The Student Experience Lab partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to engage teachers in creating and leading local communities of practice focused on issues of equity and closing opportunity and achievement gaps.
Discourse on race and student success has largely revolved around measures of academic performance; however, the achievement gaps noted across racial and cultural lines are indicators of deeper problems: a lack of racial consciousness and the presence of systemic racism.
The current U.S. public school system is built on the beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes valued by white culture. With schools becoming increasingly racially diverse, it is imperative to eliminate the practices and cultural messages that are detrimental to the well-being of students of color and their ability to thrive academically.
Problems stemming from systemic racism often manifest on the classroom level. Racial and cultural disconnects between teachers and administrators and students often lead to miscommunication, disengagement, and disproportionate penalization.
This led us to ask:
How might we transform the values, norms, and practice of the classroom?
How might we activate teachers to change not only what is taught, but how it is taught, how teachers and students engage, and how school communities learn and grow together?
BIF is proud to present the work of this year-long endeavor to help education leaders explore, test, and scale next practices and new models, tackling complex, systemic issues through human-centered design and rapid prototyping.