PMSP partners have long asked for access to professional development and consulting expertise with a focus on equity issues, contexts, and perspectives unique to STEM. By searching, we found that our region contained exceptional equity partners targeting communities of color, girls, youth with disabilities, youth experiencing poverty and exceptional science and/or math pedagogical (how students learn science and/or math) experts. However, professional development experiences that brought together equity and STEM did not exist in the region and - when we looked nationally - the opportunities were very limited, very expensive and only offered brief trainings. We know from the research that 1-day or 2-day PD without ongoing partnership and support does not impact practice. We thus brought regional equity experts and STEM experts together to co-create training modules focused on building allies*.
We have just wrapped up hosting a four-part series of ally equity workshops. Topics included:
- Inclusive Curriculum - affirm student identities by designing curriculum that is relevant and responsive to students' lives and cultures
- Instructional Practices for STEM Equity - develop caring relationships, communicate high expectations, and create inclusive environments
- Equitable Discourse in STEM - practices that support ALL students engaging in productive STEM talk
- Implicit Bias and Microaggressions in STEM - what they are, why they matter in STEM, and how to interrupt them
Partners from 29 organizations participated in 1 or more workshops (198 combined PD hours):
AKA Science-Impact NW <> Beaverton School District <> Business Education Compact <> Centennial School District <> City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services <> CLASS Academy <> Clean Water Services <> Confluence Environmental Center <> Ecology in Classrooms & Outdoors <> Envision Learning Partners/Stanford University <> Forth <> Girls Build <> Hoyt Arboretum <> Johnson Creek Watershed Council <> Multnomah Educational Service District <> MESD Outdoor School <> MIKE <> North Clackamas School District <> NW Regional Outdoor School <> OHSU <> OMSI <> OSU Extension Service/4-H Youth Development <> Portland Community College <> Portland Public Schools <> SHINE-Impact NW <> STEM Beyond School <> Trash for Peace <> Tualatin Riverkeepers <> Wind & Oar Boat School
The workshops have received highly positive reviews.
*Ally - Someone who makes the commitment and effort to recognize their privilege (based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc.) and work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit in concrete ways. (Center for the Study of Social Policy)