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If you missed our last email with a recap of the Jan 27th meeting, please click here.
In this email:
We're incredibly grateful to Dr. Nita Mosby-Tyler for answering some of the questions we didn't have a chance to address during our Jan 27th event.  Questions and answers are below.  If you'd like more of Nita's insight, check out The Equity Project on Facebook
Why have we been void of teaching diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence in our k-12 schools if it is so critical to the future? 
We have been void because we’ve lost our way in even defining what these words/terms mean. Our country has been extremely focused on diversity; erroneously defining it as only race. Without a complete definition of diversity, there is no way inclusion or cultural competence can happen. They are contingent upon one another. The reality that the word diversity has become “code word” for race has created a historical polarization that keeps all of us from seeing our role in the equity journey. We have to get this discussion right for this to work.
How can we do better with integrating educators of color?
We have to first make sure we are not tokenizing educators of color. We can’t use teachers of color as our “check-the-box-we-have-diversity” examples and we cannot silo them as only being our resident experts on kids of color. We have to do a better job of understanding our education disparities and how integrating teachers of color creates a substantive impact in ending those disparities. If we don’t link disparities, interventions, the team and equity – we lose. If you don’t have the team that is intentionally designed to eradicate disparities, we fail. 
How can we encourage teachers to encourage expert referent power in their classrooms?
I have always believed teaching children what these power bases are is the best way to create the culture we are looking for in classrooms. Calling out the word “power” is key. I would also say if we begin to build performance and reward/recognition systems around Expert/Referent power, we would likely realize very different behaviors, outcomes and thinking. 

How should parents deal with school leadership that only reflect legitamite corrosive power?
Again, when negative power bases are reflected, the best way to counter them is to (1) call out (literally) what type of power is being used and (2) personally use a power base that mobilizes more people. Legitimate/Coercive power is the most common power base in our systems. To deal with them calls for more people who are willing to share, directly, when the negative power is being used. 
What tools do we engage to focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity at the same time? How do we explain to our kids and empower them?
How do we prove the value of changing systems, real equity? We are a society that sees dollars and cents.
Both of these questions have everything to do with deconstructing equity. We have to make sure when we say the word “equity” that we know what we’re talking about. The definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion have become muddy and it is increasingly difficult for most people to delineate between the words. This is a problem. This is a problem in how we operationalize our work

A+ Colorado has released the report that Alan Gottlieb referred to in his remarks.  It's called "Learn Together, Live Together: A Call to Integrate Denver's Schools"  It's got a wealth of information about the benefits of socio-economic integration, as well as some concrete recommendations for DPS. 
A+ is hosting community conversations about the report.  At least a few of the PHNEE committee members will be attending the Northeast Denver discussion. We'd love to see you there!  
The PHNEE Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is still looking for members.  We have been doing some work behind the scenes to move this process forward.  Here is an overview of the work, as we see it now.  We have also confirmed that the district is considering changes in our neighborhood, and we have secured the support of several board members for the process that we are proposing.  We will make sure that decisions aren't taken before our community has a chance to weigh in with suggestions that reflect the desires of ALL of our community.  To that end, if you are interested in participating and haven't filled out our survey yet, please do!  We are particularly interested in additional voices from the Smith and Hallett communities.  We will be reaching out to everyone who has signed up shortly. 
Our Volunteer Committee has already placed people in schools.  Our schools are always looking for additional adults to help out.  So, if you can spare 30 minutes a week, an hour a week, whatever you are comfortable with, please fill out this form and we will get you connected to a school that needs you.  
We are also looking at doing a major school clean up project for all of our schools on June 15th.  More details to follow, but if you are interested in helping out, please fill out the same form.  
What we're reading:
  • Lynn Kalinauskas wrote a great piece on our Jan 27th meeting for Greater Park Hill News.
  • Michelle Quattlebaum was a member of DPS's Strengthening Neighborhood Initiative.  She wrote about their recommendations for COSchoolTalk.org.  
  • DPS students spoke to school leaders about the importance of equity and inclusion in the classroom.  
  • The Century Foundation hosted a debate with Professor Sheryll Cashin of Georgetown University and Dr. Howard Fuller of Marquette University on the question of how we prioritize the challenges of equity and opportunity in education policy.
  • We've been moved by most of Nikole Hannah-Jones's writing.  Here's a list of a lots of great stuff.  If you're interested in discussing her work, there's a group called IntegratedSchools.org that is hosting an online "book club" to discuss some of her work.  There are a few times available.  You can sign up here.  
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