Summit Promotes New Approach to Equity

Campolindo hosted its annual Equity Summit at Del Valle Education Center on January 9. The conference invited all four high schools in the district (Campolindo, Acalanes, Miramonte, and Las Lomas) to engage in the day’s activities.

Over the years of holding the conference, district leaders have developed and expanded its curriculum significantly. What began as superficial presentations of social issues is now a day of extensive opportunities for students to learn and discuss the intersectionality of their own identities. These conversations would not be possible without the planning skills of select students and teachers.

Throughout the day, students attended different equity workshops put on by student presenters from each school. Leadership class officer junior Cassidy Keely said, “I really appreciated the diverse array of workshops… My favorite workshop discussed the academic pressures in our district and how it affects our identities.” For many students, the new workshop ideas were a new, refreshing approach to equity work. Other workshops included conversations about institutional (systemic) racism. “We discussed legal discrimination in the justice system…it was really insightful,” Keely said.

However, before the workshops kicked off, the conference hosted LGBTQ+ equity advocate Dana Johnson. Johnson gave a strong presentation about her experience as a member of the community, and later showed the audience her award-winning short film. “It was powerful,” Equity Chair Shannon Sieckert said. Johnson also held a Q & A session that gave students an opportunity to voice their personal experiences. “I wish the Q & A lasted longer…hopefully we can extend it to small group discussions next year,” Sieckert added.

Compared to last year, senior Mira Shah thought that “students were much more engaged this year and willing to share their thoughts and experiences.” Shah agreed that the new student workshops were a nice addition: “I loved the digital racism presentation… I learned about a topic that I knew absolutely nothing about.”

Another constructive aspect of the conference was the brainstorming session that concluded the day. Students met with others from their school and collectively sought to come up with ways to implement what they had learned into work and curriculum at their respective schools. “It was really helpful to debrief the day with others from Campo. We have a lot of ideas for the upcoming semester and school year,” Keely explained. The conference gave Campo Leadership a new perspective to how they should approach our equity academies. Keely also discussed the possibility of a “cultural fair” in order to further foster belonging at school.

Student feedback marked this year’s Equity Summit as a major success. Feeling greatly inspired, the hope is that students carry their learned knowledge and respect back to the classroom and community at large.