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VPM Discussion Guide: Creating Equitable Education Systems

Progress and Promises
Image: VPM

Racism: Challenging Perceptions is dedicated to supporting individuals as they explore opportunities to build more equitable communities. We have selected a few key topics from each conversation in our second installment of programs and created a discussion guide for you to use with your friends, families, colleagues and community members.

As you discuss the fourth episode, we encourage you to consider the following ( Download the PDF here):

Bold and Brave Spaces

  • The panel talked about creating bold and brave spaces for youth. What does this mean to you and what does/should that look like?
  • How might schools approach safety in a holistic way (emotionally safe, mentally safe, culturally safe, physically safe, etc.)

Youth Matter

  • The panelists discussed “centering students” in education. As you reflect on educational experiences for students in your or other communities, what opportunities are there to center the student’s needs and life experiences?
  • The panelists discussed how the pandemic illuminates the barriers many students face. Take a moment to think about and discuss what pre-existing barriers were alarming to you? What systems changes do you believe can help mitigate some of these barriers?

Healthy, Happy, and Whole

  • Discuss how schools become hubs and centers of support for youth. From a community perspective what should this look like?
  • How important are culturally responsive approaches for young people? Discuss.

Mental Health

  • Our panelists discussed the mental viability of not only our students, but our educators. In thinking about our educators who are faced daily with students facing systemic barriers to education, how have our educators been supported? What support mechanisms could be valuable to them?
  • The pandemic mandated that many college students leave the academic setting to learn virtually. How may a student’s absence from a college academic setting affect their mental health? (Please consider first-generation college students)

Listening with Generosity

  • What steps can we take to encourage our students to speak boldly about their experiences?
  • What steps can we take to ensure that we are actively listening to our students and educators when they are discussing their experiences with us or telling their stories to us?

“When you listen with generosity, you’re taking everything away to just hear that person-not to respond, not to answer, but just to bear witness to their experience.” - Dr. Shadae Harris

“The first thing that has to happen is the raising of critical consciousness. That means you have to understand what is going on around you” - Dr. Tomika Ferguson