Today’s blog post is by Communities In Schools Associate Director of Talent Development, Patti Aldaz-Carrasco.
As our communities and schools continue to diversify and grow, so must our awareness and understanding of the structural racism barriers that continue to undermine school achievement for many of the students we serve. More than 70 percent of the students served by Communities In Schools are black or Hispanic. Regardless of the challenges within any social or political arena – whether the focus is education, health care, foster care or juvenile justice – black and Hispanic youth are significantly overrepresented.
In the spring of 2011, Communities In Schools launched the Site Coordinator Certification Program, (SCCP). The SCCP was created to increase the knowledge and professionalism of those individuals with the most direct impact on youth, the site coordinators. It is a learning path that provides substantive, relevant and useful information and resources.
One of the SCCP courses, Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps Using the Communities In Schools Model, presents a structural framework for understanding how race impacts our students and their chance at success. This course is designed to build awareness and understanding of the structural racism barriers that continue to undermine school achievement for many students of color. It examines the barriers and introduces learners to the achievement gap. Videos and reading materials help learners understand the relationship between structural racism, the achievement gap and the mission of Communities In Schools.
The course also provides learners with an opportunity to engage one another in a discussion around the implications of this research on their day-to-day work. It identifies the risk and protective factors that have been proven to mitigate barriers and help move the needle on the achievement gap, as presented by Jennifer Durham, Ph.D., a Robert H.B. Baldwin Program Fellow, in her paper Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps (2007).
Communities In Schools is committed to expanding race equity training, and is working towards creating further opportunities for engagement on this critical topic. For now, the SCCP course is one way our network can actively promote the exchange of information, ideas and best practices in race equity.