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Training Type: Online Real Time

Total Hours: 15

Cost: Free

Scholarship: Yes

Contact Information:

Vicky Senni
(802) 229-4047

Teaching in Solidarity with Black Lives: Towards an equitable future Deb Norris

Special Topics:
Sponsor: Turtle Island Children's Center
Instructor: Vicky Senni

Spark Teacher Education Institute will facilitate online learning communities aimed at building curricula that centers Black lives and equity. With the goal of democratizing knowledge, the expertise will come from participants as they commit to study and reflection. We will co-construct curriculum and interrogate our pedagogy to inform our teaching practices. You will receive 15 hours of professional development credits (that includes meetings and independent work), with the possibility of continuing into the year for graduate credits. All sessions will meet via Zoom on July 15, 22, 29, and August 5th from 4-6pm. Contact us for sliding scale costs. If interested, please contact SparkTeacherEdVT@gmail.com for more information or fill out the registration via the link provided. Teaching in support of black lives at an early age requires us to be clear about our own thinking. This is essential because racism permeates society and is passed to children both implicitly and explicitly. How do we help young children to see everyone’s humanity as connected to their own lives? How do we help students to think critically about the world and strengthen their sense of justice and fairness? How do we extend our practice of caring and open ways of relating to one another? *Mikaela Simms is the co-director of the Spark Teacher Education Institute and the Diversity Coordinator for her school district. Mikaela is also another host of Indigo Radio and co-hosts In The Company of Black Women. *Vicky Senni is the director of an early childhood center and has been working on campaigns to support early childhood education for the last 8 years. Before that she taught science and nutrition through cooking and farming with children of all ages. *Lauren Perlstein is currently a kindergarten teacher in Springfield, VT and previously worked as a school librarian for a Pre-K-8 public school. She is a Spark alumni and one of the hosts on Indigo Radio.

Core Knowledge Area
  • Child Development
  • Families & Communities
  • How We Teach
  • What We Teach
  • Infant/Toddler
  • Preschool/PreK
  • School-Age
  • Instructors of Adults
  • Mentors/Coaches
  • Program Directors/Managers
Session Dates
Session Times
July 15, 2020
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
July 22, 2020
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
July 29, 2020
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
August 5, 2020
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Additional Information

Why Join this PD? Practitioners and scholars have been urging teachers to centralize equity and Black lives in pedagogy and curricula for over two decades. Gloria Ladson-Billings, a distinguished professor of education and critical race scholar, points to the historic education debt (not “achievement gap”) placed upon Black students which is reflected in their over-representation in punishment, expulsions, and special education. Teaching in support of Black lives and equity is more than just methods or adding a social justice lesson. Teachers need to investigate and challenge white supremacy in their pedagogy and curricula to move the center. Teaching in support of Black Lives is an opportunity for educators to connect a long history of racialized inequities to school based practices, curriculum, and broader structures of schooling. These sessions are organized to offer a place for questioning and active collaboration to forge new paths of inquiry and initiatives in your schools and broader communities. Spark Teacher Education Institute has been working with teachers for 18 years to centralize the experiences of working people, women, and people of color, in order to teach against exploitation and build an equitable world for all. Spark Teacher Education Institute was started by Janaki Natarajan and offers teacher certification in Social Justice Education. Teachers learn the social justice pedagogy and political economy. Participants work side-by-side for an entire year with a skilled mentor teacher, learning to integrate social justice and equity content into the mainstream curriculum. The program strives to instill an understanding of self and others in conjunction with the development of skills, knowledge, critical thinking and compassion required for creating an equitable and engaging learning environment for all learners.