Volume 3 | October 2020
The Alliance - Monthly News & Updates
Rest, Recharge, Reset for Relationships

From the desk of Sebastian Witherspoon
District and building-level educators in Minnesota, my hope is that you were able to get some rest during the long MEA weekend. Friends near and far, we are all feeling the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, which came upon us like a tsunami. We all are working through very challenging circumstances and need to be able to have space and a place to breathe and have self-care. You are the wall of hope against a rising tide and without your efforts, the tsunami would prevail!

Research tells us that one of the greatest impacts on student achievement is a high-quality teacher and the relationships teachers create with their students have a lasting impact. Pondering what to write, wanting to lift the spirits of all, I am compelled to let you know that it's okay to not be okay! It’s okay to say, “I am struggling.” It’s okay to want a break. That said, you also know that, now more than ever, our learners need you, especially our historically marginalized students. If we have learned anything from the onset of this pandemic, it is that whatever gaps we thought we had, have only been exacerbated from this pandemic! We have all been adversely impacted by this pandemic. Now is the time that we all give ourselves a little grace, be kind to ourselves and one another, and also do what we can to get by because we need to unite and be strong; our young ones need us! You are not alone; we need to support each other and there is a caring network of folks who are supporting, rooting for, and depending on, you.
Coronavirus Relief Funds Allocations Can Support Equity Work
One of the ways Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) can be utilized is through prioritizing and supporting equity. Funds can be used for professional development focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racist practices. Our services, including equity audits, equity action plans and our Professional Development options may be ways your district can invest these funds to support the long-term efforts of your district in providing equitable outcomes for ALL students.
Member District Mention
White Bear Lake Area Schools
White Bear Lake Area Schools is one of our member districts that we get the opportunity to partner with and collaborate each and every year in their mission of equity throughout all facets of District 624. Currently, we are supporting White Bear Lake Area Schools through developing an Equity Action Plan. Equity Alliance MN facilitates and guides the development of an Equity Action Plan with the district to identify equity priorities, determine systemic barriers, and pinpoint delivery gaps to create a plan with timelines and goals to move equity work forward in a mindful way. We have also been able to support community-wide conversations and a variety of student programs that enhance equity at all levels within the district.
Staff Spotlight - Regina Seabrook
Regina Seabrook is a Program Specialist with Equity Alliance MN and supports a variety of programs on behalf of EA-MN.

Equity Alliance MN’s Cultural Liaison Network had its first meeting on October 8 and will meet throughout the the academic year. At the first Network meeting, Kelcie Litchfield, from Second Harvest Heartland, gave a presentation on SNAP benefits and how to support families and students in accessing needed resources.  Liaisons from Roseville, South St. Paul, South Washington County, Stillwater, & White Bear Lake shared updates on how COVID-19 is impacting their students and families and how they are providing day to day support. The Network also reviewed the topics they will be focusing on for this coming year. Topics center on mental health, student and family engagement, and professional development.

Regina also leads our Educators of Color Cohort. Equity Alliance MN was awarded a PELSB teacher mentorship grant for the 2020-2021 school year to provide professional development for teachers of color, cultural liaisons, and teacher candidates of color who are interested in diving deeper into Culturally Responsive Teaching and what that means as a teacher of color in Minnesota’s School. We are excited to announce this cohort is filled and are looking forward to a year of listening, learning and leading together.

Learn more about Regina!
What Our Colleagues Are Saying...
"I admire the leadership that Equity Alliance-Minnesota (EA-MN) provides in eliminating racial inequities and other social injustices. The staff at EA-MN is incredibly knowledgeable and extremely skilled in professional development. I am honored to learn from EA-MN, to work with them, and am also thankful that Roseville Area Schools is a member district."

Aldo Sicoli, Roseville Area Schools