School Principal's thoughts on culture wars

Hey Advocates, 

I was excited to learn that Brittney Griner arrived back in the US a few hours ago. Brittney is a WNBA star who was held for months in Russian prisons on drug charges. 

I worked with EnCorps STEM Teachers Program and Worchester Public Schools this week. I'd love to work with you and your organization. Book a FREE 30-minute consultation with me, and let's chat! You can find all of the Leading Equity Center's services here.

Let's get to this week's topic.

A teacher from my kid's school sent me this NPR Education article, "School principals say culture wars made last year' rough as hell" by Corey Turner. Over this past summer, researchers from the Institute for Democracy, Education and Access at UCLA and the Civic Engagement Research Group at UC Riverside surveyed almost 700 high school principals about their 2021-2022 academic school year. What came up in the survey will for sure grab your attention. 

"Something needs to change or we...

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In what ways are we prioritizing and elevating students' voices first?

Hey Advocates, 

I hope you all could rest and spend time with loved ones last week. Though we focus on being thankful in November for Thanksgiving, every day is a moment to express gratitude for each other. 

This week, I was honored to speak to the Cal State University - East Bay EduCorps Group. My topic was "How Do I Make STEM..."

I'd love to work with you and your organization. Here's a list of the Leading Equity Center's services.

Last week we spoke about how New York City students viewed school newspapers, whether it was for a career or activism. As Bronx Teacher David Fulco said, "They [students] see a newspaper as an agent of change, even more so than a student council."

This week, I found an interesting Motherboard Tech by Vice article, "It Only Takes One Parent to Get All The Graphic Novels Removed From a School Library," written by Claire Woodcock. The report takes a closer look into the Owasso school district in Oklahoma, where Tim Reiland, a parent,...

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We must listen to our students and support them in advocating for themselves.


Hey Advocates,

Let me start by recognizing Native American Heritage Day in the US; here's an article that you may find interesting regarding Thanksgiving.

I'm also sad, and my heart goes out to the families impacted by the senseless shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, CO.

This week, I was in Anaheim, CA, speaking at the NCTE Conference of English Leadership. What a great audience!

You can catch a snippet of my #CEL22 journey on my Instagram.

I'd love to come to your school/organization's next event; let's chat!

What folks are saying about my keynotes

Let's get to today's topic.

As I was reading the news today, I came across this Chalkboard New York Article, “73% of NYC high schools don’t have a newspaper. Efforts are growing to fill in the gaps” by Alex Zimmerman. Zimmerman highlights how school newspapers in NYC are unequally distributed throughout the five boroughs. High schools in boroughs like Queens and Staten...

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I hope you are all taking some time to rest and process.

Hey Advocates, 

I'm headed to Anaheim, CA, for the 2022 CEL (Conference on English Leadership) Convention tomorrow. I'll be one of the keynote speakers. If you are planning to attend, let me know!

With gun violence in the United States this week affecting the University of Virginia school community, I hope you are all taking some time to rest and process. My heart is with their community as they navigate these difficult times. During these times of tragedy, it is essential to give yourself grace as the things that happen, regardless of proximity, around us do impact us in big and small ways. 

This week, as I was glancing through the news on my phone, I found "U.K. Tells Schools They Can't Ban Afro Hairstyles" by Emma Bubola. Bubola looks closely at Ruby William's case, then 14 years old, with her former school, the Urswick School in Hackney, where a teacher sent her home after her Afro was too big, "recommending some chemicals straighten her hair." Ruby was told she...

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The Name Pronouncing Project

Happy Veteran's Day to all the members of the Armed Forces,

This week, I worked with Colonial Schools, Townsend Elementary, St. Louis Public Schools, UR Here Theatre, and I met Kim Walters as she and her husband were visiting Idaho. I also witnessed my buddy Jorge Valenzuela unbox his new book, "Raising Equity Through SEL: A Framework for Implementing Trauma-Informed, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Restorative Practices" (I had the honor of writing the foreword). 

Check out what the Leading Equity Center offers if you are looking for keynotes and training. I got a brand new keynote available for my STEM folks "How Do I Make STEM..." In this session, I answer five questions:

  1. How can we make STEM memorable?
  2. How can we make STEM considerate?
  3. How can we make STEM familiar?
  4. How can we make STEM real?
  5. How can we make STEM emotional?

