SERC is recognized as a statewide leader in supporting educators, districts, and others in addressing the challenges that contribute to Connecticut’s racial opportunity gaps. Our blueprint for racial equity in education focuses on five critical elements: Leadership, Professional Capacity, School Climate, School-Family-Community Partnerships, and Teaching & Learning.
How has SERC built this blueprint? In 2003, after the No Child Left Behind Act data revealed the extent of Connecticut’s racial disparities in educational performance for our students of color, SERC made an intentional and purposeful commitment to focus on gaining a deeper understanding of the inherent intersectionality that exists between race and academic achievement.
A group of SERC staff began a journey of self-discovery and study of leading critical thinkers on race, equity, and social justice. We tapped Glenn Singleton of the Pacific Educational Group to launch training on “Courageous Conversations About Race” among all staff. Over the next few years, SERC worked collaboratively with its partners on annual events related to race and education. These included:
SERC began in-depth technical assistance with several school districts on a multifaceted approach to addressing racial equity. Through the years, our professional development for staff and Connecticut educators has included Courageous Conversations; “Beyond Diversity,” a powerful experience that shines light on white privilege; a “Let’s Talk” series on diversity; and many other opportunities focused on literacy teaching for racial subgroups and English learners.
In 2011, we published “Equity in Education: A Transformational Approach,” to chronicle our learning and our efforts to facilitate this important message through courageous leadership and critical action. Several local media outlets and wire services covered the document as well as our concurrent announcement of an Excellence in Education Award named for George A. Coleman, a former acting state education commissioner and longtime SERC partner.
In the years since, we have continued to incorporate racial equity in all of our work with educators and districts. After the establishment of the SERC Foundation in 2015, SERC and the Foundation have held the annual Dismantling Systemic Racism Conference on Race, Education, and Success and facilitated ongoing working groups.
We have most recently published the second document from the Equity in Education series, titled: “A Transformational Approach to Teaching and Learning.” The document highlights the impact of racially conscious educators in creating culturally responsive learning environments for all students.