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Department of Racial Equity Advancement

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About DREA

You belong in the movement to achieve educational and racial equity in Seattle Public Schools, even if you are just beginning your antiracism journey.

The Department of Racial Equity Advancement (DREA) is a capacity building department that supports racial equity leadership development across individuals, teams, and departments – both in school buildings and at Central Office.

Our collective work is to operationalize the commitments laid out in Board Policy 0030: Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity in alignment with our Seattle Excellence Strategic Plan.

Getting Connected to DREA

There are many ways to get connected and supported in your racial equity work.

Are you a…?

Racial Equity Teams (RETs) are key levers of mobilizing anti-racist impacts across the district and are comprised of a broad coalition of school staff at building sites that are tasked with advancing Board Policy 0030.

DREA staffs three Specialists, or coaches, dedicated to supporting RETs in their anti-racist systems change work, along with a Program Manager to ensure the progress, alignment and positive outcomes of RET work. DREA programmatic supports available to RETs are:

  • Leadership Coaching – to support the capacity of RETs as anti-racist leaders in their schools.
  • Action Plan & Racial Equity Analysis Coaching – to support the effectiveness and impact of RET work.
  • Professional Development – through Institutes and Communities of Practice to support the cultivation of anti-racist skills amongst RET members.

Existing, district-sponsored teams can find a plethora of resources on the Racial Equity Teams Schoology group.

Specific questions can be directed to your DREA coach and programmatic questions can be sent to Nichole Coates, DREA Program Manager, at nacoates@seattleschools.org.

The body that handles applications for new district-sponsored RETs is known as the Partnership Committee, a convening of SPS and SEA.

The purpose of the committee is to ensure racial equity in our educational system, unapologetically address the needs of students of color who are furthest from educational justice, and to undo the legacies of racism in our educational system, consistent with Board Policy 0030.

If you have questions for the Partnership Committee, or are interested in applying to become a district-sponsored RET, you can contact them at partnershipcommittee@seattleschools.org.

The support of building administrators for SPS school-based Racial Equity Teams is crucial for alignment with the SPS Strategic Plan of supporting Students of Color who are furthest away from educational justice.

If you are an administrator with questions about DREA, Racial Equity Teams, or your school’s racial equity work, please contact Nichole Coates, DREA Program Manager, at nacoates@seattleschools.org.

As a commitment to this crucial work, DREA is currently working in collaboration with SPS partners to develop and launch racial equity coaching supports designed specifically for building administrators.

Please stay tuned for program updates here. This program has not launched and is still in development, but if you have questions, please contact:

Nichole Coates
DREA Program Manager
nacoates@seattleschools.org

DREA is currently working to develop and launch the Central Office Racial Equity (CORE) team program to build capacity for racial equity leadership at Central Office.

CORE teams will operate similar to Racial Equity Teams in schools. CORE teams will create a through-line by strengthening the voices and participation of teachers, families, and community within Central Office to inform policies, practices and procedures.

Please stay tuned for program updates here, and if you have questions, please contact:

Dr. Conrad Webster
DREA Advisor
ckwebster@seattleschools.org

Nichole Coates
DREA Program Manager
nacoates@seattleschools.org

Manal Al-ansi
DREA Director
maalansi@seattleschools.org

DREA will be working to build racial equity leadership capacity at Central Office through the launch of the CORE team program (see the tab above).

Outside of CORE teams, DREA has worked strategically in partnership with a number of Central Office departments, divisions, and individuals. If you are seeking racial equity support and/or partnership, please contact the Nichole Coates, DREA Program Manager, at nacoates@seattleschools.org

We all have a responsibility to liberate ourselves and one another from the harmful, historical legacies of racism and white supremacy. You are seen and valued in our collective efforts to serve our vibrant and diverse Seattle community with an antiracist school system that embodies justice, healing, and shared humanity.

Racial equity work is happening across the district in formal and informal ways; in individuals and in convenings of educators, administrators, and staff. Here are just a few key points and links that might help guide you to your next steps:

  • Consider joining or starting a district-sponsored Racial Equity Team in your school or Central Office department (see tabs for RET and CORE programs above)
  • Consider starting a non-district sponsored PLC dedicated to racial equity in your school or department
  • Looking for online resources? There’s a lot out there. Here a few DREA recommends to get started with:
    • Racial Equity Tools – comprehensive, curated collection of well-organized racial equity resources
  • What about books? Again, the options are robust. Whether reading as an individual or part of a book club, DREA recommends these few titles that have been used across SPS as powerful places to get started:
    • Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, Zaretta Hammond – foundational text being used across SPS that links brain science to culture to effective teaching and learning.
    • We Dare Say Love, Na’ilah Suad Nasir, Jarvis R. Givens, and Christopher P. Chatmon (editors) – another guiding text for SPS, it takes up the critically important issue of what it means to educate Black male students in a large urban district.
    • How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi – a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society – and in ourselves.

Our district is large and complex, and there are many facets of the system set up to support educators and staff in their work towards racial equity. While you can find DREA’s programs and offerings above, the following district departments and SEA bodies exists to provide various avenues of support for staff:

Equity, Partnerships, and Engagement (EPE) Division – The division of Equity, Partnerships and Engagement (EPE) is a service-oriented division that focuses on innovation and problem solving to elevate promising practices, build adult capacity and guide organizational development throughout all levels of the system.

Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) – AAMA works to ensure that the educational environment across the system supports the brilliance and excellence of Black boys and teens.

Ombudsperson – The District Ombuds Office serves as an independent, confidential, third party to assist SPS Schools and Families resolve problems, complaints, conflicts, and other school-related issues at the lowest level when normal procedures have failed.

Office of Student Civil Rights (OSCR) – The Office of Student Civil Rights (OSCR) is charged with receiving, processing, and resolving complaints filed under the District’s discrimination complaint process. 

SEA Center for Racial Equity (CRE) – The mission of the CRE is to empower educators, both individually and collectively to dismantle racial injustice in the SEA, our schools, our community, and our profession.

SEA Association Representatives – The Association Representative acts as a go-between, passing communication from the rank and file members to SEA elected leaders.

Still can’t find the department, program, or person for your inquiry? Contact Us

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“The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom.” 

– bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress, 1994

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