: Addressing Diversity and Equity in Our Community, led by renowned expert Randolph L. Carter, Director of the Mid West Educational Collaborative. Randolph comes to us with over 35 years of experience in the field of education, and will help us create a cross-generational dialogue regarding the issues of prejudice, discrimination, racism, and anti-Semitism in the Newton community.

We will also be joined by a representative from Facing History and Ourselves, a global non-profit that is dedicated to helping students and educators address these issues in order to “promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.”

We would like to invite all students, faculty, and engaged community members to come and lend their voices and experiences to this conversation. Our purpose is dual: we intend to close out the school year and enter the summer thinking critically about how to  improve these issues in our community, while also setting the tone and structure for a sustained professional learning community model. This will be a critical kick-off meeting for more work in the near future it will be especially valuable to have lots of voices in the room, so we hope you are able to join us.

The meeting will be held on Monday, June 21st, 4 – 7 pm, in the Newton War Memorial. Refreshments will be served. Please see the attached meeting agenda and Mr. Carter’s bio for more information. If possible, please RSVP directly to this email so that we might have an idea of how many people are planning to attend. Additionally, if you know of anyone who might be interested in attending, please pass the word along to them. Of course, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Hope to see you there!

Sincerely Yours,

Quinn E. Etchie

Director of Youth Services

City of Newton

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FREE EVENT/No Registration Required

Addressing Diversity and Equity in Our Community

4:00-4:15      Welcome and purpose setting

4:15-4:40      Introduce facilitators

                         – Setting the stage (see below)

                         – Ground rules

                         – Icebreaker: qualities of inspiring leadership (Adults and students together)

4:40-5:00      Visioning: Teamwork: expectations, challenges, approaches

5:00-5:45      Solution-Focusing: Teamwork: expectations, challenges, approaches

6:00-6:45      Open discussion/next steps (Adults and students together)

6:45-7:00      Closing open discussion/next steps

Proposed Ground Rules for Participants

   •  Speak and listen respectfully

   •  Respect time limits (1 min per speaker)

   •  Don’t speak twice before all who wish to speak have spoken once

   •  Leave politics/arguments/prejudice outside

   •  No photos/videos during discussion

   •  If you don’t respect these guidelines, you will be escorted out

Content: Setting the Stage

   •  We live in an extremely diverse area

   •  We see each other but don’t often communicate

   •  We may not understand each other & may operate out of stereotypes

   •  This is a great opportunity to connect, learn, & grow

   •  We believe you want the best for each other

Introduction of the Dialogue:

“You have probably come to this meeting with hopes for solutions.  But we are focused on
creating sustainable growth, and as such we do not believe, nor should you, that we will come to a solution this evening that will work for everyone in the room.  We are here to facilitate peaceful solution-oriented conversations.  These conversations will focus on listening to one another, creating a sense of unity, and working toward a sense of one community.  We are asking you not to give up your identity or change your beliefs but rather to partner with us to create the framework for productive conversations with each other and pave the way for future work together”.

Process:

   1. Divide into small groups of 6-8

   2. Engage in the visioning exercises for 20 minutes

   3. Come back together for large group gathering

   4. Join back with your group and combine with one other group to examine the
solution-focused questions for 20 minutes

   5. Come back together for large group gathering

   6. Engage in conversation to create agreements for future meetings

   7. Closure

Visioning exercise:

   • What kind of resources do young people need as leaders of community building
processes in Newton?

   • What kind of resources do teachers need in supporting youth leadership?

Solution-Focusing Questions:

   • What is the goal for ONE Newton?

   • Draft a SWOT analysis for the diversity work

   • Draft a poster or a short PSA that promotes an event as part of this campaign.

   • What images will it include?

   • What will it say?

   • Storyboard.

Keeping with the energy from the visioning exercise and solution-focused questions, we will develop agreements for future conversations.

Randolph Carter  |  Director
Mr. Carter is a Fellow in the Harvard University School Leadership Program, Graduate School of Education, where he received a Masters Degree in Education with a school leadership qualification. He is a doctoral student in the School of Education Leadership and Change at Fielding University. He was a middle school reading specialist, a school administrator and a national association staff member. Mr. Carter has also served on numerous school boards. Mr. Carter is a board member of Fielding Graduate University, and the Institute for Community Enrichment. He is a member of the Education Committee of the New Press. His publications include peer-reviewed articles and book reviews published in national journals. 

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