Please CLICK HERE to read the Northeast Denver Innovation Zone statement on equity and steps forward! This document also contains resources for parents, students, teachers and others! Statement text is shown below.
June 12, 2020
To our Northeast Denver Innovation Zone Family & Neighbors
During these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic and the senseless murders of black lives across our country- George Floyd , Breanna Taylor , Ahmaud Arbery , Tony McDade, and locally – Michael Marshall, De’Von Bailey and sadly, many more, we are responsible for not only leaning in to learn in this moment, but changing how we live. Our moral compass directs us, with great urgency, to push courageously against all structures and systems that have been intentionally designed and sustained to negate the truth that Black lives matter.
Northeast Denver Innovation Zone (NDIZ) formed because school communities saw a reality of which they were not satisfied. Our initial schools believed that together we could innovate by exercising our collective brilliance to co-create and deliver communities of learning that would be a model for others to use to improve learning for all students. Our newest schools joined because they share these founding beliefs.
It is a heavy lift but a lift that we remain committed to lifting together, informed by truths that have been for too long ignored. To that end, we have completed equity audits at our initial schools and our newest schools are scheduled. There is good work happening, but we desperately need to do more at a faster, collaborative pace. Black students cannot wait. We know that today has been disrupted.
We know that tomorrow must be different. We will transform policies, practices, and personnel. We will live equity because of our equal belief in the brilliance of black students. We will open doors so that opportunities abound and basic needs for total wellness are met. We will have school teams that reflect the beautiful tapestry that is our students, families, and community. We will have a tomorrow very different from today because we will be different than we are today.
We stand in solidarity with Black students, families, colleagues, community members and all who are committed to exposing and eradicating white supremacy and racism and realizing justice now. Let there be no question, Black lives matter!
Northeast Denver Innovation Zone Board, Staff, and School Leaders
Board : Alicia Biggs, Michelle Culver, Brenda Bautsch Dickhoner, Chris Herndon, Vernon Jones Jr., Catherine Kline, Keith Montoya, Ashley Piche, Stephan Pfeifer, Dan Roberts, Nikki Steffan, McKenna
Scott, Jennifer Troy, Darrell Watson, Brian Weber
Staff : Tomi Amos (Executive Director), Kristopher Blythe (Sr. Director of Zone Operations), Alicia Biggs (Director of Equity, Diversity and Recruitment)
School Leaders : Kurt Dennis (McAuliffe International), Suzanne Morris-Sherer (McAuliffe Manual), Ryan Kockler (Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment), Amy Bringedahl (Northfield High School), Shelby Dennis (Swigert Elementary), Dr. Amy Gile (Willow Elementary)
Below are some resources to engage in direct discussions on culture, race, and violence with children. Even our youngest children can learn about race and racism in ways appropriate for them. Additionally, there are resources for educators and for individuals to exercise self care. We see you and love you. We look forward to ongoing conversations and engaging in this work as a collective.
○ White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo
○ Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor – Layla Saad
○ So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
○ How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
○ Stamped From The Beginning – Ibram X. Kendi
○ The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap – Mehrsa Baradaran
○ How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide
– Crystal Marie Fleming
○ The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander
○ I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Channing Brown
○ 1619 by the New York Times
○ About Race
○ Code Switch by NPR
○ The Diversity Gap
○ Intersectionality Matters! Hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw
○ Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
○ Pod Save the People by Crooked Media
● Organizations doing work surrounding racial equity & justice
○ Antiracist Research & Policy Center
○ Black Women’s Blueprint
○ Color of Change
○ The Conscious Kid
○ Equal Justice Initiative
○ Families Belong Together
○ The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights
○ Showing Up for Racial Justice
○ United We Dream
● Table Talk: Family Conversations about Current Events
● National Museum of African American History & Culture – Talking About Race
● Tips and Strategies: Talking to White Kids about Race and Racism
● Children Community School: Social Justice Resources
● A Talk to Teachers by James Baldwin
● What ‘White Folks Who Teach in the Hood’ Get Wrong about Education interview with Dr. Chris Emdin
● Making Black Lives Matter in Our Schools by the editors of Rethinking Schools
● Black Students’ Lives Matter: Building the School to Justice Pipeline by the editors of Rethinking Schools
● The Black Joy Experience Resource Guide by Jonathan Lykes and Fresco Steez.
● Teaching Young Children About Race By Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards
● Black is Beautiful By Kara Hinderlie
● NASP: Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Trauma
● Inclusive Therapist Resources
● Responding to Student Mental Health Concerns
● Calm Classroom
● Psychology Today: Radical Self Care in the Face of Mounting Racial Stress