Equity Practitioner’s Network: Cohort #2

Overview: The Equity Practitioner’s Network is a cohort-model professional learning opportunity for Vermont educational communities. Educators from around the state participated in Cohort 1. You can read more about that Cohort and how the Equity Practitioner’s Network fits within the VPA’s overall Equity Initiative Here. This webpage is dedicated to the launch of Cohort #2 which will run from August 2021 to June 2023.

Objectives for the Equity Practitioner’s Network: Cohort 2: 

  • To increase equity fluency among participants.
    • Equity fluency is defined as a raised critical consciousness (awareness) to the way in which educational institutions perpetuate marginalization for underrepresented populations. Equity fluency also includes the development of skills and strategies to take effective action in building more inclusive and equitable educational communities.
  • To increase understanding of the systemic nature of oppression and the importance of systemic approaches to change in educational communities.

Measures of Success:

  • Pre and post self-assessment of equity fluency and actionable equity skills each year by each participant
  • A measure of success will be the overall percentage rate of implementation for cohort 2 participants’ shared goals and projects during year two. In other words, how many of the given teams were able to achieve their stated equity goals by the end of the year two 

Participation/Selection:

  • Vermont public school educators in teams of 3 each for a total of 30 participants. We are open to student leaders and/or board members applying as part of a given team of 3.
  • Applicant teams will be given some preference from participating districts/schools from Cohort 1.
  • Members of applicant teams should have a demonstrated commitment to equity and antiracism work, as evidenced by membership on a school or district equity team/committee, or otherwise directly related demonstrated commitment to equity leadership. The program has been developed to support participants who are not at the very beginning of their equity work, nor is it developed for those with significant longstanding experience and expertise. 

Application Process:

  • April 14th, Application Process Opened
  • June 4th, Application Process Closed
  • July 15th, Participants for Cohort 2 Announced

Cost to Participants

  • $900 per participant, per year. Total $1,800 for 60 hours of professional learning over two years
  • If application/participation is inhibited by financial hardship for a given applicant team/school, please contact mmcraith@vpaonline.org

Outline of Two-Year Schedule

Estimated, 30 hours of professional learning each year, 60 hours total

School Year 2021-22

  • Year 1 will have 30 hours of professional learning: an orientation, 2 half day equity literacy sessions, and 10, 90 minute online sessions that will combine new content and processing/collaboration time. Participants should plan on around at least five additional hours of asynchronous learning. The learning in Year 1 will be anchored by Dr. Wendi Williams
  • Year 1 topics may include but are not limited to: Equity Literacy–Essentials, White Supremacy Culture, Whiteness, and Antiracism.
    • NOTE, we expect online sessions to take place on Thursdays, beginning at 3:15pm for the most part. There may be additional opportunities for in-person learning but that will be determined among the cohort itself. 
    • Aug, Initial Orientation, One 60 minute online session
    • Sept, Two half day learning sessions
    • Oct,  90 minute online session
    • Nov, 90 minute online session
    • Dec, 90 minute online session
    • Jan, 90 minute online session
    • Feb, 90 minute online session
    • March, 90 minute online session
    • April, 90 minute online session 
    • May, 90 minute online session
    • June, 90 minute online session

School Year 2022-23

  • Year 2 will have 30 hours of professional learning: Teams will be expected to share specific equity goals and projects that they will be implementing in their given school systems during the 2022-23 school year. Examples might include but are not limited to, conducting an equity audit, working to have the board adopt or improve an equity policy, developing or improving an equity team, creating student affinity spaces, and/or curriculum leadership. Year 2, participants will have an opportunity to gather in early August at the VPA Leadership Academy for shared learning, and fourteen, 90 minute online sessions that will again combine new content and processing/collaboration time. Participants should again plan on around at least five additional hours of asynchronous learning.
  • Year 2 topics will include: Accountability, Advocacy, Tools, Power and Student Leadership.
    • NOTE, we expect online sessions to take place on Thursdays, beginning at 3:15pm for the most part. There may be additional opportunities for in-person learning but that will be determined among the cohort itself. 
    • August, VPA Leadership Academy half-day session
    • Sept, 90 minute online session
    • Oct,   90 minute online sessions
    • Nov,  90 minute online session
    • Dec,  90 minute online session
    • Jan,   90 minute online sessions 
    • Feb,   90 minute online session
    • March, 90 minute online session
    • April, 90 minute online session 
    • May, 90 minute online session
    • June, 90 minute online session

Roles in the Equity Practitioner’s Network

  • Cohort 2 Participants: 30 public school educators will be selected in June of 2021 to participate in the two year long commitment to the EPN-Cohort 2. Participants will be expected to join in groups of 3 from their given school or district. Participants will be expected to attend all (with typical exceptions made) sessions, agree to the EPN statement of commitment, and work to implement an equity goal/project in the 2022-23 school year.
  • Cohort 1 Participants: The 30 public school educators who participated in Cohort 1 are invited to sign up to volunteer as collaborators. This will mean being on an email/contact list for possible help in facilitating small groups, one-to-one soundboard coaching, and staying up-to-date on any relevant network wide communications/actions. 
  • Planning Team Advisors: The planning team advisors are the primary decision making group for the EPN. They are the primary deciders on content, sequence, mode of learning, and overall direction of the Equity Practitioner’s Network. They will provide direction to the implementation team and the related VPA staff for operationalizing plans and objectives. The Planning Team will have the following membership, up to two student equity leaders, two community equity leaders, one cohort EPN participant member, one VPA Executive Committee member, one representative from Outright Vermont, and one representative from the VT-NEA. The Planning Team also will have open seats for the VPA’s affinity space participants. Advisors are asked to make at least a one year commitment and participate in as many of the EPN offerings as possible and will serve as the primary voices in the selection process for cohorts. 
    • Current Planning Team Advisors
      • Evelyn Monje (Student Leader, Winooski Students for Anti-Racism)
      • Mikaela Simms (Diversity Coordinator for WSESU)
      • Mara Iverson (Director of Education, Outright VT)
      • Lisa Ryan (Director of Domestic Violence Response Systems)
      • Jamilah Vogel (EPN Cohort 1 Representative, St. Albans City School Counselor)
      • Lara Slesar (VT-NEA Membership Organizer)
  • Implementation Team Member: In 2020-21, the implementation team shifted from the primary decision makers on the direction and scope of the Equity Practitioner’s Network to providing more operational support. This team is made up of VPA staff, a representative of the VPA Executive Committee and Bay & Paul consultants. The current makeup of this group includes: Kathleen Kesson (B&P Foundation), Erica McLaughlin (VPA EC Representative, Randolph Elementary Principal), Mallori Longevin (VPA Staff), Mike McRaith (VPA Staff)
  • VPA Assistant Executive Director: The Assistant Executive Director will serve as the primary organizer of the EPN teams and participants. This will include setting calendar invites, email reminders, taking notes, communicating agendas, setting up related memoranda of understandings, serving as host and facilitator as needed, and as the primary point of contact for fundraising and grant writing. This role will also provide communication and organizational support of the fiscal agent side of the work and provide updates of the program to the VPA Executive Director and VPA Executive Committee. 

Questions should be directed to Mike McRaith, VPA Assistant Executive Director at mmcraith@vpaonline.org