Volume 10 | May 2021
All Hands on Deck

From the desk of Sebastian Witherspoon
As I write this message today, I am reminded that we are one year removed from the murder of George Floyd. It has dawned on me that we are still in the middle of a fight. We are decompressing from a multitude of traumatic experiences that have occurred over the last year. As an adult, I have acquired the necessary skills to process these complex issues. However, as I think about our children who need more support than ever, I am flummoxed at the enormity of the situation. The distinction between home and school environments has been blurred, and today it becomes almost impossible for people to compartmentalize the two. For most of us, it would be hard to personally identify a time that has been more challenging in contemporary society. And for our young people, I hope this past year will be the hardest collective challenge they have to face.

We have been called to this vocation to give back to our young people and to do so with love, empathy, and compassion. We are called to give the absolute best of ourselves every day so our youth has confidence that we have their back. It is integral to approach education with an equity-minded lens to ensure the success of ALL our students. No matter how we approach our jobs as educators, there will always be students that need extra support, and we should gladly oblige their educational needs.

As we close on a year characterized by the pervasiveness of trauma, I am compelled to remind you that there is hope and a brighter future on the horizon. Yet, we should not be content with just going back to “normal,” because our normal didn’t work for so many students. Even though this past year challenged us all in enormous ways, we made great strides in how we delivered educational services, and that is a win of great magnitude. Please remember that you are so important and that education is one of the greatest professions we can be engaged in. Take time to rest, heal, love, laugh, and cry when needed because we will need you to come next fall. You are the link and what matters to the success of our students.

Be Well!
A Path Forward: An Equity Centered Session for School Board Members
“A Path Forward: What Does Equity Centered School Board Governance Look Like in a Post-COVID Climate?”

In the wake of a global pandemic, what can school board members do to support their students - especially those who were most impacted by COVID - to ensure they receive the resources and support necessary to recover the learning that was lost? What can board members do to keep equity at the center as they chart a new path forward after COVID?

School Board members are invited to join us on Thursday, June 3 at 3 PM for a virtual panel discussion including board members of the Equity Alliance MN Joint Powers Board: Mike Boguszewski, Board Member, Roseville Area Schools; Mary Frances Clardy, Board Member, Inver Grove Heights Schools; and Jessica Ellison, Board Member, White Bear Lake Area Schools.  

Panelists will share the impact COVID had on existing inequities within their respective districts and will discuss what board governance through an equity lens will look like in a post-pandemic world. After the panel discussion, participants will have the opportunity to continue the dialogue with fellow board members in breakout rooms.  

This webinar is free for School Board Members, but registration is required.   
Staff Spotlight - Welcome Our Intern, Claire Olson
Claire Olson will be serving as an intern throughout the summer with Equity Alliance MN. In December, she will graduate from the College of Saint Benedict with a B.A. in Political Science and Education Studies. While working in a first grade classroom as a teacher’s assistant for two years, she developed a passion for educational systems and the need for equity. Claire has continued her work supporting students outside of the classroom by delivering meals with YES Network and coordinating free, virtual tutoring and advising services with Around Cloud Tutors. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with local political campaigns and exploring the outdoors.

She is thrilled to engage and support Equity Alliance MN throughout the summer. Specifically, she is excited to work with a passionate team, and learn from their diverse career experiences in the field of education. Claire looks forward to supporting the processes of creating equity audits and equity action plans to further understand how Equity Alliance MN supports educational improvements in various school districts. She will also assist in redeveloping the culturally responsive student leadership (CRSL) curriculum.
Youth Executive Board Student Spotlight: Ly
We have the honor of working with many amazing students through our Youth Executive Board. There is a bright future ahead!

“I’ll be graduating from White Bear Lake Area High School. I plan on studying Fine Arts (drawing and painting) and business/entrepreneurship. I will be attending Century College in the Fall and then plan on either transferring to Pratt Institute or Fashion Institute of Technology. I hope to open my own café and art business after school that focuses on uplifting local artists and community members in addition to providing affordable and accessible art classes/spaces and other needs.

Even though I’ve been with YEB for a pretty short time, it has made a large impact on my life! I made a lot of great friends and have been given so many great opportunities thanks to this group. I look forward to learning new things every week and being able to teach my peers, too. YEB has really expanded my love for social justice and made me want to incorporate it into my daily life and future career.”
Secure 21-22 Professional Development Dates TODAY!
Planning for the 2021-2022 school year is well underway. We want to support your district needs from Equity Audits to Professional Development in a way that adds value your district. Our calendars are filling up quickly, but there is still time to add services and trainings. Several organizations and districts have utilized Covid-relief funding (CARES, ARP, ESSER etc.) to support the additional equity needs within your district or organization. Reach out to us today!
Equity Alliance MN is Here to Support You
Every organization strives to deliver the highest quality service to the clientele they serve. To do this, successfully identifying the diverse needs of internal and external stakeholders requires first understanding how culture impacts every facet of your organization. The ability to work effectively across difference and leverage those differences as an asset is critical to your organization’s long term growth and success. Consultation, facilitation, executive coaching, implementation support, are some of the other ways we work to support schools, districts, and organizations. Learn more on our website.
Member District Employment Postings
Member School District Employment Opportunities

Our member districts have the opportunity to include employment postings on our page to help with recruiting and engaging a diverse pool of applicants.

If you are a member district and want to learn more, please contact jstammler@ea-mn.org.