As I write this, students, caregivers and staff are being welcomed into school communities all over the country. As an educator and a mom, I am thinking about the best ways to support my children as they enter school this year. I have an elementary, a middle and a high school student and each of them needs something different from me, as well as from their respective school communities. I’ve been asking myself: Will they be seen, valued and affirmed for the wonderful, dynamic human beings that they are? How do I provide the “right” level of support while also allowing them to find their own way? “How can I partner with the educators and other caregivers at my kids’ schools to contribute to a culture of support and growth?”
As Kindred’s Executive Director, I’m asking myself these same questions on a broader scale, as I think about the wonderful, dynamic human beings across our partner communities and about our work facilitating brave spaces to build the mindsets, skills, and energy needed to disrupt systemic oppression and create just, liberated schools for all of our children. These reflections bring up a recent conversation I had with a school leader in which she said “…equity is in everything”! Her words profoundly struck me because of their truth and simplicity. Equity IS in everything that we do, especially within our school communities. From hiring, instructional, and school culture practices to our professional learning opportunities and the ways we distribute resources, we have the choice to consciously consider equity in every decision we make, every action we take, and every belief we hold -in every facet of our lives, in and outside of school. One resource that is supporting me as I work to live into equity as a way of being is the Oregon Education Association’s Equity Pauses. Whether you are a caregiver, an educator, or a supporter of Kindred (or some combination therein!), I invite you to explore this resource to support you in advancing equity in your community.
I am also reading Street Data – along with a group of education leaders from across the country –as part of my ongoing equity journey. I am learning and growing from the powerful conversations we are having about how to use stories, artifacts, and observations from families, students, and educators, to transform our school communities. These words, in particular, resonate with me as I consider Kindred’s work ahead: “We don’t need improvement. We need an approach that fundamentally and radically transforms the experiences of children and families at the margins. This is the purpose of centering street data in a process of transformation.”
I welcome conversations about this and other developments in Kindred’s work, as well as around the texts and topics that are challenging and encouraging you on your equity journey.
Thank you for being part of our growing village!
Introducing Kindred’s Newest Partner Schools!
As our last few newsletters highlighted, Kindred launched an official Request for Proposals (RFP) process this year. We sought school partners for the 22-23 school year, and are thrilled to share that through this process we are welcoming five schools to the Kindred Community! We are excited to announce partnerships with Brent Elementary School, Capital City Public Charter School, Estrellitas Montessori, Lee Montessori, and Meridian Public Charter School and extend a warm welcome to their school communities!
“We hope that our partnership with Kindred will allow us to not only re-engage families but also continue to build trust and lasting relationships that continue to benefit and contribute to the success of the students we serve. We hope to learn from members of the cohort who are dealing with similar challenges and collaborate to identify solutions that apply across our educational models.”
– Lee Montessori
“I perceive that a partnership with Kindred will help us get closer to our vision both morally and practically. The partnership would be another named and visible commitment to equity, requiring us to capture and sustain commitment.”
– Brent ES
You may have noticed our new logo and look, paired with an updated Kindred Journey and Strategic plan, and you can now access that all (and more!) on our newly designed website. We invite you to read through our site and reach out any time with questions, partnership inquiries, or anything at all.
We are thrilled to be part of the 2022-23 Catalogue for Philanthropy class of critical local nonprofits! It’s an honor to be selected by community advocates across the region based on our impact and work. We are grateful to those who helped make this happen!
Kindred’s Executive Director, Zakiya, was featured in the Washington Business Journal! She spoke to Kindred’s work, including at the district level with Alexandria City Public Schools:
“In Alexandria, we’re working with 15 folks across the district to build their capacity to shift policies and practices within the school community. So we’re not at the school level having these conversations and we know that’s the way the work needs to shift so that we can do more outside of the DMV.”
Kindred staff and caregivers facilitated a session at the Student Centered Learning for Equity 2022 Convening hosted by Education Evolving. During the session, entitled Power Sharing and Co-Design with Caregivers, Kindred caregivers “shared how they’ve begun to answer the question ‘What is a liberatory education?’ and how they’ve taken action to:
- Shift relationships and power dynamics between and among leaders, staff, and caregivers based on race and socio-economic status;
- Co-design a vision for equity;
- Amplify equity-oriented parent-led teams.”
We want to thank Nelson and Sarah of the Capitol Hill Cluster schools for engaging in this session and so thoughtfully sharing your experiences. It was a great session with you!
The 2021-22 school year marked the first school year that Kindred hosted regular Planned Learning Community sessions with school leaders across our Kindred schools. Meeting one Friday per month, school leaders came to this space to share and dialogue around equity in their schools, gain insights and resources, and be in community with Kindred leaders across the District. We enjoyed these sessions so much that we continued with two optional sessions and are eager for next school year’s PLC sessions! Thank you to all the school leaders that joined.
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