Meet the facilitators!
As anti-racism and courageous conversations take hold in faculty meetings and trainings across the country, many school communities are at risk of encountering roadblocks to meaningful change.
Overcome these roadblocks in one of our Communities of Practice with Jeff Heyck-Williams and Dawnyela Meredith of DCSC member Two Rivers Public Charter School. School leaders will gain tools to lead team-wide DEI learning and cultivate community by modeling bravery.
Why the focus on modelling bravery? Why now?
Jeff: Professional development is the heart of what I do, and for any professional to grow, we need to become adept at exercising vulnerability and bravery. In my 17 years of cultivating a learning community among Two Rivers staff, we used these tools of modelling bravery to develop trust and connection. This relationship-building has been instrumental in having direct and meaningful conversations about the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools.
Dawnyela: Our goals of counteracting racial and social inequity in education are ambitious, and the pandemic has certainly impacted the existing challenges for students, teachers, and parents. For many folks, it’s our instinct to preserve harmony over productive conflict—especially when it seems like defensiveness and personal shame are on the table. Similarly, we may feel inclined to distance ourselves from harmful educational practices and play the blame game. It’s easier and more comfortable to aver one’s own innocence and point fingers at administrators, parents, colleagues, and students. To strive toward our ambitious goals of serving diverse communities, it’s urgent that we set aside personal feelings of shame and embrace our shared capacity to learn alongside peers.
What are you looking forward to in working with DCSC members?
Dawnyela: I am eager to see our templates come to life in contexts outside of Two Rivers. Brave conversations will touch on different dynamics, depending on the local context of staff, students, and families. Each DCSC member school will come away with a customized template for sharing, and we’ll be able to see how each individual school is working through their journey. It will be so valuable for us to share authentically and strengthen our approach as facilitators in how we make these tools and strategies relevant to each member.
Jeff: I agree—it will be great to seize this opportunity to work together. Although Dawnyela and I are the formal facilitators, we’re not the sages on the stage. As a participating member in one of last year’s Communities of Practice, I appreciated the space to learn, share, and explore. I’m excited to work with members to find the right balance in us sharing new content, while elevating the expertise that DCSC members will bring and build together.