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What are the Communities of Practice offerings for the 24-25 school year? Read below to meet one facilitator team. For more updates, visit our CoP page.

Sahba Rohani – RootsConnectED

Brandi Forte – RootsConnectED

Meet your 24-25 CoP Facilitators

Sahba Rohani serves as the Executive Director of Roots ConnectED (RC). RC is an initiative she co-founded and launched in 2017, after over a decade of experience and learning at Community Roots Charter School, a pioneer in the diverse by design movement, located in Brooklyn, NY. She was the Director of Community Development at Community Roots for nine years, where she began as a founding teacher in 2006. Her work focused on engaging staff, students, and families in the community building processes necessary to create intentionally integrated anti-bias school communities through staff development, curriculum support, and innovative family and community programming. This work is further expounded on in the 2014 book: A Smarter Charter. Sahba has been working with young people and in the field of community development since 1996. As the Executive Director, Sahba supports the development of Roots ConnectED in all areas of its growth including project development and management, curriculum design, fundraising, outreach, and organizational alignment to core values and beliefs. She believes in collaborative decision making and feels grateful for a team of brilliant, dedicated, supportive, and mission centered humans to work alongside. Sahba holds a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University. She presents at convenings and conferences at the local and national level alongside thought leaders in education and racial justice. She serves on the Thirteen/WNET Educational Services Advisory Committee advising the educational interests and needs of the area served by the public television station Thirteen (PBS). Sahba has lived and worked in the Middle East , as well as supported the national offices at Teach for America.

Brandi Forté has worked in educational settings and communities in California and New York since 2004. She joined Community Roots, a Roots ConnectED learning site, in 2006 as a founding teacher. Holding multiple roles and teaching grades K-5 led to a lens informed by experiences working with a range of ages, diverse learners and families, and collaborating with different teams. She has also worked as a literacy coach providing support to veteran teachers and administrators. Brandi supported learning and development for student teachers of a Teacher Training Residency Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She designed and facilitated professional development for Mentor Teachers and Supervisors of the program. As the Program Developer and Project Manager for Roots ConnectED, Brandi is responsible for developing curriculum, tools and resources that support coaches, staff development, learning in workshop settings and institutes based on our Anti-Bias framework. Brandi’s work supports coach development and the varying needs of diverse educational communities and allows us to use a flexible and responsive approach that creates meaningful shared experiences as a path toward reaching goals.

CoP Overview

One of the most fundamental aspects of having an intentionally diverse school is to create classrooms where children are honored and seen for who they are.  This doesn’t happen by accident but instead by intentional planning, action and reflection around 4 core elements of culture building with an anti-bias lens.  In this CoP, participants will:

  • gain a shared understanding and deepened mindset around developing cultures of belonging for students; 
  • dive deep into 4 elements of culture building: norm setting, community building approaches, identity work, and inclusion through examples, reflection, questions, and shared experiences, and; 
  • put aspects of culture into practice and record findings, barriers, and capture best practices.

Our time together will conclude with a toolkit of best practices highlighting the 4 elements of culture building and artifacts that show those elements in practice.  Additionally, there will be space for ongoing personal reflection and assessment and identification of response to barriers. 

Developing Cultures of Belonging in Intentionally Diverse Classrooms will be meeting at the following dates and times for 24-25 School Year (all ET). Unless noted all meetings are held virtually on Zoom.

  • October 8 2 – 3:30pm ET
  • November 12 4 – 5:30pm ET
  • December 17 4 – 5:30pm ET
  • January 30 (in person at The Renaissance Hotel – Nashville, TN)
  • February 25 4 – 5:30pm ET
  • March 25 4 – 5:30pm ET
  • April 22 4 – 5:30pm ET
  • May 13 4 – 5:30pm ET
  • May 29 (CoP WRAP Party)  3 – 4:30pm ET
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