This fall, I took on many projects as a part of my new position as the Professional Learning Partner for the Division of Student Equity and Opportunity for Denver Public Schools. This role has come with many challenges and opportunities for growth both professionally and personally. With so much of my identity wrapped in my role as a teacher, I have spent the past 6 months getting to know a different version of myself. One of the projects that has pushed my personal growth the most is the Bias and Equity Training I have collaboratively created for the Division of Student Equity and Opportunity.
This fall, I was tasked to create a year-long professional learning experience focused on Bias and Equity in collaboration with a member of the DPS CELT team, Bill De La Cruz. Together, we have been able to create a model grounded in two pieces of research:
With this research in mind, we decided to create what we called a "Cohort Model". In this model, participants attend an in-person session once a month and complete online work in small groups of no more than eight people in an online course. DPS has adopted Schoology as the LMS for professional development for teachers, so all course materials were created in Schoology. I wrote a previous blog post about using Slides to build out a Schoology course if you are interested. Below is a visual of our model.
Topics we have included in our in-person sessions have included Foundations of Bias, White Fragility, Preparing for Thanksgiving Conversations and Healing Circles. Each session has taken our department into deeper conversations that have pushed our individual growth. Bill has served as an excellent content expert and I have enjoyed working with him to create online modules that utilize a combination of articles, videos, discussions and in-person conversations to move our work forward. Based upon initial survey data, we have seen our team increase their expertise around Bias and Equity and engage in deep conversations around issues of bias and equity. I look forward to continuing this work for the remainder of the school year and sharing the overall success of our initiative in the future. If you are interested in seeing the materials and course I have put together, feel free to contact me and I would be happy to share all of our resources.
How have you used a blended approach to support issues of bias and equity? Please share in the comments below!
Mattea Garcia is a passionate educator dedicated to improving instruction by utilizing technology. This blog is dedicated to reflections on educational technology tools, instructional coaching, and educational equity.