Equity Is Not an Add-on: Making DEI a Priority in Schools

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Listen and learn : Panel

Dr. Desiree Alexander  
Joquetta Johnson  
Melody McAllister  
Dr. Tiffanye McCoy-Thomas  
Ike Ramos  

Education is a civil rights issue with unique, evolving implications as demonstrated by 2020's remote learning needs. In order to pursue equity in our work, we must look inward and embark on courageous conversations. This discussion will focus on defining equity, exploring our "why" and provide resources for self-reflection.

Audience: Principals/head teachers, Professional developers, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Equity & inclusion
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
For Educators:
  • Demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

This panel will model a constructive discussion about race and equity in our education system so that participants can engage in similar courageous conversations with their colleagues and peers. The objective of this panel is to both elevate diverse voices from different areas of educational technology and to provide an opportunity for participants to ask hard questions and reflect on their own experiences.

Before we can dismantle unjust structures and systems, we must lead from the inside out by mitigating, probing, and unpacking our own bias. Attendees will engage in reflective activities that will foster an awareness of how to check their blind spots and sharpen their equity vision.

Each of the panelists has a unique perspective and story about why they’ve committed to equity work, and have relied on pedagogical frameworks and resources such as Equity Literacy Institute to guide them.

Participants will feel empowered to engage in courageous conversations with their colleagues and students, and will leave the panel with resources that can support them.


5 minutes: Intros

5 minutes: “What is your why” activity. Attendees will be led through a short reflection exercise that encourages them to think about why this work is important to them, and ultimately, for their students.

30-25 minutes: The panel will share firsthand experiences and research surrounding equity, color braveness, and strategies for confronting biases. The moderator will have a list of predetermined discussion points and questions, but will allow for free-flowing conversation among the panelists.

10 minutes: Open Q/A

5 minutes: Closing

Supporting research

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Dr. Desiree Alexander, Educator Alexander Consulting, LLC

Dr. Desiree Alexander is an award-winning, multi-degreed educator. She is Founder CEO of Educator Alexander Consulting, LLC. She holds various teaching, administrative and technology certifications, including IC3 certification, Google Certified Trainer and Innovator, and Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer and Expert. She is a 2021 Texas Computer Education Association Featured Thought Leader, 2020 International Society for Technology in Education Featured Voice, 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference Featured Presenter, 2019 Customer Commitment Award Honoree from Better Business Bureau, 2017 Young Professional Initiative 40 Under 40 Awards Honoree, 2017 Center for Digital Education Top 30 Technologists, Transformers & Trailblazers. Learn more:

Joquetta Johnson, Baltimore Public Schools
Melody McAllister, Anchorage STrEaM Academy
Dr. Tiffanye McCoy-Thomas, East Baton Rouge School System
Ike Ramos, Nearpod

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