CCRE Collective Builds Equitable Leadership in Schools and Communities

This May, the Center on Culture, Race & Equity (CCRE) at Bank Street College will conclude the second year of its CCRE Collective, an online cohort-based program designed to support leaders in building inclusive and anti-racist environments where all children and adults can thrive.

Throughout the nine-month program, 23 educational leaders from public and private schools and early childhood organizations nationwide participated in workshops, small-group meetings, and coaching sessions to support their work to advance equity in education and bring positive change to their communities.

“Over the course of this year’s program, we’ve observed leaders making significant progress toward their goals as they strengthen their leadership abilities and capacity for facilitating equitable systems change,” said Rajeeyah Finnie-Myers, Executive Director, Center on Culture, Race & Equity. “The CCRE Collective has provided participants with a nourishing and supportive space to engage in the challenge of this work, and we look forward to seeing our year-two cohort make an impact within their institutions, as well as in the larger society.”

This year’s participants included a range of educators and administrators, such as teachers, division heads, site coordinators, directors, and school counselors who serve children and families. 

In the workshops, participants focused on foundational topics, such as exploring the origins and present-day manifestations of racism in society and examining the mindsets that sustain dominant culture. One participant said, “One of the big things we’ve been doing… is around the ‘why.’ Folks are now getting to a place of really untangling why they specifically should do this work, need to do this work, and are in fact here doing this work.”

Discussions highlighted critical issues, such as the school-to-prison pipeline—which is disproportionately funneling children of Color and LGBTQ+ students from the education system to the criminal justice system.

Finnie-Myers explained, “At present, there are few if any models of systemic interventions within the preschool through 12th-grade spectrum that are driven by school communities themselves and that integrate the instructional, structural, behavioral, cultural, and racial elements of the complex school-to-prison pipeline process. The CCRE Collective represents a comprehensive intervention, responsive to the needs and strengths of communities that educate children of all ages.”

Later in the year, workshops focused on developing solutions to disrupt inequitable practices and policies. During these sessions, participants were introduced to and practiced using a variety of frameworks and tools to support them in making concrete shifts toward racial equity within their institutions

The program also organized leaders into Communities of Practice, which offered small-group settings and used a “consultancy protocol approach” to address equity-related issues that arose during the school year. Additionally, participants and coaches worked together in Coaching for Equity Circles, a dedicated space to receive guidance and learn to effectively coach others in their communities.

“The protocols have been helpful,” said one participant in a mid-year feedback survey. “Part of our issue was that we kept talking and talking and talking… We kept talking about our feelings, talking about race and how it was impacting us, but we were having a hard time figuring out where to go and what to do. And I think that the protocols have helped us be able to talk in more actionable and tangible steps.”

Another participant said, “Before [the collective], we felt like we weren’t getting anything done. We’d get too far down the rabbit hole of learning and knowledge and undoing learning… And so now, we’re finding this balance: You learn, and you coach, and you change, and you challenge.”

At the conclusion of the program, participants from both the first- and second-year cohorts will have the opportunity to partake in a coaching extension that will sustain their network of support as they implement their learnings.

“By participating in the CCRE Collective, organizations have reinforced their dedication to establishing equitable environments for all children,” said Finnie-Myers. “We are grateful for their partnership in supporting Bank Street’s mission and enabling us to scale our efforts throughout the United States.”

In September 2023, the CCRE Collective will welcome its third cohort. Equity-minded professionals are encouraged to apply by the early bird deadline of May 26.

Learn more and apply