Schools are unique places in our communities where individuals from diverse backgrounds — social, economic, cultural, linguistic, and experiential — come together to learn and grow. And while those differences in our backgrounds can make for dynamic learning environments, so too, they can highlight the fact that not every student is given an equal footing to thrive.
Schools are institutions. And like many institutional systems and structures, particularly in the U.S., schools have played a role in creating and perpetuating racism and racial inequities. Racism, childhood trauma, inadequate health and nutrition supports, and lack of access to early learning experiences can put students at a disadvantage, exacerbating gaps in basic skills such as reading and math from one student to the next. In order to foster the flourishing of human potential, schools must address the legacy of racism head on and work to foster racial justice and equity for all members of the school community.
Foster Racial Justice and Equity
Some of the ways that schools can foster racial justice and equity include:
- Putting policies and practices into place in schools that specifically target the structural variables that impact a child’s ability to learn
- Ensuring administrators, educators and staff engage in deep and ongoing professional development opportunities to shift school culture
- Creating a school environment that supports a sense of belonging for students and staff across the socio-economic and cultural spectrum
Thriving Schools’ commitment to racial justice
Thriving Schools is committed to supporting schools and districts to improve the culture and condition of school environments as well as the ability of teachers and staff to provide all students with the support they need to be on a path for success. We are working with experts in the fields of equity and inclusion to ensure that our programming strengthens cultural awareness in school leaders, instilling greater understanding of sociocultural and historical trauma and recognition of implicit/explicit bias.
We have laid a strong foundation for equity and inclusion in how we designed Thriving Schools and the services it offers. Yet, we know we have much more work to do to continue to dismantle racism, to redress health inequities, to heal the pain that BIPOC individuals and communities have experienced, and to advance opportunities for all people to attain educational success and live healthy, productive lives. We are committed to this work, in school communities and beyond, and welcome your partnership along the way.
Planning for the Next Normal at School Playbook: Social Drivers of Health
A conversation with expert Laurie Stradley, chief program officer at Alliance for a Healthier Generation, about the Social Drivers of Health chapter of the Planning for the Next Normal at School Playbook. Laurie walks us through the five starter plays and supporting resources. This content was updated in July 2021.
Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom
This resource helps educators understand how they might address the interplay of race and trauma and its effects on students in the classroom. It includes recommendations for educators and offers a list of supplemental resources that they can use within their school and district frameworks.
Racial Equity Tools
Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. It offers tools, research, tips, curricula, and ideas for people who want to increase their understanding and to help those working for racial justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities, and the culture at large.