Racial Justice Summit

Teacher Development Grant

 2019-2020 Project Summary

Emily Portle

Falk Elementary School • Madison, WI

This project will support one school and district’s ongoing work towards developing teachers who are committed to racial justice and anti-racist teaching. A group of teachers will attend the two-day Racial Justice Summit hosted by the YWCA in Madison, Wisconsin in October each year for the three years of the grant. The summit works in partnership with community stakeholders to eliminate barriers that foster racism in communities and is a powerful experience for teachers who are looking to develop as practitioners of a culturally diverse population of students. After reflecting on the impact of last year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Bettina Love, the YWCA has invited her to return to Madison for 2019’s summit to host a full-day institute on Abolitionist teaching, supporting each teacher on her personal journey to take action towards disrupting and changing the system of oppression that exists in our schools. In addition to Dr. Love’s content, the YWCA provides a platform for action planning and community dialogue through a variety of breakout options for participants. Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) will be partnering with the YWCA for the 2019-2020 school year to help bring their professional development foci of racial justice, rigor, relationships, and belonging to life. All MMSD employees will engage in two full-days of professional learning led by the YWCA with the objectives of understanding systems of racism and oppression, exploring implicit biases, and envisioning co-liberation in schools. Sending a cohort of teachers to the summit from this school will reinforce the content received at the district level professional development and at the same time will provide a space for teachers to choose content that will deepen their understanding of racial disparities in our community and schools that can best support their own development as anti-racist teachers.

After attending the conference, the cohort of teachers will collaborate to develop and implement a year-long professional learning scope for all staff at Falk School. This way, the conference will not only have a direct impact on the cohort of attendees, but the learning will have a wider influence on the entire Falk Staff. The cohort of teachers will decide on three to four strands of learning from which the rest of the staff can choose to engage over the course of the year. The content for these strands of learning will be influenced by the cohort’s participation and engagement with the keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and community dialogue at the Racial Justice Summit. Each strand will then determine a core resource that supports the content for the year. This might mean a film or book study that will ground participants in content that can support conversations and action planning. This plan will repeat for each of the three years.

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