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Real Talk About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from America to Me

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from America to Me

Presented by Jonathan Piper II, Black Student Union President, Skyline High School, CA; Kelisa Wing, Professional Development Specialist; Medha Tare, Senior Research Scientist, Learner Variability Project, Digital Promise; and Jessica Stovall, former English teacher at Oak Park River and Forest High School, IL, and current Stanford University PhD student in race, inequality, and language in education
Hosted by Barbara Pape, Communications Director, the Learner Variability Project, Digital Promise Global
Sponsored by Digital Promise

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America to Me is a ten-part docuseries by Academy Award nominated director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself, The Interrupters) which follows a year in the life of students, teachers, and administrators at Oak Park and River Forest High School near Chicago. The series deals with issues of race and privilege within a well-resourced, racially-integrated public high school.

This edWebinar uses a few clips from the film to take a deep dive into some of the issues that surfaced and strategies that can be used to create an environment that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The recorded conversation is led by one of the teachers in the film, a State Teacher of the Year working in the Department of Defense schools, and a student leader at an Oakland, CA, high school. Connections will be made to research by the Learner Variability Project’s lead researcher. Issues addressed include:

  • Importance of developing student agency
  • Impact of implicit and explicit bias, including in matters of learning
  • Ability to understand the variability in each learner and how that helps a teacher design classroom environments and instructional choices
  • How social awareness and relationship skills can affect learning, especially for adolescents

The recorded edWebinar highlights how individual steps can be taken towards finding agency, racial identity validation, and community. The discussion and film clips also how that it takes everyone working together to create long-lasting, systemic change. This presentation will be of interest to elementary through high school teachers, librarians, and school and district leaders. There will be time for questions at the end of the edWebinar.

Jonathan PiperAbout the Presenters

Jonathan Piper II is a senior and the Black Student Union president at Skyline High School in East Oakland, California. He also is the media director for the All City Council, which is the student union for the Oakland School District. This 11-member governing board represents 37,000 students in the Oakland Unified School District. In this role, Jonathan works to uplift meaningful student voice in policies and practices impacting all schools. Jonathan also is the lead student liaison for Youth Together, a non-profit organization that supports student movements through grassroots organizing and builds people power among their constituents.

During the summer of 2018, he was one of five Bank of America Student Leaders from the East Bay Market. Through Bank of America, Jonathan worked as an office intern with Junior Achievement of Northern California where he learned how to be financially literate, develop entrepreneurship skills, and become workforce ready. He did this by participating on job shadows and attending board meetings. Bank of America Student Leaders also sent Jonathan to Washington D.C. where he got to meet with state representatives, tour the U.S. Capitol, and build connections with other outstanding student leaders. Jonathan hopes to attend UCLA in the fall, majoring in public affairs and computer science. He intends to become a political representative for his community and activist with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Kelisa Wing

Kelisa Wing has been an educator for 12 years. She taught eighth grade language arts and reading to military-connected children at Faith Middle School in Fort Benning, Georgia, has been an elementary school assistant principal, and is now a professional development specialist. Kelisa honorably served in the U.S. Army for six years and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. She is the author of Weeds & Seeds: How To Stay Positive in the Midst of Life’s Storms and Promises and Possibilities: Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline.

She is a 2017 State Teacher of the year, a 2016 Association of Supervision, Curriculum, and Development (ASCD) Emerging Leader, and the 2017 University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. She is a member of the Leading Educator Ambassadors for Equity (LEAE) with the Education Civil Rights Alliance (ECRA), a member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY), and a member of ASCD. She is also is on the advisory board for Learner Variability Project & Digital Promise. She speaks both nationally and internationally about discipline reform, equity, student engagement, and many other topics. Kelisa holds a bachelor’s degree in English from UMUC, a Master of Arts in secondary education, and an Educational Specialist degree with a concentration in curriculum, instruction, and educational leadership from the University of Phoenix.

Medha Tare

Medha Tare has more than ten years of experience conducting applied research in the learning sciences. She enjoys translating research to non-academic audiences so it can be used by practitioners in the classroom and by the learners themselves. She holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan

Jessica Stovall

Jessica Stovall taught English at Oak Park River and Forest High School in Oak Park, Illinois for 11 years, where she worked to interrupt systemic racial achievement disparities. A recipient of the 2014 Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching, Jessica spent a semester in Wellington, New Zealand, studying educational debts between white and indigenous Māori students.

Since her return, Jessica has embarked on two projects—a comprehensive teacher professional development program and a workbook for teachers—both focused on eliminating the racial predictability of student achievement. She is a part-time instructional coach and serves on the inaugural ASCD Global Education Advisory Board. Her work at OPRFHS is featured in Steve James’ 2018 documentary series, America to Me, and she started Stanford University this fall, pursuing her PhD in race, inequality, and language in education.

Barbara PapeAbout the Host
Barbara Pape is the communications director for the Learner Positioning Systems (LPS) at Digital Promise Global (DPG). She has 20 years experience in strategic communications, writing, and policy analysis, primarily in education. Previously, she served as Executive Producer of the award-winning Teaching & Learning conference, sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, where she developed content and oversaw outreach and communications. As a writer, she has written for numerous publications, including Harvard University, the National Education Goals Panel (U.S. Department of Education) and Parents magazine. Barbara also served as editor and publisher of the first electronically delivered education newsletter, the Daily Report Card. She earned an EdM at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and launched her career as a middle school language arts teacher.


Join the Personalized Learning for All community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Digital PromiseDigital Promise was created with the mission to accelerate innovation in education to improve opportunities to learn.

The fourth installment in Digital Promise Global’s Making Learning Personal For All series, Policies and Practices that Meet Learners Where They Are highlights the promise of personalized learning to meet the needs of the full diversity of learners. It also examines policy actions and investments that district, state, and federal and national levels can take to help each learner master content and a broad range of skills. It makes clear that personalization must consider the whole child, put learner voice and choice front and center, and be built on the learning sciences.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST
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