In Communities of Practice, Featured

Dwight Thomas will facilitate one of DCSC’s Communities of Practice about justice-oriented school culture.

Meet the facilitator!

Dwight Thomas comes to us from one of DCSC’s founding members, Prospect Schools as a Director of School Culture. His experience includes practicing social work, developing programs, leading instructional teams, and more. We were pleased to chat with Dwight about his Community of Practice for the 2020-2021 year!

Why this topic? Why now?

We’re living through a turbulent period of social change, and the school-to-prison pipeline needs to be disrupted and dismantled. Let’s reimagine our views on discipline and community engagement in school. As an organization that centers anti-racism and equity in policies and practices, we can make system changes that would shift patterns of adult and student behavior. From what we’ve seen at Prospect, we were able to re-focus conversations on “problem behavior” to open space for collaborative problem solving between adults and students and develop supports to improve social-emotional skills during class. As a result, we saw big changes in behavioral data, and student voice counteracted teacher bias. Even when we went remote in the spring, our pulse checks on school culture helped us identify how students felt from week to week, and whether they felt a connection with a trusted adult throughout the pandemic.

What do you hope to gain from working with DCSC members?

The beauty of meeting as a group coming from different schools! Success can look different across different environments, and I look forward to focusing on an area of interest for promoting equity, whether it be across identities of race, socioeconomic status, or learning exceptionalities. We’ll have the opportunity to collaborate and shift patterns of inequitable discipline data. These past few months, I’ve learned to be a remote “people person,” so I look forward to building team spirit, getting to know each other, and sharing vulnerable experiences to encourage each other’s growth.

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