The Deutsche Bank youth
    engagement program

Rewriting pedagogical strategies

Students of color are now the majority of America’s K-12 student population. In today’s changing landscape, educators and the system in which they work must/are working to shed practices influenced by systemic racism to unlock the many talents and insights that all children possess.

This year, the virtual “Reimagining Education Summer Institute (RESI): Teaching, Learning and Leading for a Racially Just Society” at Teachers College took place amidst a triple pandemic—with students of color disproportionately impacted by the current health, racism and economic crises. RESI convened educators and school leaders to help foster anti-racist education, highlight the educational benefits of racially diverse schools and close the color gap between the nation’s students and teaching force.

Faculty at Teachers College and other institutions demonstrate strategies that include an asset-based approach (recognizing and emphasizing the gifts of all children), culturally responsive leadership, racial literacy, community-based student research and connecting all of the above to longstanding progressive education strategies that enable children to flourish and become good, productive citizens.

While the case for these approaches has been made before, faculty at Teachers College are providing guidance on how to implement them in 21st-century classrooms. These new leaders are continuing the legacy of Black educators from the Jim Crow era, and John Dewey’s progressive education philosophy, by more closely connecting curriculum to students’ lived experiences. For example, reimagined curricula have included math lessons imparted by community-based elders and assignments asking fifth graders to think about the relationships between the police and people in different neighborhoods.

“This is a critical time to empower educators to solidify equity within classrooms for students of color,” said Alessandra DiGiusto, Executive Director of Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and Head of CSR Americas. “There is a surge in opportunities to collaborate with the goal of advancing anti-racist practices—for the education field, RESI is changing the trajectory of pedagogical strategies on the frontlines.”

This growing annual Institute has served nearly 2,400 educators over five years. Support from Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation has enabled Teachers College to enhance the Institute’s programing, expand access to the conference for educators whose schools or districts do not have the resources to provide professional development and pilot new elementary school models.