CREATING BOSTON EDUCATORS FOR EQUITY

Started by 2015 Knowles Teaching Fellow Zoe Masters and her colleague Ulana Ainsworth, Boston Educators for Equity (BEE) brings together a racially diverse group of teachers from urban public schools, charter schools and suburban public schools in the Boston area to examine issues related to race and equity. With financial support from Knowles and Teachers4Equity, the pair attended SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) New Leaders Week in Seattle, Washington, in July 2017. This seven-day, peer-led, residential workshop equipped the pair to lead SEED seminars in their own context. Zoe and Ulana recruited 19 teachers to participate in BEE during the 2017–2018 school year. Over the course of the year, BEE participants met on a monthly basis from September 2017 to May 2018. In their meetings, they discussed a variety of topics related to equity and racial justice, including the United States educational system; and wealth, income and social class. Engaging in rigorous discourse on these important topics empowered BEE participants to become change agents for equity in their respective schools—one teacher created a working group for teachers to question and investigate their racial identity and bias in the classroom and another is advocating changes to her school’s attendance policy. Their collective efforts have impacted more than 300 students. Zoe shared learnings from this experience with the Knowles community in the form of a presentation on school segregation during the 2018 Knowles Summer Meeting. During the 2018–2019 school year, Zoe and Ulana will facilitate BEE discussions with two groups of teachers—the continuing cohort and a new cohort.