Skyline High School's Equity Goals:
- Provide professional development to Skyline staff members that creates engagement around creating an environment of anti-racism
- Provide resources to parents and students to extend conversations rooted in anti-racism to our entire community
- Acknowledge and address disparities in educational access and justice for communities of color
Our Equity Team Journey:
During the last two years, we have reached out to various student groups and we have heard other students echo calls for equity in schools. As a response, our school board and our school hosted listening sessions around student experiences with equity in our schools. We have expanded our teaching and learning around black history, as well as other underrepresented histories, and continue to look for even more ways to do so. Although this may outline much of the work we are doing at school to shine a light on voices that are often unheard or silenced, we also appreciate the continued discussion and would enjoy more voices on our Equity Team.
Our school PBSES (Positive Behavior and Social Emotional Support) team’s primary role is to set expectations of behavior and create a sense of school community through these expectations. Part of this work is tracking discipline data when students violate these common codes of conduct. Our admin team is committed to reviewing this data and applying discipline policy equitably and restoratively to make sure we are not highlighting any groups of students, disproportionately.
In anticipation of Black History Month, we held an MLK assembly in all classrooms in January. During this assembly, students watched a student-created video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm2V4yB3sgI&feature=youtu.be) about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and then had small group discussion at their table groups. Following the discussion, students created commitment cards connecting to the themes of Dr. King's work and discussed ways to address hate speech in school. Our Associated Student Body (ASB) has two dedicated positions as “Equity Liaisons” who work with our clubs and the Equity Team to make sure the work we do has student voice.
ASB is also talking about "This Day in History" during class announcements, and they have created slides that run on our school TVs for the various cultural celebration months throughout the year. They have also sponsored two events geared towards students of color: the Black and Brown Summit for males in the Fall and the Young Educated Ladies Leading. To this same end, ASB has an Equity Committee that has met with student groups on campus that represent traditionally underrepresented student groups.
We begin our 9th grade Social Studies curriculum with a Diversity Unit that speaks to wealth inequality, classism, gender bias and sexism, institutional racism, and microaggressions. These themes continue throughout the Social Studies curriculum, providing a lens through which students view all Social Studies courses. Social Studies also collaborates with English classes to further student discussion around narratives that speak to the diversity of human experience. Our recent curriculum adoption in English focused on bringing more novels authored by people of color. Earlier this year, the library created a display highlighting black authors and encouraging students to read authors that are more diverse.
As an admin team, equity work is one of our passions and we are dedicated to creating a school to justice pipeline through professional development. This year, our team read How to be an Antiracist and went to see author Ibram X. Kendi speak. Last year, many of us went to "Teaching for Black Lives" at the University of Washington and attended various trainings on race and culture both within and outside of the district. As well, throughout this year, and during our staff learnings, we have had professional development around addressing microaggressions and white privilege. Staff have been provided professional development about acknowledging white privilege and having meaningful conversations to address microaggressions from renowned PNW presenter, Dr. Caprice Hollins. In addition, our own district Equity and Family Partnership Specialist, Lorna Gilmour, has presented to Skyline staff about ways we can honor student experiences in the classroom to avoid harmful microaggressions. When microaggressions do happen, we are clear that they must be handled authentically, visibly, and restoratively.
Our staff is embarking upon a book study in antiracism as well this year, with these two texts selected as the options for first semester reading. As teachers work through these discussions and practice critical conversations around race, we will also be posting discussion guides here, if your family would like to engage with these texts and conversations as well!
Heritage Month Celebrations and Resources (More Resources will be added each month as our Equity Team meets!)
- February - Black History Month
- March - Women's History Month; Irish American Heritage Month
- March 13th-April 15th - National Deaf History Month
- May - Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month; Older Americans Month; Jewish American Heritage Month
- June - LGBTQ+ History Month
- September 15th-October 15th - Latina/o Heritage Month
- October - Disability Awareness Month - ADA PowerPoint
- November - Indigenous People's Month - Savanna's Act
SHS Equity Teacher Leader
Skyline High School is lucky to have a new Equity Teacher Leader this year, leading much of our school Equity work for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 schoolyears. Please reach out to KamathB@issaquah.wednet.edu with questions!
My name is Anu Kamath. This will be my third year teaching Chemistry at Skyline High School in the Issaquah School District. Born and raised in New Delhi, India, I moved to Grenoble, France where I lived for 4 years for my doctoral program in Organic Chemistry. I moved to USA in early 2011 to work as a research scientist at SUNY, Stony Brook, NY and then, Boston College, MA. My transition to HS teaching was initiated at Boston College where I helped organize Professional Development for High School teachers in Boston-Springfield area in MA - which I absolutely loved. I enrolled fulltime for a Master’s in Education program at Lynch School of Education to become a certified HS science teacher. Before moving to Seattle 3 years ago with my husband and then 2-year-old son, I worked at Waltham Public Schools and Lexington Public Schools in MA as a Chemistry teacher.
My love for science, together with my life experiences of living, studying and working in three different continents over my lifetime deeply influence my practice and interaction with my students in my classroom. I am passionate about science and education – both of which I view as very powerful instruments to bring positive change. I consider myself fortunate to be in this profession which allows me to practice both every day. Outside of work, I love painting, solving Jigsaw puzzles, traveling with my family, trying out new cuisines and learning new languages.
Upcoming Equity Team Meetings
Tuesday, April 20th from 4:00-5:30pm on Zoom.
Tuesday, May 25th from 4:00-5:30pm on Zoom.
2020-21 Past Equity Team Meetings (meeting agendas+minutes)
Equity Team Meeting 8.24.2020
Equity Team Meeting 9.29.2020
Equity Team Meeting 10.27.2020
Equity Team Meeting 11.24.2020
Equity Team Meeting 1.19.2021
Equity Team Meeting 2.23.2021
Equity Team Meeting 3.23.2021
The Equity Department's April newsletter is hot off the press and covers topics such as:
- Denouncing hate attacks against Asians, Asian Americans and our Pacific Islander Community, and what the ISD has done about it
- Resources for talking with students about racism towards the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Community
- Tips and considerations for how to communication with linguistically diverse families
- Insensitive or racially derogatory commonly used words and phrases
- Upcoming religious holidays
- Courageous Conversations resources
Check out the newsletter here: https://www.smore.com/ezsc9-equity-update