Category: Blog

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

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Join us in celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day! Today, our nation acknowledges the great triumphs, beauty, and resiliency of Indigenous people while also recognizing the systemic harm and marginalization that Indigenous people have faced over the past few centuries. We hope you take today to educate yourself on Indigenous organizations, authors, leaders, and issues. Follow the links below to donate to amazing organizations for Indigenous people, led by Indigenous people. 

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West Wind Education Policy and the Creative Corridor Center for Equity Announce the Iowa Conference on Diversity Trainings

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West Wind Education Policy and the Creative Corridor Center for Equity (C3E) will host the virtual Iowa Conference on Diversity Trainings on July 14, 2021, from 12:30-4:30 pm. The conference will engage participants in discussions of ways to provide trainings and lead systemic change initiatives, in light of the new state law that addresses the scope of diversity trainings.

The conference is not designed to provide legal advice but rather is an opportunity for colleagues from PK-12 education, higher education, human and social services, public health and health care, philanthropy, nonprofits, government agencies — truly anyone who sponsors, delivers, or researches diversity trainings — to share insights, strategize, and collaborate to keep equity at the center of our work.

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

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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.”

The Importance of “Doing Something” – What Do We Do Tomorrow?

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As an elementary principal, when an unspeakable event occurred, it was always my role  to offer support to families and guidance for teachers on how to cope, what to say, and to repeat that, yes, it was important to talk about events – even with our youngest students – especially if they were bringing it up. Now as a retired principal, I still have that same sense of urgency to support and to extend care.

Twenty years ago today … West Wind was founded!

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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. 

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What Is a Micro-Affirmation?

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Micro-affirmations are the small, often unconscious acts of appreciation, praise, and recognition that teachers provide as feedback and encouragement in the classroom. Sometimes these acts are conscious, such as using a system to make sure that all students are being called on equitably. Other times they my be more subtle, such as using a child’s name when referring to something they have done well (“I noticed that Hector was doing a great job of supporting his group”) or giving credit to a child for an idea they espoused  (“I loved Imani’s idea of starting with X; do others have ideas about what we should do next?”)  Research has indicated that the more widely-recognized microaggressions have a cumulative and negative impact on students. On the other hand, research by Todd Pittinsky and others is now suggesting that positive micro-affirmations can have a cumulative effect leading students to feel more engaged, more positive to the instruction and, as is critical to the success of students of color in the classroom, more likely to feel seen, affirmed, and that they belong.

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Agreements for Talking about Race: Assume Positive Intent and Take Responsibility for Impact

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As you engage with your team in talking about race during professional development, staff meetings, or other formal conversations, a set of shared agreements can support your team to deepen discussions, to engage deeply in self reflection, and to learn from one another. (To learn more about why and how to use agreements, see the Using Agreements blog post.) To ensure that your agreements work for your team, it is key that you spend time together digging into what each agreement means to you as a team and how you will use it. In this blog we will discuss the agreement “Assume Positive Intent and Take Responsibility for Impact” to unpack ways to understand it, ways it can feel challenging, and ways to engage with it during conversations about race.

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Black-Owned Business Gift Guide

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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”

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