In the EPiC “Black Parent Empowerment Series, part II” of Access to Advanced Academics, we began with an overview by Senior Program Strategist, Charity Gunn who shared context on the work done with Durham Public Schools and Black Parent Leaders last year around this topic and the data point from 2018-19 that showed areas of disparities. Durham Public School Administrators had a team prepared to answer these questions, share updates and discuss the “how to” of access that every parent can use from AIG in elementary school, to honors and Math I in middle school, to honors, AP and IB in high school.

The prepared presentation given by Durham Public School Administrators can be seen here. The PowerPoint can be viewed here.

The workshop also had stories and questions of parent and student vignettes to inform the conversation and illustrate inequities families had experienced and needs for keeping the environment in those advanced courses conducive to students of color in order to retain them in those classes. We ended with a thoughtful Q&A. As the District leaders shared that they are open to additional conversations, we closed with these questions:

Accountability: How are you addressing the impact of current policy and practices for access to advanced academics (including unintended consequences) with racial equity?

  • What strategies will address the immediate impacts?
  • What strategies address root causes of inequities?
  • How will you realign your work?

Accountability: How will you evaluate and report impacts on racial equity over time?

  • What is your goal and timeline for eliminating racial inequity?
  • How will you ensure internal and public accountability?

Our call to action: If you are interested in being at the academic table centering advanced academics and the needs of students who have been marginalized, please email info@epic-nc.org to request the following:

  1. Please add me to the regular newsletters to stay up-to-date about Empowered Parent in Community.
  2. If there is a request for a parent to participate on a committee to further explore this topic and go deeper into actualizing goals of access for students of color, please contact me.
  3. I would like more information about joining or beginning a Parents of African American Children group in my school or community.

It is imperative that parents, teachers and school administrators work collaboratively using a racial equity lens when considering class assignment, course of studies and engaging youth of color. As there have been several initiatives shared at a District level to create more equitable opportunities and decrease teacher and assessment bias, it is on the ground and within the schools that parents have to be aware of opportunities available to their children and weigh in on accountability measures to ensure that we are all tracking in the same direction.