Beyond DEI: Connection and Empowerment
to Support All Students 

July 19, 20, 26, 27
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
WSWHE BOCES, Ballard Road Conference Center

$125 per person per session/$400 for the series

24 hours CTLE

Facilitator: Common Thread Consulting

Equitable, engaging and effective schools must be built on the principles of connection and empowerment. Authentic equity requires strong alignment throughout classrooms, buildings &  the surrounding community. Wholesale programs may provide short term benefits, but will not lead to deep systemic cultural changes that are most meaningful to students, families & communities that have historically existed at the margins of inclusion & success.  District and building leaders, classroom teachers, PPS personnel, counselors, paraprofessionals, students, families and community members must work together to connect with, empower and support one another to achieve equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Common Thread and CASDA will facilitate a four-part summer series that will help leaders and educators create inclusive and equitable protocols to build beliefs, policies and practices grounded in connection and empowerment.  Ultimately, the goal is to work towards building humanizing school communities in which all partners, but especially students, feel a sense of connection and are able to learn, grow and thrive. 


Session 1: Exploring the Intersection between Data, Interpersonal Skill & Capacity, and Key Equity Principles 
Click here to register for Session 1 only

Many districts have adopted DEI policies and made initial attempts to promote more equitable outcomes for marginalized students. Once these initial steps have been taken, many educators ask “what’s next?” 


This session will help school leaders and equity-focused educators examine three questions:

  1. What quantitative and qualitative data is necessary to identify inequities and develop a process that includes voices from stakeholders throughout the district and community to ensure that no stone is left unturned in educational equity efforts?

  2. What skills, mindsets and dispositions do I need to have in order meet the needs of the equity goals that have been established?  Also, how do I ensure that I am working in service of those most affected by systemic issues while also collectively working towards local & state mandates?

  3. How do I apply equity principles while carrying out all of my duties and responsibilities as an educator?


Session 2: From Collaboration to Connection  
Click here to register for Session 2 only

Equitable school improvement cannot be sustained without authentic collaboration. This session will examine how traditional, top-down managerial approaches can undermine equity work by creating confusion while leaving powerful, essential stakeholders on the sidelines. 


  • Administrators will utilize research-backed tools to distribute leadership in ways that align with their equity goals and reflect the stakeholders in their communities.  

  • Those who have the most direct connection to students will explore tools and strategies to help all educators build authentic relationships with students that support meaningful learning while simultaneously improving school culture. 


Session 3: Empowerment & Agency
Click here to register for Session 3 only

Students, families and the surrounding community must center and ground any authentic equity effort. Too often the voices of those most affected by inequity are often ignored in consequential conversations. This session will explore strategies to move beyond student, family and community voice initiatives to cultivate agency and empowerment amongst all stakeholders.  


Participants will explore the equitable collaboration framework outlined in Ann Ishimaru’s “Just Schools” and draw upon student empowerment research from Ashley D. Dominguez to help participants develop a more nuanced understanding of the power dynamics that often shape interactions between schools, students, families and communities. This understanding will lead to the development of strategies that help us move beyond superficial “involvement” toward authentic collective decision making. 


Session 4: We Are All In This Together

Click here to register for Session 4 only

This session will serve as the capstone of the four-day series. Teams will be tasked with sharing a process or product that can be used to promote equity amongst a department, grade level team, building, district or community.  Groups will have time to collaborate, connect and create a process that can be modified to meet the specific needs as defined by the established groups.  We will end with a share out, which will include:


  • An opportunity to apply critical equity principles using processes developed over the previous three sessions.

  • An opportunity to build an equity action plan that can be implemented to impact the 2022-2023 school year.

  • Access to an online space to store, modify and continuously collaborate on products and processes to advance equity throughout amongst like-minded equity practitioners.