We are constantly consuming images, messages, and cultural practices that are rooted in the norms of white supremacy culture. This strategy guides teachers in reflecting on and changing instructional practices that may invisibly reinforce inequitable opportunities for students. Teachers can engage in individual reflections, or coaches can provide feedback, on visible practices that are typically overlooked to support teachers in intentionally choosing equitable instructional practices.
Teachers and students can work together to find shared values for the learning environment and build common behavior expectations. This strategy guides teachers through a process for collaborating with students to communicate what is important in the learning community and creating a set of classroom norms that will amplify the students' and teacher's shared values. By giving students a voice in the development of norm, teachers can build shared ownership of the learning environment.
Traditional strategies for placing students in advanced courses (prerequisite courses, minimum GPA, & teacher or counselor recommendations) have led to underrepresentation of girls and students of color in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and other rigorous courses throughout the country. This is not because these groups of students lack potential, but rather, because of systemic barriers such as inadequate efforts to make students and families aware of course offerings, lack of preparation and support, and poor methods of qualifying students for these classes. This strategy provides school leaders with tools to reflect on current practices and policies and make action plans regarding advanced course placement and availability in their building.
This strategy provides a structure for school staff to engage in meaningful conversations about race, bias, and systemic inequities in education. By first listening to a podcast, staff come to the circle with a common experience that can be built upon in a brave space. Podcasts are accessible and memorable, and their storytelling format is more engaging than academic articles that provide similar information. With a strategic mix of content, instructional leaders can curate staff experiences that promote deep reflection and model the vulnerability needed to authentically lead teachers and students in conversations about race and oppression. By debriefing the experiences in a talking circle, teachers experience restorative classroom practices firsthand, and they see how powerful this practice can be for students and adults alike.
This strategy promotes student leadership within the classroom, and it ensures that students have a voice in how routines and procedures are implemented. After working to develop routines and procedures with students, teachers can give students an active role in maintaining high expectations for themselves and each other. This transforms a student's role in school from passive guest to active participant, and it is a powerful tool for connecting them to academic content.
This strategy provides a tool for teachers and school leaders to analyze current practices through a restorative lens. Traditional systems in schools often work from a punitive or permissive stance, which does not provide students with the structure and/or the supports needed to fully engage in the development of social and emotional skills that lead to success in adulthood. By analyzing current systems and consequences, teachers and leaders can adjust their practices to ensure that they are working in partnership with students throughout the day.