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 Strengthening Student Support Through Equity

In this political climate and distance learning or hybrid environment, educators may feel like they don't have the language or words to connect with their students and with each other on current events.  

Minneapolis Public Schools Manager of Counseling Services Derek Francis says that’s understandable, but school staff members need to provide safe spaces for children to process.   

“This isn’t political; this is human,” Francis explained. “Regardless of who’s our nation’s leader, we have to treat each other with respect and love. That’s part of our values, that everyone feels welcome.” 

Francis will be leading a two-part series through the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) starting this week to help educators better know themselves and their students.  

“National and local leaders may change, but our charge to support every student in school and in life does not,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. “At SDCOE we’re working to leverage opportunities to bring relevant, equity-based learning to our local educators to make a difference now and in the future.” 

Francis specializes in helping students and staff build trusting cross-cultural relationships. Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, he led a webinar for over 20,000 counselors and educators titled, Proactive School Counseling After a Major Racial Incident. He also wrote the blog, This Is Not A Fire Drill – Supporting Students after George Floyd.  

The series led by Francis will be Nov. 10 and 19 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. The virtual series will have interactive learning opportunities with strategies that educators can use immediately.  

“The first session focuses on better understanding yourself; how do you handle these uncomfortable conversations about racism and bias,” Francis explained. “The second session is about students and how they come to learn about their own identify.” 

The cost is $25 to attend. Learn more and register