San Bernardino County Education Leaders Attend Conference to Address Inequities and Removal of Barriers for BIPOC Students, Parents and Staff

From left: Ayesha Brooks, Director of MTSS, Fontana Unified School District; Dr. Shelley C-Bradford, Ethnic Social Diversity Lead & Teacher, Sierra High School; Dr. Ayanna Balogun, Equity Lead, Rialto Unified School District. Photo credit: Los Angeles Education Partnership. 

Approximately 250 Southern California education leaders attended the first Learn.Lead.Liberate conference, and there were 16 education leaders from San Bernardino County, representing the following schools: New Designs Charter, Provisional Accelerated Learning Charter Academy, Ontario Charter, Myers Elementary, Sierra High School, PAL Charter Academy.

Creating education environments that work to eliminate inequity and injustice for students, parents, and staff was the conference’s main focus. These local leaders discussed how to remove barriers to foster communities that support and honor BIPOC individuals through evidence-based educational practices that treat students’ differences and experiences outside of school as assets, so they can be valued and learn, regardless of socio-economic or ethnic background.  

“The conference has been amazing, and the guest speakers are so knowledgeable on their areas”, said Dr. Shelley C-Bradford, Ethnic Social Diversity Lead & Teacher, Sierra High School, San Bernardino City Unified School District. “As our children change, we need to change with them; we can’t just stay the same. It’s important to keep our children engaged if we want them to learn the content and apply it to their life. Literacy means freedom.”

The 21st Century California School Leadership Academy (21CSLA) and the Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) hosted the conference. LAEP is the Regional Academy providing 21CSLA programming in Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.

“Our aim is for this forum to bring these leaders together to network and share information about what is working in their communities,” said Michele Broadnax, President and CEO, Los Angeles Education Partnership. “We want to emphasize that these leaders don’t need to do this alone, as 21CSLA and LAEP are here to support them. We see and appreciate the dedication these educators have to this important work.”

Zaretta Hammond, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, gave the keynote address. She is a curriculum developer, consultant, and coach who has spent the past 15 years translating the latest research and teacher experiences on equity, literacy, and culturally responsive teaching into practical tools and strategies. Hammond started her career in the classroom, where she began to understand how important literacy was to equity, and how neuroscience and culture should inform our instructional practice. 

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