Two “alumni” of Partners in School Innovation, along with a third colleague, have recently published a book that will help strengthen your work for educational equity. Identity Safe Classrooms, Grades 6-12 is the second half of a two-volume set. The new book recommends ways for educators to embrace students’ identity as an asset, not a barrier, for school success.
The opening paragraph of the book gives you a sense of how powerful it is:
When people hear the term identity safety, they may first think of it as a way to protect themselves from identity theft. When you are subject to identity theft, you lose control over your money and cannot function as you usually do. It is a scary proposition; simply ask anyone who has experienced it. Now, imagine if your actual identity is stolen from you on a psychic/emotional level. Your sense of self—of who you think you are—feels compromised. Your identity is negatively impacted or stereotyped. You are judged as inferior, or you simply feel that you are not allowed to be yourself. Suddenly, identity safety takes on a whole new meaning. What we mean by identity safety encompasses the sense that who you are matters. In an identity safe environment, you are not invisible and do not have to leave part of yourself at the door to feel a sense of belonging. You can be yourself, just the way you are, and thrive in the world.
The authors are Becki Cohn-Vargas, a now-retired principal whom Partners worked with in the early 1990s; Alexandrea Kahn, who was a school improvement partner for us from 2005 to 2008 and is now a senior director of academic programs at Alder Graduate School of Education in the Bay Area; and Amy Epstein, who is the Executive Director of Data, Assessment, and Tiered Support for Leadership Public Schools.
To order the book, click here.