Previous Summer Education Workshops

Summer Education Workshop Flyer

2017 Advancing Racial Justice in Schools

In 2017, the Summer Education Workshop took place from July 17 to 20th. There were 38 participants in total; eleven of them were dedicated K-8 educators while twelve were 9-12 grade educators. The rest connected with students at all grade levels. Two teams of educators attended, six from Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary school and four from Peace and Education Coalition High School. The teachers represented many different kinds of schools, from McCormick Elementary, a Chicago Public School, to the Learn 10 charter school and the University of Chicago’s Lab School.

Through our application process, we found that participants wanted to learn strategies to engage in social justice pedagogy and build an inclusive environment to address the needs of their students of color, their families, and communities. We learned in feedback during and after the 4-day training that participants felt that the 20 facilitators leading the workshops succeeded in helping them develop strategies to address racial justice in their schools. Workshops that engaged with ideas of transformative and restorative justice resonated with participants and provided avenues for how to move the work forward; as a participant stated, “we can and must continue to build transformational learners and leaders.” Conversations about grassroots movement building were also well-liked by participants. Overall, participants understood the workshops as tools by which to create a community of racial justice educators and expressed that they felt a sense of belonging and relief that they were not alone in this work.

Workshop Daily Schedule

The schedule below provides a general outline of the 2017 workshop. Each day included specific themes with sessions designed to address those themes.

  Monday: Race, Identity, and Classrooms

Racial Identities in the Classroom facilitated by Amanda E. Lewis
This session started with participants thinking about their reasons for participating in the workshop series and identifying personal outcomes. Concepts like race and ethnicity were defined and participants considered reasons why and how race matters in schools. Participants were exposed to findings from Dr. Lewis' research into the individual and institutional factors that reproduce racial inequality in schools. Lastly, this session introduced the newly released State of Racial Justice in Chicago Report.

Identity, Power, Oppression facilitated by Xavier MaatRa
Participants reflected on their own identity and how their identities intersect with systems of power and oppression. Together, participants developed practices to name, interrupt and transform oppression in communities, workplaces, schools, and day to day interactions. This workshop made the connection between identity, power, and oppression in the context of American society. Participants explored tools for incorporating social change approaches into their work.

Race & Teacher Identity facilitated by Stacey Gibson
Participants explored how their identities shape classroom behavior and teaching style. In this session, participants worked individually, in pairs, and in a large group to answer timed prompts designed to investigate how teacher identity is shaped by institutional/systemic modes of oppression. Circle keeping methods were utilized to share responses and bring voices into the collective.

What’s Structural Competence Got to Do With It?! facilitated by Matthew Rodriguez
Participants were engaged to consider the following guiding questions: Why are schools important in our Chicago neighborhoods? What are some of the key factors that perpetuate racial inequality in schools, and thus, in society? How do some of our most common practices toward building cultural competence get in the way of success for all students? How can we understand the shift from cultural competence toward structural competence an important step toward building systems of racial equity in our schools? Participants were challenged to reconsider their role in the field of education, re-imagining themselves in the context of solidarity and liberation pedagogy. Beyond gaining an abstract understanding of these concepts, the workshop offered space for participants to take time to outline what those concepts will mean in their daily interactions moving forward.

  Tuesday: Developing Teachers and Students as Transformative Intellectuals

Situating Justice-Centered Work in Schools facilitated by David Stovall
This workshop engaged participants in taking stock of the current social/political/economic moment in relationship to education in Chicago, and nationally. In light of the times, the workshop situated justice-centered work as an imperative given the onslaught of youth of color in the city and across the country.

Subject Content & Social Justice: Teaching Youth as Transformative Intellectuals facilitated by Danny Morales-Doyle & Alejandra Frausto
This workshop led participants through a curriculum development process that positions students as transformative intellectuals. The workshop engaged with lesson planning as an act of resistance that reimagines classrooms as spaces where youth build on their capacities to serve their communities and transform the world. Facilitators shared concrete examples from their own classrooms, facilitated critical questioning and interdisciplinary dialogue, and worked in content-area or grade-level groupings. Through this process, participants laid the groundwork for problem-posing curricular units. Problem-posing units begin from the issues that youth are already thinking about in order to scaffold academic content and skills through addressing issues of racial and social justice.

