Racial Equity Update February 2020
Published on Feb 28, 2020 16:13

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February 2020

Post It Notes

Message from Superintendent Salim

superintendentThis past month, CPS schools have been reading, sharing, and reflecting on what it means to make history as part of their observance of Black History Month. I have heard History teachers remark on the need to help students understand that their lives today could be the subject of history studies in the future.

I think this concept is especially relevant as our community continues to engage and grapple with our responsibility to ensure that every student understands that their experiences matter. It is vital that our schools immerse our African American / Black students in messages and learning that affirm the value of their learning and their lives.

It is my hope that this Equity & Access newsletter will continue to build transparency around our efforts to build an anti-racist and equitable learning environment in our schools. As we seek to dismantle the structures of racism and other oppressive legacies, this newsletter will also direct attention to the many CPS educators, students, and families who work tirelessly to build a better future for young people.

If you have stories you would like us to share, or have questions that should be addressed in an upcoming issue, please email cps@cpsd.us. We want to hear from you, and to understand your perspective.

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Anti-Racism Action and Updates

Incident Response
CPS is developing an improved system for student reports of racist and other inappropriate behavior by adult staff members for roll-out in Fall 2020.

February 2020 Update: A group of CRLS scholars representing a diverse array of student organizations have shared a draft proposal for improvements to incident reporting and response processes. CPS and CEA leadership, with assistance from the CPS Design Lab, are supporting a multi-stakeholder group that includes educators, caregivers, and students to review the draft proposal and chart a path toward implementation. The students’ proposal included the creation of a Student Support Reporting Liaison to represent and support students throughout and after the reporting process. The proposal is being considered for incorporation into the Superintendent’s FY21 Budget. Learn More >>

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Anti-Racism Statement

CPS will develop an anti-racism and racial equity statement that will be incorporated into the next CPS District Plan. The statement will build on CPS’s existing definition and commitment to racial equity and draw on the findings of the Building Equity Bridges Project. 

February 2020 Update: CPS is recruiting youth, families, educators, and partners to develop the statement and propose ways that it can be integrated into ongoing practice to serve as a living compass for CPS.

If you are interested in being part of this work, 
please fill out this form, which includes potential meeting dates for three, two-hour meetings in March and April 2020. Compensation, child care, and light refreshments or meals will be provided. Please fill out the form by Friday, March 7. Learn More >>

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Staff Training & Professional Learning
CPS is in the process of developing mandatory staff training strategy on anti-racism and racial equity issu

February 2020 Updates: 
Online Anti-bias Tra
ining: The Office of Human Resources is continuing to work on roll-out of EverFi, a new digital platform containing training tools and video modules focused on harassment and discrimination prevention and managing bias. Planning for a multi-phase, district-wide rollout is underway, with the goal of 100% of CPS staff members engaging in and completing this training by June 2021.

Equity Comprehensive Anti-racism Professional Learning: The initial working group, comprised of staff from human resources, professional learning, curriculum and instruction, and school leaders, has begun to define a set of equity competencies that will serve as the foundation for the course.

A plan for engaging multiple educator stakeholders and community members in the development of this course is underway. Opportunities for feedback and involvement will be available in the upcoming months.
Learn more about both of these initiatives >>

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Office of Equity
CPS needs dedicated leadership, expertise, and capacity in-house to lead, coordinate, and support racial equity work.

Students Reading February 2020 Update: As part of his Proposed Budget for school year 2020-21, the Superintendent will include a proposed new Equity Office, which will include dedicated resources focused on anti-racism and racial equity.

The Proposed Budget will be presented to the School Committee on March 12. Learn More >>

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Curriculum Review
CPS will review curriculum for cultural responsiveness, historical accuracy, and representation.

February 2020 Update: Initial work is underway to review existing CPS frameworks and resourc
es as well tools that are geared towards aligning standards, materials, resources and culturally responsive teaching strategies. A comprehensive group of stakeholders that includes educators and families will be invited to engage in the review process. More information will be shared later this spring/summer. Learn More >>

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Ongoing Racial Equity Efforts

Employee Resource Groups
ECCEmployee Resource Groups (ERGs) foster professional development and collegial support among individuals who share a particular background, interest, or issue.

Building on existing work of Black Leaders in Academics and Culture (BLAC), the CPS District Plan identified the need to expand and strengthen support for ERGs, includin
g recruiting, hiring, and retaining a CPS workforce that reflects the diversity of Cambridge. Support for these groups is jointly provided by Cambridge Public Schools and the CEA Educators of Color Coalition

ERGs are available for CPS staff who identify as Asian, African American/Black, Latinx, LGBTQIA+ and White Anti-Racist. Learn More >>

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Educator Leaders for Equity
The Educator Leaders for Equity (EL4E) program deepens understanding of the racial literacy and the cross-cultural relationship and communication skills required to successfully work with our diverse students in CPS. 

This educator-designed course draws together colleagues from across the district and grade spans to learn, challenge, and support each other in examining how issues of race, equity, identity, intersectionality, and privilege impact the learning and teaching environment in our classrooms and schools. 

A total of 45 CPS faculty representing every school have participated in the EL4E course, including a diverse group of educators who began in January 2020. As CPS works to strengthen equity-based learning expectations for all faculty, the Educator Leaders for Equity course will be a key source for content and inspiration. Full Story >>

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Action Steps

4 Ways YOU can Contribute to Equity and Access in CPS

  1. Get involved with creating a CPS anti-racist school district. Sign up here.
  2. Make sure every voice is heard in the CPS School Climate surveys. Volunteer to help encourage participation, and encourage friends and colleagues to answer the demographic questions so we can learn about different communities’ experiences.
  3. Engage with ways that schools can help prevent bullying and bias linked to fears about the Coronavirus epidemic. Start with this slide deck from the Asian Educators Resource Group.
  4. Attend - or organize - student, faculty, or parent/caregiver dialogues on issues of race and equity at your school. Examples: PAUSGraham & Parks, RAUC, CSUS, and Haggerty.

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What does it mean to be actively

Author and Hisorian Ibram X. Kendi's description is summarized here >>

Disrupting the barriers to equity means

  • Promoting equitable school and classroom experiences.
  • Investing in relationships.
  • Centering youth.
  • Centering and supporting educators of color.
  • Actively addressing white supremacy, privilege, and bias. 
  • Equitably distributing power in decision-making.
  • Disrupting structures and practices that perpetuate inequities. 
  • Committing to coherent frameworks, structures, and accountability measures for anti-racist work.
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Cambridge Public Schools
135 Berkshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02141
www.cpsd.us  •  617.349.6400
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