While the month of December brings a close to 2021, the Education Committee continues to uphold foundational principles while formulating areas of interest for the New Year. There was a continued focus on providing Anchorage School District public comment on teaching contracts. The Committee recognizes that supporting the careers of Alaskan teachers is paramount to the success of students and we applaud their service. The Committee also acknowledges how the health of the wider community can affect the educational environment, fighting for a continued mask mandate in ASD schools in response to the pandemic fluctuations.
Committee members interacted and created new ties with other prominent community organizations. On December 4th and 18th, several committee members participated in the Alaska Writing Project to learn more about the implementation of anti-racist rhetoric. In addition, the Education Committee received the wonderful opportunity to blossom interorganizational relationships through the Beloved Community Project. Committee momentum, fueled by the festive spirit, continued to the Community Conversation event on December 19th. Alaska Black Caucus members and the wider community alike received the opportunity to converse with alumnae of historically Black Greek letter organizations, also known as the Divine Nine. Panelists provided a perspective that will empower youths’ journeys in college and beyond.
Transitioning into 2022 brings additional possibilities for Education Committee engagement, and the Committee is more than excited to branch out focus and engagement. Members hope to campaign for teaching contracts and retirement incentives at the legislative level. In addition, on the vein of continuing to inspire and empower youth in the community, Brave Spaces, or gatherings where students can freely discuss and learn about certain topics, will be explored more in the new year. The Education Committee will also reach a larger audience using social media, with the goal of growing engagement with community causes amongst youth. Clear steps on the implementation of the Anti-Racism and Instructional Equity Policies have yet to be elucidated by the ASD, and there must be pressure placed on the administration to establish an equitable learning environment. The Education Committee hopes to make more BIPOC families aware of this ongoing policy change as well as give them the opportunity to have their lived experience shape this policy implementation.
In the New Year, the Education Committee is ecstatic to take action on these important issues and conversations, engaging old members and welcoming new ones along the way!
BIPOC Parent Voices Subcommittee
The BIPOC Parent Voices is Subcommittee of the Education Committee, with a specific focus on sharing the lived experiences of families and students of color within the Anchorage School District. 2021 brought new relationships and empowering conversations with individuals in the community, allowing the Subcommittee to shape a vision interwoven with the invaluable advice of the wider BIPOC community in Anchorage. Students and parents alike were encouraged to share their stories with the School Board. After a year that was unfortunately filled with events of discrimination, it is imperative to enact change on an administrative level. The goal of the BIPOC Parent Voices Subcommittee is to influence education policy by shaping interested individuals into effective advocates.
The Subcommittee is excited to announce a short workshop series that will be implemented at the beginning of 2022. This will provide additional tools to BIPOC students and families, as well as lending additional time to focus on writing an effective public comment. If you are interested in joining these events, or know anyone who is, please reach out to the Education Committee!