Lesson Planning as an Act of Resistance? facilitated by Danny Morales-Doyle & Alejandra Frausto
The workshop engaged with lesson planning as an act of resistance that reimagines classrooms as spaces where youth build on their capacities to serve their communities and transform the world. Starting from the outcomes of the morning session, participants laid the groundwork for problem-posing curricular units. Participants left this session with their own frameworks/groundwork for transformative lessons or programs that they can implement next school year.

  Wednesday: Restorative Practices and Culture

Teaching Against the School-to-Prison Pipeline facilitated by Crystal Laura
This session explored the sociopolitical context of education for Chicago students, including the “school-to-prison pipeline” and the trauma it imposes on young people and their families. The facilitator offered 10 specific strategies that Chicago school teachers can implement in order to work against the prison pipeline. Participants left this session with greater awareness of the “school-to-prison pipeline, ” including the connections between adult beliefs and behaviors, school climate and culture, and student outcomes.

Restorative Justice breakout sessions facilitated by Alternatives Inc.:
Session A: Introduction to Restorative Justice
This session provided a general overview of restorative justice and allowed participants to experience restorative practices. Participants learned about the restorative justice philosophy and were introduced to the practices that make a school culture truly restorative. The session explored how a restorative mindset can help build meaningful relationships with students, strengthen classroom community and promote a culture of mutual respect in the school.

Session B: Restorative Conversations
This session provided a general overview of restorative conversations. Adult-led restorative conversations can be used to address day-to-day conflicts and are central to a restorative school framework. Participants learned about the key elements of a restorative conversation, as well as common communication barriers that can prevent meaningful dialogue. Depending on participants’ prior knowledge, time was devoted to troubleshooting areas of practice.

Intro to Talking Cirlces & Rethinking School Culture facilitated by Alternatives Inc.
In this experiential overview of talking circles, participants were introduced to restorative philosophy and values, through the circle process. Participants experienced how circles are used to deepen relationships and build connections through sharing stories and reflection. The elements of the circle structure were explored, as were the various ways that circles can used in schools. Time was devoted for participants to consider how they might implement restorative practices and community building in their own schools.

  Thursday: Developing Youth as Engaged Citizens

Youth Voice in the Classroom and Beyond: An Intergenerational Panel

This intergenerational panel of educators, youth and community activist shared their experiences engaging with issues in the community, as well as the process of developing a positive self-identity as black and brown people. They explored the impacts of culturally relevant curriculum, liberatory after-school programming, and youth-led community organizing.

Panelists were:

  • Page May Assata’s Daughters & Co-Host of The Lit Review Podcast & Organizing for Social Change Teacher, Village Leadership Academy (VLA)
  • Tiffany Childress Price Science Teacher & Project Science Education for Excellence & Equity in Chicago Scholar & Kingian Nonviolence Trainer
  • Bianca Jones 360 Nation Org & Middle School English Teacher, VLA
  • Brooklyn Starks 7th Grade Student, VLA

  • Youth as Change Makers: Implementing Grassroots Campaigns facilitated by Nakisha Hobbs and Jessica Pesola
    Participants worked through questions such as what does student voice look like? Why facilitate student voice? What traits / beliefs do teachers need? How do teachers facilitate student voice? How do adults co-create and facilitate spaces that foster youth voice? How do teachers navigate contested or controversial topics and the language that comes with this (grappling with difficult or uncomfortable conversations vs. feeling the need to sanitize and contain the conversation and dynamics)? What happens when youth voice or perspective contradicts and or challenges school or organizational policy? (Structural, administrative, and parent considerations and consequences). Such as disciplinary policy, comprehensive sex education, gender norms, curriculum, food program? Case examples from a curricular-based, social justice program at Village Leadership Academy called the Grassroots Campaigns were discussed as a strategy for student engagement.

    State of Racial Justice in Chicago Report as a Tool for Planning facilitated by Amanda E. Lewis
    In this working session, participants gathered in small groups to synthesize lessons learned during the workshop series. Groups created community for collaborating for change and re-imagining racial justice in Chicago. Participants shared insights and how they plan to use the State of Racial Justice Report as a tool to engage students, schools, and communities.