Blog

Honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Over the past year, many amazing national and local activists, thinkers, and leaders have shared their knowledge, strength, and experiences. We have been introduced to new leaders, learned from experienced social justice leaders, and laid to rest leaders and community members who left us charged to do more and to keep working towards a better, more equitable today and tomorrow. 

This year, to honor the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, West Wind is highlighting a few youth activists, entrepreneurs, and scholars who have committed themselves to equity-focused causes within their communities. We have so much to learn from these young activists and the strategies they are using to create positive change.  Continue reading “Honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Twenty years ago today … West Wind was founded!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Today marks West Wind Education Policy’s 20-year anniversary! 

Over the years, West Wind has been honored to work with and for amazing educators, researchers, policy makers, students, and families working to imagine and enact education systems that overcome historic and persistent inequities and engage each and every child in learning. Through partnerships with state education agencies, districts, schools, federal centers, researchers, technical assistance providers, and education leaders at every level of the system, our team has been working at the leading edge of education policy and practice. 

While we have always centered equity in our work, our portfolio of issues, projects, and partners has morphed over the years. In the past five years, we have intentionally prioritized projects that promote and support racial equity. While we continue to work with state and national partners, we have grown our programs to include work with local education leaders, teachers, and students.  

Today, we are customizing and facilitating racial equity professional development sessions in Iowa, Utah, New York, and Ohio; supporting research projects across the Pacific Northwest; facilitating an ongoing research agenda on the recruitment and retention of staff of color; presenting on diversity, equity, and inclusion to diverse audiences across the Midwest; engaging in equity policy reviews and audits; and providing equity coaching services through the Harvard RIDES program. In addition, we are in the beta year of our new Educational Equity Resources Portal, where we curate and share resources to help others grow their Systemic Equity Leadership℠. 

This past year has challenged us in many ways and we are grateful to our team and our partners who have been by our side. As our team  celebrates together, we also want to say thank you to all of our former employees, interns, practicum students, partners, colleagues, mentors, and friends for working alongside us and supporting us. We have learned from each project, each team member, and each experience. 

We invite you to keep an eye on our blog throughout the year, where we will be highlighting key projects and important work over our first 20 years and look forward to what we hope to accomplish in the next 20! 

Thank you all for your support and community.  As our dear friend, Jim Kohlmoos always says, “Onward!”

Black-Owned Business Gift Guide

Reading Time: < 1 minute

With multiple holidays during the winter months, it can seem overwhelming to find the perfect gifts. As we approach this holiday season, many of us are shopping in ways to support our local businesses. We encourage you to seek out businesses in your community owned by people of color. For those of you in Iowa, we have some suggestions for Black-owned businesses across our state where you can find gifts.   Continue reading “Black-Owned Business Gift Guide”

Affirming Dignity in the Time of Elections

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In this fall of impossible challenges, schools are doing the best that they can to address issues that they have never had to address before. Principals and teachers are stretched to the max trying to teach in person and virtually, figure out systems to keep children and adults safe, and hold out until a vaccine. And yet there is one upcoming event that happens every four years that comes next week that many worry about–the election. Continue reading “Affirming Dignity in the Time of Elections”

Recognizing Holidays and Cultural Celebrations at School: Halloween

Reading Time: 6 minutesThis post was originally posted on West Wind’s Educational Equity Resources Portal blog.

In recent years, schools across the country have modified Halloween celebrations to better meet students needs — some have moved parades to after school, stopped the sharing of candy during school, replaced events with alternative celebrations, or cancelled Halloween celebrations. This blog provides considerations and key questions to support you to center race and ethnicity as you think about and plan for school-based Halloween celebrations and the use of costumes. Continue reading “Recognizing Holidays and Cultural Celebrations at School: Halloween”

In Solidarity

In Solidarity

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West Wind Education Policy is committed to disrupting historic and persistent inequities. We are deeply disturbed by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others, as well as the ongoing violence toward the bodies and spirit of people of color.

We join the protests against the institutional, ideological, internalized, and interpersonal systems of oppression that have made this a centuries-long struggle here in the United States.

(For information about the Four I’s of Oppression, see https://bit.ly/3cynRQt and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WWyVRo4Uas.)

Thank you, Abigail!

Thank you, Abigail!

Reading Time: 2 minutesAfter a few busy months, University of Iowa Graduate Student Abigail (Abi) Lippert’s time at West Wind has drawn to a close. Abigail worked on a multitude of projects during her semester of practicum at West Wind, and we’re excited to see where she goes next.

Originally from Mediapolis, Iowa, Abigail came to Iowa City to pursue her undergraduate degree. Her initial goal was to become a doctor, but she found herself drawn to psychology and social work as she explored how she could best impact the social injustices she saw around her. “Once I got into psychology, I started learning a lot about supporting students and individuals who have different abilities,” she said.  Continue reading “Thank you, Abigail!”

Our Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Reading Time: < 1 minuteThe COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way we work, think, and educate. 

Throughout this time, West Wind has been busy supporting our partners and clients to keep our work focused on equity and safety. Like many crises, this pandemic has further shown the great racial disparities in the U.S. with regard to living conditions, patterns of employment, work circumstances, underlying health conditions, and access to responsive health care. We will continue to prioritize safety and equity. We are honored to spend time talking with, supporting, and learning from our colleagues as we all navigate through the response to the pandemic.   

To read more about the issues we are working on around equity and responses to the pandemic, please visit our blog at the Educational Equity Resources Portal titled Racial Equity, COVID-19, and Our Schools.  

In the coming months, we will share several of our guidance documents free of charge; jump into our Educational Equity Resources Portal and filter.

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., and Racial Justice Advocates Through the Years

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., and Racial Justice Advocates Through the Years

Reading Time: 3 minutesMLK quotation and nine pics of racial equity activists.

To honor Dr. King’s place in history and to acknowledge those who have worked and who continue to work toward racial justice, we are pleased to share these images of activists who inspire us. 

You will notice that some of these images are of leaders who clashed with Dr. King; others are of leaders who never met him. It is important to acknowledge the diversity of philosophies that have guided actions across the years toward the pursuit of racial justice, just as it is important to find ourselves within the legacy of struggle for civil and human rights. We have so much to learn!  Continue reading “Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., and Racial Justice Advocates Through the Years”

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