Teacher’s Toolkit

Toolkit: Leirdré Galloway’s Focus on Inclusivity and Diversity

Leirdré Galloway is a social studies teacher at Patuxent Valley Middle School in Howard County and a member of the Howard County Education Association.

What mirrors can I provide? As educators, we are always uplift­ing our children, but nurturing ourselves and each other is just as important. How can I support and uplift the school community? What role can I play and what can I do to uplift and encourage my fellow ed­ucators? What can we do to honor each other with an open heart?

Embrace the dynamics of inclusivity I believe that advo­cating for and applying inclusive concepts can lead to infusing di­versity into our recruiting, hiring, and retention processes, our cur­riculum and intradepartmental development, and administrative structures, policies, and practices. Start by being present in school committees that give you the ability to apply your lens of equity in supporting student and staff voices.

Include diverse stories in your math word problems, geography cultural sections, and scientific hypotheses that promote insight and connect with experiences that will lead to students and staff obtaining greater awareness and appreciation of the unique­ness of others. Collaborate with English classes to develop student designed and facilitated book critiques, book reviews, book talks, and book selections.

Understand your school com­munity What does equity look like in your school? What committees are in your school? Do you have a diversity, equity, and inclusion liaison? What level of equity assurance is there in your school as it applies to school culture, events, activities, and professional learning? How are the educators in your school creating personal connections with people from different back­grounds? Know your school’s mission and vision statement. Do they match with the values held by the students and educators in the community?

Know your students I am pas­sionate about my students’ suc­cess and work hard to serve the needs of all students, regardless of background, identity, or ability. I start by learning about the students whose lives I touch daily because they learn best when they feel safe, seen, and included. A culture of belonging is crucial for student and staff success.

Use resources to walk your walk Grants are an excellent resource. MSEA grant programs provide opportunities for members to focus on racial and social justice issues. For inclusion to truly work, students need to witness diversity in their classrooms and among their educators. My grant sought support from MSEA to make this happen and empow­ered student voice to promote the need for educator diversity.

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