Who Do You Choose to Be?: Leading from a Culturally, Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Lens

Session notes from “Who Do You Choose to Be?” led by Mina Jo Blazy and Carry Jo Little.

What were the speaker’s main messages?

We all have different perspectives that we bring to each situation and contributes to our implicit biases and assumptions we make. Sitting in the discomfort and challenging what we have learned, being open to unlearn, and relearn will increase our responsiveness and cultural competency.

What was the speaker’s best quote?

  • You change the journey of a child or determine the future journey for a child based on the teacher and class you put them in.
  • The implicit biases brought to the table matter!

What were the top ideas from the session?

  • Implicit bias occurs automatically and unintentionally. It can be a barrier to who we hire and who we build into our systems with students.
  • We cannot assume that we are all the same. In Western Culture, we have a tendency to imprint what “we know” onto all other settings and cultures. This is a miss!
  • Practice does not make perfect, it makes proficient. Cultural proficiency takes continued focus and intentional trying.

What is one idea you’d like to learn more about? 

Cultural proficiency continuum: Where am I? Where is our school? What can I learn from it? How can I use it to build staff capacity and self-awareness?

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

Who has a seat at the table? Where is my bias putting up unintentional barriers for students (and others)?

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

(From Alvin Toffler): “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Notes by Jess Hutchison, principal of Avoca West School, Glenview, Illinois.