Educational Equity Newsletter – March 11, 2021
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Navigating tough decisions equitably and with heart
As additional school systems, networks, and education organizations reopen, we hear that leaders are holding many tensions in their decision-making:
- Deep empathy for teachers, staff, and other leaders nervous about returning to school full-time in pandemic, and a desire to address learning loss and get back to in-person instruction.
- Desire to get back to school as we knew it, while remembering that pre-pandemic schools still had major flaws that didn’t serve every kid well—especially Black, Indigenous, and other students of color, as well as students with disabilities.
- Responsibility to serve and meet the needs of all students, while juggling limited resources, which means making tradeoffs around who to serve deeply.
- Knowing that students are recovering from loss, trauma, and social isolation and need care and support socio-emotionally, while understanding that schools are typically less resourced and not held accountable to outcomes in these areas.
In the coming months, many of us will have to navigate very tough decisions about resourcing, staffing, and prioritization. These challenges have no easy answers, but they can also open up new possibilities. Use participatory decision-making best practices to explore new possibilities, strengthen outcomes, and make sure your team feels included in the process.
How you get there matters.
If your team members don’t trust the process, they might not trust the decision (even if it’s favorable to them).
Use a codified, structured approach to clarify process, timeline, and decision rights for high-stakes decisions.
Our FAIR Process guide is a great place to get started.
Make your thinking explicit and explain the “why.”
Don’t assume people understand where you’re coming from or why one option was untenable or an obvious choice, especially if they don’t agree. Share as much of the why (including key information about the context) as you can.
Make room for those most impacted to suggest mitigations, especially across power or identity differences.
If you know that a decision is going to adversely impact some staff or teams, especially those with less positional power or marginalized identities (whether BIPOC staff, disabled staff, LGBTQIA+ staff, or others), create space for those most impacted to suggest mitigations or supports that would make the decision more appealing or feasible.
Schedule a debrief to talk through lessons learned to influence future decisions.
If people don’t agree with where you’ve landed, scheduling a candid debrief to hear feedback and learn from challenges a few months after the decision was made can help people feel like they will continue to be heard. It also signals that you’re willing to learn from and revisit decisions.
Navigating Tough Decisions Equitably and With Heart
Thursday, March 25 at 4:30pm ET
Rather than new content, this training will be a deep-dive and application of the topics above, with time for practice, feedback, and related questions. We’ll also be sending optional pre-work to make the most of this time. Register here.
And, save the date for our upcoming workshops on April 29 and May 20 at 4pm ET. Registration links to come.
Sign up for a training today!
Whether you are looking for a training on project management, support as a manager who identifies as Black, Indigenous, and/or Person of Color (BIPOC), or an overview of the basics of people managing, we have something for you. Check out our latest training offerings here.
Need more support?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about our coaching and training services for leaders in the education sector. We look forward to hearing from you!