As local and national conversations about racial and economic justice grow louder and more urgent, IDEA is establishing its own focus on equity. Building Equity as a Pack is the theme for IDEA’s 2020-2021 school year.
“Everyone connected to IDEA is a part of the pack,” explained Principal Nicole McCrae. “Timberwolves stick together and leave no one behind. We are united during these crises and we’re going to protect each other.”
“Building equity as a pack means thinking about all scholars, embracing their differences, and supporting them in whatever way they need,” McCrae said. IDEA staff participated in this year’s Leadership Design Institute, facilitated by City Bridge, they explored the model of equity by design. “This makes you design and create new ideas for thinking about the most marginalized subgroup of scholars who you’re serving. You start by examining the needs of students with disabilities and expand out from there so you can help everyone. This model requires you to be intentional about who you’re designing your school for.”
The theme will include three focus areas:
- Equity for all--Creating just procedures, structures, and experiences for all scholars. This includes making sure scholar voices are heard in decision making discussions and that scholars are at the table, such as with this summer’s Student Leadership interns. “Scholars are preparing for the real world, and they need to know what it’s like to advocate for themselves and their peers,” McCrae said.
- Building strong meaningful relationships--among scholars, staff, families, community members, and others. This includes continuing to strengthen the weekly online town halls that began when the school building closed, so parents can learn from each other, have the opportunity to lead, and access training and development they are seeking. Building on career and technical education (CTE) partnerships by creating CTE advisory committees including professionals who can guide scholars and provide insights into our programs is another example.
- High-quality, engaging, and rigorous teaching and learning--while this has always been our goal and our standard at IDEA, we are recommitted to examining our curriculum and approaches to learning to ensure that our scholars see themselves in what they’re learning and uncovering truths that we may have avoided in the past. “We want to expose them to realities they may not have had the opportunity to explore and help them advocate for change where they see the need for it. We want to open the doors for scholars and support them in choosing the doors they want to walk through.”