Having the Courage to Lead Difficult Conversations

Session notes from "Having the Courage to Lead Difficult Conversations," presented by Shanna Spickard.

What was the speaker’s main message?

Dr. Spickard shared a number of engaging and thought-provoking activities and “experiences” meant to open up dialogue to begin or continue the critically important conversations around race.

What is one strategy that you will implement immediately?

The one strategy that I thought would be a great one to implement with my staff is the Lens Experience activity. With this activity, an individual becomes aware of their lens.

What is one strategy that will help you with instructional leadership?

I can not say enough about the Lens Experience. Through 25 questions and 25 boxes to color, a person is able to see how much experience they have with diversity. Awareness of how “colorful” your experiences are is important because our experiences shape us and can impact how we interact with others.

What is one idea that you want to learn more about?

I want to learn more about the 21-day Equity Challenge.

What are three resources you will check out?

Three books that I will check out are Cultivating Genius, Coaching for Equity, and Critical Media Pedagogy.

I can’t wait to tell my teachers about this idea:

I can not wait to tell my teachers about the equity framework.

What are some relevant or surprising stats you learned?

I was surprised by the number of adults in my room that were left seated when we did the activity where we stood up once Dr. Spickard named the grade level that we were in when we had our first teacher of color. She went from preschool up to graduate school naming each grade level. Many people stood up once she said graduate school. Some were left seated until she said “never.”

Notes by Aqila Malpass, Assistant Principal of Rocky Ridge Elementary School in Hoover, Alabama.