A professional learning community for educators of color

4 Sep

Welcome (back) to the new school year! A quick post this am about an opportunity for leaders of color in education. I’m teaming up with Steve Morris, Head of the San Francisco School, again this year to facilitate a professional learning community for educational leaders of color.

You may be wondering… Why a group specifically for leaders of color? And isn’t white a color?

To the first question: We learn best in a variety of occasions, including groups that offer different experiences of affinity and diversity. And the thing about any affinity group is that it still includes tremendous diversity of all the other aspects of our identities, which for this group include: sex, socioeconomic status, position/role in schools, professional goal, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, family, education, gender, size, abilities and background. To start.

Why a racial affinity group? Because race is one of the aspects of identity that shapes our interactions with others and our experiences in communities, including: status, access to resources and opportunities, and privileges and disadvantages. Research bears this out at a group level (which is to say, individuals, of course, have unique experiences; and, there are trends and patterns at the group level that indicate normative experience for different racial groups socially, professionally and publicly). Anecdotally, the response to this affinity offering (last year and this year) seems to confirm that this is a valued, useful experience.

And yes, white is a color. We’re not consistent with that understanding, though. And while I stand by the fact that “diversity” includes everyone and all identities, including the majority or norm (without whom there is no perceived “other”), I challenge applying that inclusive definition only to create greater access to the parts of the conversation about diversity that are desirable to participate in. We’re all in all of this together. And what that entails is sometimes affinitizing to help us come together as a diverse community with more awareness, skills and discernment. To that end, Steve and I have added this professional affinity space to BATDC’s other affinity offerings (for new leaders, experience administrators and women). And I hope to see more affinity opportunities for more of the identities that shape our social and professional experiences in education.

About the LOC PLC (Leaders of color professional learning community):

Offered through the Bay Area Teacher Development Collaborative, this dialogue series is an opportunity for educators of color to explore their leadership visions, opportunities, and aspirations within and beyond independent schools. For experienced, emerging and questioning leaders of color at all stages of their careers, this yearlong series will offer participants time and support to:

  • Clarify their visions and goals as educators,
  • Identify core leadership competencies and challenges,
  • Design their own professional growth plans, and
  • Network and build vital personal and professional relationships.

With the intention of knowing and sustaining ourselves in our careers, we will lean into case studies; reflect on our own experiences; talk frankly about the challenges, opportunities and expectations for leaders of color; recognize our personal growth edges; and drill down on the skills and knowledge we have and need to thrive on our diverse professional paths.

For educators of color who want to be effective, transformative, and ever-growing in their profession, these working conversations will include all aspects of who we are as leaders and the complexity of the communities in which we work.

Meeting dates: October 22, November 7, January 14, March 11;
Meeting times: 10:00-2:00  (Additional Social Networking Event: February 5, 5:00-6:30)
Location: The San Francisco School
Cost: $1450 per participant; ($2100 for non-members)

To register, please go to: http://www.batdc.org/workshop/leaders-of-color/ (and click on “Register”).

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