Last January, faculty were energized by the panel discussion, Teaching and Reaching Black Boys in America, hosted at Lowell and led by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., editor of The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys. Inspired by the vision to balance the scales for black boys in school, faculty and administrators came together in a task force charged to study the book and then share what they learned with the full faculty and staff. Over the summer, the Guide Task Force explored the ways that race matters in the classroom and then created a series of professional development workshops.
A truly grassroots approach to professional development, the workshops tap into the most incredible resource on Lowell’s campus, our teachers. The Task Force was comprised of experienced and dedicated educators fully invested in creating learning environments that will help black boys thrive. Members of the Task Force included four members of the administrative team and represented every division, as well as Auxiliary Programs. The discussions over the summer were compelling, as members' different lenses offered varied expertise, as well as new insights.
In creating the professional development experience for the full faculty, Task Force members wanted to meet teachers where they were and have some choice. They developed six different deep-dive workshops:
Creating Identity-Safe Classrooms: Places to Belong and Learn (Stefania Rubino and Brian Stark)
Black Males in the Classroom: The Importance of Relationship (April Greene and Dawn Smith)
Black History in the Curriculum (Michelle Belton and Cordenia Paige)
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (Jason Novak and Coleman Rose)
Black Boys in Literature (Kathie Clements and Tasha Jackson-Jones)
An Overview of The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys (J Bernick and Debbie Gibbs)
The first five workshops are three weeks each and repeat in the spring semester so that teachers have the opportunity to do two. The sixth workshop is a year-long workshop that takes place over all six sessions. In addition to the on-site workshops, faculty and staff are able to tap into online versions of the work as well, providing greater flexibility to ensure everyone can participate.
There is a new energy felt around campus after teachers participated in the first of a series of workshops this week, enlivening the spirit and Lowell's commitment to developing life-long learners and ensuring that all children learn and flourish at school.