Roots ConnectED, an organization born out of a decade of practice at Community Roots Charter School, shares best practices in inclusion and integration through workshops, institutes, and coaching offered to schools in NYC and around the country. Community Roots is a progressive K-8 intentionally diverse and inclusive school model based out of Brooklyn, NY. It approaches its project-based curriculum with an anti-bias lens and works hard to incorporate developmentally appropriate social justice concepts taught from K-8th grade for a diverse group of learners.
Diverse Inclusive Collaborative
In Fort Greene, Brooklyn, we’ve been learning real life, hands-on lessons about what it takes to build an integrated and inclusive school. Since opening Community Roots Charter School in 2006, we’ve learned that school integration is not a one-time fix and that merely desegregating is not enough. Roots ConnectED believes that to move from desegregation to integration, schools must focus on students, families and staff by: 1) Building a curriculum that gives students of all ages entry points for discussing issues related to equity, including (but not limited to) race, class, and ability; and engage students in intentional community building across lines of difference; 2) Engaging families in meaningful family programming that builds community; and 3) Creating professional learning and other opportunities for staff to examine their own biases in order to better and more equitably educate all students.
The recent discourse around education in our nation is finally bringing up questions of equity and revealing how segregated our schools are. While efforts have been made to begin to desegregate schools, we feel this is just the first step towards authentic integration and ultimately, unity in diversity.
RootsConnected aims to bring over a decade of learning to a wider audience. Educators, school leaders, and policy makers often ask us how we do what we do. Through a number of different options, we have created opportunities to share the lessons learned and practices honed in over a decade of intentional practice.
Accordingly, Roots ConnectED provides a range of services and supports for school communities:
Coaching: Deeper individualized work with a particular school or district to focus on one area of practice. Consulting includes creating and implementing work plans with members of leadership teams, professional development, and support with structures and procedures.
Institutes: 1-3 day intensive trainings designed to share school integration and inclusion practices with working teams from a particular school site. Institutes include classroom observations, educator panel discussions, and consultancies for group planning.
Workshops: Stand alone educational experiences including a range of topics and offering concrete tools and examples that can be directly applied to participants’ own school communities. Workshops include specific curricular examples, hands-on activities, and connection to practice.