UC High Begins Equity Teams and Anti-Racist Training for Teachers

Cassandra Bristol, Staff Writer

 This school year, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), and UC High in particular, have begun to conduct online trainings and create teams in order for teachers to learn about the importance of anti-racism and racial equality in order to facilitate a more equitable environment in schools.

   All schools within SDUSD will be required to participate in anti-racist teacher trainings and teams. Vice Principal Alexander Villalobos said, “Site Equity Teams will be required for the 2021-2022 school year at all sites. We started our Site Equity Team in September 2020, because we feel it is necessary and important for our school community.”

   “Our first steps have been collaborating with our District’s Youth Advocacy Department to create professional learning opportunities for our UC Faculty and Staff,” said Villalobos.

   As for the future of the program, Villalobos said, “Next school year 2021-2022, the team will be routinely examining discipline data, attendance data and staff participation in anti-bias or restorative justice trainings to identify disproportionalities and determine action steps for revising site discipline practices based on the District’s new Restorative Response Matrix.”

   Resource Teacher Henry Maxfield leads and participates in Professional Development meetings and provides curriculum for the team. “The goal and purpose of the teams is to build capacity for schools to become anti-racist and anti-biased so that they can eliminate educational outcomes that are disparate for our BIPOC [Black/Indigenous People Of Color] student population,” said Maxfield.

   Maxfield outlined some of the team’s more specific goals: “A. Eliminate inequities and disparities in student achievement. B. Foster a safe and healthy school climate. C. Promote an inclusive culture that engages and draws on the assets of students, families, staff and community members. D. Foster leadership development. E. Encourage and facilitate conversations about equity, anti-racism and social justice.”

   In terms of UC High’s specific efforts, Counselor Kelsey Bradshaw said, “We have a couple of groups on campus: one group of teachers that are working with some district resource teachers learning about anti-racist practices and the best practices for schools… Another group of teachers is doing a book study of [anti-racist educational literature]. The third group is a parent group where we are [conducting] the training we are getting from the district with parents.”

   Bradshaw continued, “These groups were started after the civil unrest that has been coming up since the George Floyd murder, and we had students from the Black Student Union come forward to share their concerns with the administration.”

   Bradshaw concluded, “I think the most important of all of this is teaching ourselves to look at our own biases and to be aware of them so that we are not inflicting them on our students. I believe the goal for all of the groups is to be able to look at policies and the environment at UC High to make it welcoming for all.”