Leader’s Digest with Associate Principal Xavier Reed
Issue #4: Resources for anti-racist leadership
Xavier Reed is a middle school associate principal in Mounds View, Minnesota.
As school leaders, we love being with our kids and with our staff – so I know finishing our school year apart from each other didn’t sit well. There’s particular pain being felt here in my school community, in the Minneapolis area. Our middle school isn’t right in the heart of the city, but some students live close to the place where George Floyd was killed in the hands of the police. Our families and students are experiencing trauma. And obviously, that trauma transcends our city. People all around the world are experiencing it.
Being a Black male educator of many Black students adds another layer: It is exhausting to see these things happen, over and over again. When I see the face of another Black man killed, I see all of my students’ faces. I see the face of my own son. You feel it deep in your soul.
As hard as this has all been, I see signs that this time could be different – that real progress might come. And I’ve always thought that schools are a reflection of society, which means we school leaders can catalyze change. We can use summer break to begin to reimagine education – to create racially just school environments and help shape the future we want for our students.
I see a lot of school leaders and teachers committing to deepening anti-racist practices – whether by reconsidering school discipline, committing to inclusive hiring practices or sharing resources with teachers to support anti-racist lessons. I know a lot of us are looking to do some learning and planning this summer. That’s why #PrincipalProject has collected some of the anti-racist resources that our fellow leaders have been sharing, to guide our thinking and learning over the coming days until we’re back with our students again. I hope you’ll read on, and take inspiration from our fellow school leaders as I have.
Middle School Associate Principal
Mounds View, Minnesota
For Assistant Principal Michael Gutierrez, building an inclusive and equitable school culture means inviting learners to be teachers, too.
For Principal Shavon Jackson, speaking up about racial inequity may be the first step to creating long lasting change.
With schools closed, finding ways to support students, promote necessary discussion of racial inequities and plan new steps toward ed equity can feel especially challenging. In this Chalkbeat article, school leaders and teachers break down the ways they’re encouraging student voice, creating virtual spaces for shared social justice learning and building plans for next year. Read on for strategies you can share with your team.
To support you and your team in deepening your shared knowledge and guiding your anti-racist learning, Teaching Tolerance maintains a curated guide of resources for school communities. Click here to explore their toolbox, from professional development to lesson plans.
By supporting and empowering teachers of color, you can support and empower your students of color – but inclusive hiring is just the first step. This Harvard Graduate School of Education article shares the collected experiences of Black and Latino teachers and breaks down steps you can take to build an “intentionally inclusive” school culture with and for your team. Get the details here.
As you and your team consider what structural steps you can take to provide an anti-racist learning space for your students, might you take a new look at your disciplinary practices? By shifting to a restorative process, high school Principal Keeanna Warren and her team collaborate with students to build their school’s culture on shared trust and community values. Learn how their approach works.
As we take the first steps into a summer of reflecting and reimagining, we have so much learning and growing ahead of us. Where do you go for anti-racism resources? From the ed equity leaders you follow to the podcasts and books you love, click here to share your go-tos using #BetweenTheBells!