On Tuesday, October 3rd and Wednesday, October 4th, fellow Sarah Bertucci and I joined about 45 Burlington School District teachers for a workshop offered by the Washington Consulting Group on building cultural competence.
This was an incredibly valuable workshop in which we practiced looking at our organizations with race in mind. We practiced naming racial dynamics and not shying away from considering race when it might feel easier to look at situations through an easier lens.
We also learned to practice engagement instead of judgment – to sit with what we’re observing in the moment and not to jump so quickly to rationalizing or to embarrassment or paralysis.
This is crucial work to the Partnership, as one of our core tenets is to be attentive to vulnerable and marginalized populations as we engage in high school redesign. Building a community-centered movement that supports new models for schooling requires that we look with new eyes at our patterns; new ways of thinking and problem solving require new levels of inclusion and representation.
Personally, I’ve found myself thinking through current and past situations and realizing how much more I can perceive in light of the workshop. Any BSD employee or community member offered the chance to participate in this workshop should seize the opportunity for authentic engagement.