Beginning Steps to an Equitable Classroom: Step 2

Co-create a clear and compelling vision and goals with your class/school. What will be accomplished by the end of this school year and what will that enable students to do, say, believe, become and overcome in their futures? So often I ask teachers what they are working toward and I hear back very general and vague answers like:

  • “I want students to do well on the end of year tests.” 
  • “Become super-readers.”
  • “Become global citizens.”
  • “Learn more than they knew when they first got here.” 

What do these mean? Were students at the table when this was decided? Were their families? Without a clear destination, how can we possibly chart a path forward? Without a destination in mind and in heart, we don’t know where ‘forward’ is. We owe it to our kids—and to ourselves, to be clear on what we are trying to accomplish with and for them. 

  • To do this well, we need clarity on a few things: 
  • What and how will students learn this year? 
  • How will we know they learned it? 
  • What new opportunities will they have access to? 
  • Are there new networks you can help them tap into? 
  • How will students learn more about themselves, their passions, interests, and talents? 
  • How will students feel while on this learning journey? \

And don’t forget to consider the larger context.

When student-level data (both quantitative and qualitative), are disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, learning needs, home languages spoken, gender identity, etc., are there any discrepancies? Discrepancies could be a sign of inequity. In order to chart a future where those discrepancies no longer exist, a vision and goal-setting process must consider the historical context and equity implications. For examples of what these goals could look like check out these examples

The best visions are co-created. Research and brainstorm your ideas and get thoughts from the larger school community; not forgetting about families and students themselves. Together, find the trends that matter most and draft sticky language that will help people remember and get excited about what to take on.

When I am visiting classrooms, and as long as it does not disrupt instruction, I speak with at least four or five students. One of the questions I ask them (using age-appropriate language) is something like: What are you hoping to accomplish by the end of this year in this class? 

I have seen drastically different outcomes for students when they are clear and invested in a common vision with their teacher. We must offer students the opportunity to work on something of themselves, for themselves and bigger than themselves. Students must be authors of their purpose and direction. 

What will be true in your classroom/school by the end of this school year?

To Download and Print Out: Check out this Process for Goal Setting & Goals Conversation

To Read Further: Did you miss the last two parts of this blog? 



To Do: If you’re looking for more on Coaching for Equity or looking at your schools and classrooms from a bigger picture, check out this description of how to decide between attending “Equity by Design” and “Coaching for Equity?” Here are a few key differences:

The foundation for both Coaching for Equity and Equity by Design are very similar in that learning begins with self-reflection and exploration of our own identities and systems of oppression. However, the learning experiences and each workshop is different.

Coaching for Equity is centered around the coaching conversation and building participant capacity for coaching others.

Equity by Design spends more time looking at the practices (classroom, leadership) and policies (classroom, school-wide) and supports teacher leaders and administrators to interrupt those policies and practices that are not serving all students. It does also touch on the coaching conversation, given this is a key method, but that is much less of a focus.

Click here to register for Equity By Design.