You can also book a FREE 30-minute consultation with me regarding your upcoming events/projects. Let's get...

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We must prioritize improving the quality of education overall and addressing previous gaps

Hey Advocates, 

So, I decided to dress up for Halloween this week. Don't judge, but I hadn't worn a costume since I was a kid. My two little one's made me do it, the chronicles of a single parent 😂 06!!! 🤙🏾

Overall, it's been a great week since my last post. Shout out to Idaho State University as I was the opening and closing keynote speaker for their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference. I was honored to facilitate the Leading Equity Book Study with Forest Grove Middle School and keynoting St. Joseph's University's Diversity and Inclusion "Building a Better Tomorrow Through Diversity" event. 

If you are looking for keynotes or workshops in-person or virtual, take a look at the Leading Equity Center's services, and let's chat! You can also book a FREE 30-minute consultation with me regarding your upcoming events/projects. Let's get to this week's topic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected how our...

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We must make sure our students feel seen and valued in our schools

Hey Advocates, 

World Mental Health Day was October 10th, and just as we know how crucial it is to speak about cultural holidays and traditions beyond their assigned celebratory months, we must make mental health a part of everyday conversation as well. Mental Health affects everyone; it's how we think and interpret behaviors and actions that impact how we navigate our lives and make sense of what is happening around us and to us. 

Yes, we may not be licensed therapists or mental health practitioners, which is certainly not part of our job descriptions. Though let's be honest, everyone knows a teacher's role, more often than not, goes beyond teaching curriculum. So, as educators, we must create spaces where students feel comfortable and safe in sharing their thoughts and feelings as they impact the way they learn and show up every day. We must make sure our students feel seen and valued in our schools. And that as educators, we enforce the policies and equip...

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What happens when laws prohibit us from seeing students for who they are?

Hey Advocates, 

Lately, in education, I've heard a lot of conversations regarding the inclusion of LGBTQ+ students, specifically transgender students in sports, Critical Race Theory in K-12 education, and the implications of the recent student loan forgiveness plan by the Biden Administration. My thoughts are coming. Hang with me.

It is a disservice to not talk about diversity in the classroom, whether it's racial, cultural, gender, etc. At this point, depending on what part of the country you are in, you are either advocating for these communities and theories that allow individuals to be seen holistically, or you're on the opposite side. As Django Paris and H. Samy Alim point out in their book, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World (which, if you've been following the Weekend Voice, you know it was on my summer reading lists), "there must be a pedagogy that disrupts.. a schooling system centered on ideologies of...

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How do I know if someone is being intentional or not?


Hey Advocates,

I’m just getting back from training in Oregon this week. I worked with the Linn County Health Department, where we discussed Implicit Bias, Microaggressions, and Stereotypes. The conversations and discussions were thought-provoking as we worked towards capacity building for change.

Let’s jump on a FREE 30-minute consultation if you want to work with me.

I’ve spoken about Microaggressions many times on my show because my thoughts have changed regarding whether or not we should just call them Aggressions. Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership (Sue, 2007). 

The challenge I have with the above definition is the “whether intentional or unintentional” part. How do I know...

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Cultural Appropriation vs Cultural Appreciation


Hey Advocates,

I’m looking forward to an extended weekend, as Monday is Indigenous People’s Day. This week, I was a guest lecturer for my dear friend Dr. Cheryl Wright’s Kansas University C&T Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion K-12 course. I discussed the 4 Tenets of Teaching Through a Culturally Diverse Lens with her teacher candidates. I also gave a keynote address to the Worchester School District regarding SEL and how we can use our talents to overcome challenges at home and school.  

Next week, I look forward to working with Encorps STEM Teachers Program, Linn County Health Department, Townsend Elementary, Seattle Schools, and Mending Matters. 

I’d love to work with you and your organization to help you achieve your goals. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me, and let’s chat!

This week, I’ve been thinking about Cultural Appropriation. Some teachers contacted me about...

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Every Friday you can expect a small and informative message from the Leading Equity Center. The Weekend Voice is meant to challenge your thoughts of education today and to provoke you to take action in your schools.