Creating an IPS community where student outcomes cannot be predicted by race or ethnicity is the vision of the Racial Equity Initiative (REI). The mission is to lead a collaboration of community members who will partner with IPS to improve outcomes for all students by eliminating racial disproportionality and disparity.
In order to prepare IPS employees to meet the needs of students, the district embarked on an initiative around racial equity. By partnering with the Racial Equity Institute in 2015, IPS is able to receive the training and guidance needed to increase staff knowledge, shift thinking and elevate understanding.
Training provided by REI engages administrators, teachers, parents, support staff and community members. The work includes establishing active School Equity Teams (SET) who partner with the District Equity Team (DEI) to:
- Participate in monthly planning meetings to develop measurable goals
- Engage in book/workbook study groups
- Review disaggregated academic and discipline data
- Understand racism in all its forms, including how/when/where it occurs at all levels of the school community, even without intent
Teachers and administrators transfer what they are learning through REI training into the classrooms. The hope is to bring this important work to a wider audience of teachers throughout IPS, helping this new audience, as well as longtime teacher-partners, apply what they know about equity literacy and restorative practices to the district’s racial equity efforts.
The initiative’s anti-racism effort has proven to be so impactful in our district that the IPS Board of School Commissioners agreed during the 2018-19 school year to extend the work of the REI.
Recommended Resources and Readings
One of the best strategies for examining and understanding how to reach and teach a diverse student population is to become literate about who they are, where they come from and the gifts they bring with them.
Study groups are recommended for this purpose and to give colleagues opportunities to share perspectives and experiences that have proven successful in the classroom, home or in other diverse environments.
The following books, DVDs and website are suggested by the IPS Racial Equity Office:Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond
- Other People’s Children – Lisa Delpit
- Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice – Paul Gorski & Seema G. Pothini
- Dream Keepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children – Gloria Ladson Billings
- Black Children: Their Roots, Culture & Learning Styles – Janice Hale Benson
- We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know – Gary Howard
- Ghosts in the Schoolyard – Eve L. Ewing
- Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain – Zaretta Lynn Hammond
- These Kids are Out of Control: Why We Must Reimagine Classroom Management for Equity – H. Richard Milner IV
- Lies My Teacher Told Me – James Loewen
- How to Be an Anti-Racist – Ibram X. Kendi
- Start Where You Are But Don’t Stay There – Rich Milner IV
- White Fragility – Robin DiAngelo
- An African-Centered Response to Ruby Payne’s Poverty Theory – Jawanza Kunjufu
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness – Michelle Alexander
- DVD – Race: The Power of An Illusion – PBS / California Newsreel
- DVD – Attucks: The School That Opened a City – WFYI- Channel 20
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria – Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Blind Spot: The Hidden Biases of Good People – Mahzarin Benaji
- Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paulo Freire
- Stamped from the Beginning – Ibram X. Kendi
- Courageous Conversations About Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools – Glenn E. Singleton
- Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning – Sharroky Hollie
- Multiplication Is for White People: Raising Expectations for other People’s Children – Lisa Delpit
- The Trouble with Black Boys: And Other Reflections on Race, Equity, and the Future of Public Education – Pedro A. Noguera
- Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools – Monique W. Morris