It’s something that exists, but shouldn’t. There is a wide achievement gap between white and students of color. Statistics show that in the past decade, “at the end of the 12th grade the average black or Latino student performs at the same level as the average white 8th grader.” STC E.L. Haynes Public Charter School aims to change that.

In their newsletter, the school mentioned a program they spearheaded called Race and Equity in Education. Administrators and teachers gather together every summer and November for mandatory training sessions that tackle the issues of universal racism. In these trainings, they develop their abilities to mold their “will, skill, and courage” to confront the issue.

Haynes Elementary School Principal Michelle Molitor leads in the school’s efforts. “As a woman of color, I’ve experienced racism in education all my life, but didn’t have the words to express myself. Developing a shared vocabulary and seeing how effective that can be was a powerful catalyst in deciding to bring race and equity work to E.L. Haynes,” she says.

Dean of Culture Robert Sapp, believes this initiative will hold extraordinary value for educators especially when working with students across difference.” After completing 14 workshops over the years, he remarks “REES impacts everything I do. Taking the time to have conversations that are not happening elsewhere in society – teaching kids how to listen and value different opinions – these lessons are critical in developing well rounded citizens of the world.”