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Teacher Leaders for Equity

This work doesn’t always look pretty, it doesn’t always feel good. But, as you heard from our students, this work NEEDS to get done. Let’s go do it - together! 

This was the message of CPS’s newly-trained “Teacher Leaders for Equity” on June 13. Presenting the history, goals, and next steps for an educator-driven approach to cultural proficiency, the group challenged CPS and school-based leaders to center the voices of students and support the efforts of teachers to build more equitable and socially-just schools and school system. 

A total of 34 CPS teachers have participated in a cultural proficiency train-the-trainer program that was designed by CPS educators and facilitated by faculty from Wheelock’s Aspire Institute. This training empowers cultural proficiency leaders within every CPS school, who will work with Principals to shape cultural proficiency activities within every school's School Improvement Plan. 

This unique and innovative program included completion of case studies, self-reflection, curriculum analysis and reflections on cultural diversity. In one exercise, participants were asked to study a student they find “difficult” to reach. The assignment challenged educators to “identify how school culture and your own repertoire of practice may influence the student’s learning & achievement” and “write a course of action to impact the student’s achievement.” 

During their presentation, the teachers led a group of Principals and administrators through an ice breaker that involved making eye contact with one another. The group then moved on to provide examples of the exercises and discussions that the teachers will bring to faculty meetings and cultural proficiency programs planned for every CPS school next year. 

“The fact that this work has been designed and led by teachers is part of what makes it so compelling,” explains Lori Likis, Chief Planning Officer and one of the designers of the program. It is also what is likely to make this work more effective -- research indicates that teacher leadership builds teacher satisfaction and efficacy. 

As Martin Luther King, Jr. School Kindergarten Teacher Elizabeth Stapleton Hill explained, “We are colleagues and professionals who work together. Raising our own level of proficiency and sharing that learning with our colleagues and students is so valuable and necessary. We all benefit when we work towards cultural proficiency in our schools and for ourselves.” 

Next fall, every CPS school is required to include a cultural proficiency plan within their School Improvement planning. This will be the first time that equity and cultural proficiency will be a mandatory component of the work schools do to continually raise expectations and improve student outcomes. 

Pledging to support this work through resources and visibility, Superintendent Salim stated, “Thank you for all of the work that went into this presentation and the course itself. And, thanks for the call to action to move work forward with teachers as our leaders, keeping student voices at the center.” 

School & Teacher Leaders 
Amigos: Oscar Carillo; Vionette Matos 
Baldwin: Leonard Christine 
Cambridgeport: Maisha Sport 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Kelly Petit; Elizabeth Hill; Tori Corpas 
Fletcher Maynard: Tonya Katz; Pascale Pokou 
Graham & Parks: Claudie Jean-Baptiste; Debra Gadsden-Holliday 
Haggerty: Kerri Favreau; Nicole Golding 
Kennedy-Longfellow: Sarah Branz; Susan Moynihan 
King Open: Jonathan Horowitz
Morse: Sally Dewart; Joe Maloney; Mary Gallant 
Peabody: David Pendergast 
Tobin Montessori:  Stacey DeSimone 
CSUS: Daniel Jaffe; Marissa Jones 
PAUS: Megan Laskarzewski; Jo Quest-Neubert; Andrea Baker 
RAUC: Justin McNulty
VLUS: Matt Sadowski; Anna Marsh; Heba Abu 
CRLS: Dacia Antunes; Ariel Maloney; Edward Walker 
HSEP: Daniel Goldman