Volume 9 | April 2021
2021 - Is this the future you envisioned?

From the desk of Sebastian Witherspoon
“We can disagree and still love each other, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” James Baldwin.

A strong poignant statement from James Baldwin, American novelist, playwright and activist, but necessary then and now. It is 2021. As a child, I thought by 2021 we would be driving hover vehicles; we could travel back and forth through time; and we could teleport by using more brain capacity. And the innocent and hopeful youthfulness in me dreamed that by 2021 racism would be a concept we could only relive by reading a book or listening to our elder's talk. 

But here we are in 2021. We, as a country, and with Minnesota being an epicenter, find ourselves at a precipice. What shall we become? What shall we become as educational leaders and fellow educators, but more importantly, what shall we become as citizens of the state of Minnesota? A state we believe to be so grand, yet we can no longer deny nor turn our back on the fact that we have a problem. There is something “in the water” of the state that claims over 10,000 lakes, and too many of our people are floating at the top because the “water” and systemic inequities and barriers are being polluted in many ways. 

This is a call to action! This is a defining moment in our country. It is time for us, all of us, to stand up and invest in one another’s humanity. Our children and young people are watching and listening and acting. We need to recognize the inherent worth and value in one another and the beauty that we all exude regardless of individual characteristics endowed upon us by the creator. The time for speaking in platitudes has come and gone. Our children’s lives are literally counting on our actions to repair the harm and move forward in a way that allows space for each and every one of us to be our amazing authentic selves. It is not too late for us to reconcile our past and chart a new course of action, not because we are responding to gross inhuman behavior, but because we owe it to ourselves. And most importantly, we owe it to our children! 
Staff Spotlight - Welcome Back, Paula O'Loughlin
Paula O'Loughlin is no stranger to Equity Alliance MN and we are excited to have her rejoining our team as the Director of Partnerships and Professional Learning. Paula will be leading some of ourprofessional learning opportunities, including our Listen2Lead: A Journey to Equity Consciousness Board Governance Professional Development Learning Series.

Paula began working in the Office of Equity & Integration in the Stillwater Area School district in 2006. There she served in various capacities including the AVID Coordinator, AVID co-teacher, Student Programming Facilitator, and Curriculum Developer which centered the tenets of Culturally Responsive Teaching. Paula also worked concurrently with middle school students as a Youth Program Advisor with EMID (East Metro Integration District, now known as Equity Alliance MN). Most recently Paula served as the Associate Director of Board Development at the Minnesota School Boards Association where she supported school board leadership throughout the state.

Learn more about Paula!
Secure 21-22 Equity Audits &
Professional Development Dates TODAY!
Planning for the 2021-2022 school year is already underway. We want to support your district needs from Equity Audits to Professional Development in a way that meets your district. Our calendars are filling up quickly, but there is still time to add services and training in times that meet your needs. Several organizations and districts have utilized Covid-relief funding (CARES, ARP, etc.) to support the additional equity needs within your district or organization. Reach out to us today!
Professional Learning Series for HR Professional
Equity Alliance MN, in Partnership with Minnesota Education Equity Partnership (MNEEP) are hosting a pilot professional development series focused on the
retention of Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers. In this series, we have engaged in activities and reflection that build capacity as an equity leader and be provided resources to support district’s goals to retain and attract talent. This series is the first of its kind in Minnesota and centers on the voices of Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers. It was a created in collaborative partnership with Teachers of Color, American Indian Teachers and human resource directors.

In the first two sessions, participants started to unpack the impact of bias on both students of color and teachers of color. The group reflected on the everyday things happening and what can be done within our roles to support teacher of color retention. The focus for both sessions centered on teacher of color voice. The teachers of color who were part of the curriculum design team really wanted HR professionals to understand their experiences intellectually and empathetically.

The focus for sessions three and four is systems change and will continue to be guided by teacher voice as action ideas are developed. 
Growing for Greater Equity Impact
We are seeking a equity-focused, dynamic, and motivated individual to join our team as an Equity Continuous Improvement VISTA to support equity work in our organization.

Though we will want the VISTA engaged in every facet of our organization, we will support their focus on four key areas:

1. Develop equity audit tools and processes.

2. Develop and support professional development activities and curriculum.

3. Support the development of student programs.

4. Explore opportunities for growth for our organization.
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. Here's a printable flyer and you can also 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.