Communicating about racial equity in a charged environment

A toolkit for challenging conversations about racial equity

The Need

Conversations around racial equity with students, staff, families, and communities of all identities can be challenging. Where should district leaders start?

All around the U.S. and in Oregon, conversations are happening around racial equity in practice in schools. Being responsive and setting clear expectations for what students will experience in the classroom can be beneficial to relationships in the school community. Also, it’s crucial that students, educators, and staff feel supported in their work towards racial equity through tensions that may arise. Above all, the goal is to bridge divides and ensure that every student feels welcome and a sense of belonging at school so they can reach their full potential.

The Resource

The Communicating About Racial Equity in a Charged Environment toolkit provides approaches, worksheets, and communications strategies designed to move conversations from opposition to mutual support. The toolkit includes:

  • School district communications & engagement planning worksheet
  • Effective approaches to challenging conversations
  • Sample messages related to racial equity
  • Sample letter to the school community or school board
  • Tips for media requests
  • Scenario recommendations for advancing racial equity
  • Additional resources

Region 16 Comprehensive Center communications strategist Jenni Kotting, PhD worked with the Oregon Department of Education and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators to develop this toolkit. 

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