Quad Staff Welcomes Special Guest Speaker Erica Corbin
With a renewed commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, The Quad Manhattan welcomed consultant Erica Corbin for two afternoons this summer to assist with pre-self-auditing and curriculum development.
"The Quad Manhattan has always been an inclusive meeting place for 2e kids, but we know we can and must do better," said Ashley Riviere, Managing Director.
Corbin, the director of Community Life and Diversity and at Chapin School, virtually visited Summer Program staff to speak specifically about anti-racism work as it relates to twice-exceptional students and pre-existing paradigms in social cognitive and emotional learning.
"There's already a beautiful match that's happening naturally in [the 2e] world," said Corbin.
In the first session, Corbin and staff targeted:
Enhancing aspects of teaching that are already anti-racist
Developing skills to analyze curriculum and culture to foster anti-racism within The Quad community
Becoming more knowledgeable as to how social justice connects to their professional roles and relationships with Quad students, families, and colleagues
Corbin challenged staff to ask the question, "Where is there racism?" from every beginning, middle, and end conversation in curriculum development. As the staff nodded in agreement, Corbin added that to this end it's not enough to ask, Is there racism? but instead they must assume that it is there and that it needs finding and fixing.
Next, staff members utilized breakout rooms to reflect specifically on current Quad teaching practices through the anti-racist lens with guided questions. The workshop successfully provided a springboard for curriculum-driven meetings and supervision for the remainder of the summer, according to Program Director Bryan Campione and Director of Psychosocial Curriculum and Pedagogy Rebecca Siegel, MS CCC-SLP, TSSLD. Supervising Psychologist, Dr. Ben Klein also pointed out the many linear connections between the work at The Quad Manhattan dealing with social and emotional learning and the vertical spiral of concepts often found in anti-racism work.
"It's so much like in social [cognition education]," said Klein, "The visual of building blocks is that you need that foundation in order to gain these higher level skills like playing collaboratively."
He went on to point out that from a very young age, The Quad teaches kids that in order to form a relationship, they must recognize that they have thoughts and feelings, and that others do too, and hence interests are often different.
"As we're helping them to understand perspective taking, this feeds into [concepts in anti-racism work of] own identity and identity of others," said Klein.
Finally, Corbin closed with an activity which called upon Quad Manhattan educators to analyze driving and restraining forces that exist to meet anti-racist goals in their classrooms. Then staff members came up with actionable steps toward breaking down the silos, or restraining forces, that may be getting in the way of their anti-racist work.
The follow up session later in July echoed the themes of the initial workshop, providing more structured time for staff to evaluate current lesson plans and breakdown areas of strength and improve topics in need of growth. The teams worked to further deconstruct the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards and integrate themes and language of anti-racism into their practice.
Riviere adds that in addition to ongoing curriculum development from the foundation on up, that the program has recruited two subcommittees (one for hiring practices, and another for enrollment) to ensure all aspects of programming are assessed and immediately improved.