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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How's your social media looking at your district?

Hey Advocates,

I hope you had a great week and are in good spirits. This morning, I'm sending this message before heading out to day two of the Idaho Out-of-School Network's Power Up Summit. Yesterday, I taught a group of out-of-school program leaders about harnessing their advocacy skills.

How's your social media looking at your district?

This week, I came across an article on "How District Leaders Can Make Social Media Work for Them." Managing school/district social media accounts may be complicated due to our political climate and the scrutiny of everything we post. The article suggests three tips for district leaders on social media.

  1. Be Transparent: Informing your stakeholders about your district's direction will create more buy-in. Keep the community informed about the district's mission, vision, beliefs, and change initiatives. My only addition to this tip is that we need to remember that there are levels to transparency. 
  2. Throw out the script: Instead of...
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Feel free to share this resource with your colleagues.

Hey Advocates,

Last week, I discussed my Livestream episode with Dr. LaTisha Smith, "Finding the Right Professional Development for your Staff." Well, I received a few inquiries regarding the Leading Equity Center's training. As we are still in the early stages of the school year, I assume you have already identified some areas for growth for your school/district. I want to help.

I'm attaching a PDF of the Leading Equity Center's services to support your needs. Feel free to share it with your colleagues.

Here's a brief rundown:

Services Available: 

Equity Audit

This audit will guide you through seven essential components of equity within your organization: (1) Mission, Vision, and Beliefs, (2) Leadership, (3) Staff and Staff Development, (4) Instructional...

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Cultural Story Telling is a great tool to use in your classroom.

Hey Advocates,

I want to begin by recognizing the start of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15). I share my thoughts regarding “tokenized celebrations” in my book. 

The bottom line is we are doing our kids a disservice if these are the only times students learn about other cultures. Furthermore, we also have an opportunity to celebrate the great impact that various cultures have in our society as a whole. 

Cultural Story Telling is a great tool to use in your classroom.

Each of us has a story. As our classrooms are becoming more and more diverse, students must share their stories and cultures to make learning relevant and authentic.  Here are some tips:

Integrate cultural storytelling in both monocultural and multicultural settings. 

To grow as individuals and as learners, we need to hear various perspectives on ideas and engage with people who are different from us. Suppose student learning occurs only within the silo of a...

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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.