NCAN Spring Training Events in April: Leading for Equity

January 27, 2015

Elizabeth Morgan, Director of External Relations

 “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Achieving equity in students’ postsecondary outcomes requires deliberate and regular exploration of race and class issues that can be difficult to discuss and address, and NCAN is committed to these conversations. Thus, we are very pleased that NCAN’s three regional Spring Training events will be a forum for equity questions relevant to college access and success advisors, program managers, directors, higher education professionals, and collective impact networks. The National Equity Project (NEP) will facilitate each event using a highly interactive format designed to help each participant reflect on his/her context and professional role.

There are “system” questions such as:

• How did our education system come to yield such different outcomes for students of color and from low-income families?
• How have we (both as a system and as individuals) perpetuated the harmful effects of bias and oppression (race, class, gender, culture, language, identity)?
• How can we both disrupt and change that system to benefit future students as well as address the immediate needs of students who want to go to college today?

There are also “people” questions:

• What issues arise when people of varied race and class backgrounds and experiences come together to help students?
• How can we build trust and understanding that will help advance our pursuit of equity?

NEP’s core beliefs emphasize the need for leadership and data, but also dialog in the quest for equity: “Program solutions are important in complex education systems, but if we neglect the social and emotional sides of people (culture, race, history, relationships), we will continue to see slow or no progress. Both the problems and the solutions reside within systems and communities. Systems need to ‘turn in’ to one another to discover what really matters to them and how to interrupt the policies, practices, ways of thinking and working that are resulting in unfair and inequitable outcomes and experiences for so many of our young people.”

Mark your calendar!

• April 15 at the Denver (CO) Public Schools, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• April 22 at the Rutgers University – Newark, NJ, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• April 29 at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Registration will open in February. NEP’s senior directors Victor Cary and Lisa M. Lasky will lead each event. Participants will examine:

• The effects of racism and other biases on education policies and practices.
• Individual and organizational dynamics that impede the success of change efforts.
• How to improve collaborative relationships and build teams and alliances in diverse settings.
• Concrete skills for leading change in challenging contexts toward your current equity goals.
• The importance of emotional intelligence and trust in leading equity efforts.

Thanks to NCAN members Denver Scholarship Foundation, Milwaukee Public Schools, and the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University-Newark for their help planning these events and to Lumina Foundation for financial support.

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