Student Leaders Attend District-Wide Equity Workshop


Mika Strickler

Monday, Apr. 18, from 8 am to 2:30, the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) teachers hosted an Equity Summit at Del Valle Education Center with student leaders from all four high schools to educate the students about equity and receive feedback on the various schools’ equity lessons. 


“It was a day for workshopping and letting students who are interested in equity work and equity education at our school to talk about our opinion on how the subject could be taught better and also learn a bit about how to be more equitable,” sophomore Sarah Yang, who attended the summit, said. 


The summit’s attendees included approximately 100 students from each school. Student participants were selected by their teachers for demonstrating leadership skills and an interest in equity. 


The summit opened with an introduction and discussion on racial equity lead by guest presenter Dr. Lori Watson, a racial consciousness speaker. Various equity workshops followed, covering topics such as ableism, privilege, race, and mental health. Afterwards, students were divided into groups of around 20 people from the same school to have discussions on how school equity lessons could improve.


“The goal is to work toward equity, inclusion and diversity within ourselves, our groups and our school,” Leadership co-teacher Kristen Plant and specially assigned equity teacher Megan Flores wrote to invited students. 


Students had varying opinions on the most valuable part of the summit; some gained the most from the equity workshops while others preferred the final feedback discussion. “I think the most important part was at the end when we were able to give feedback on the events of the day as well as on what we could improve at our own school. In general the whole summit was really educational, and I feel like I learned a lot about the various subjects,” sophomore Rowan Neasmith said. 


The academy equity lessons that have been in place this year were a main topic of feedback for some students. “Since not all the teachers who teach academy equity lessons at Miramonte are that interested in teaching equity, we suggested that the school get speakers from outside of the district so everyone can be educated in a more equal way. Otherwise, depending on the class you’re in and the people you’re around, equity can be a really different experience,” Yang said.  


Other criticisms of the equity lessons included their being performative or not encouraging engagement from students. “Equity lessons could feel like a waste of time for students if they had a big test or something to study for during the academy period. Also, some of the equity lessons in the past have felt performative and inaccurate, like the SOGIE lesson, which wasn’t very in depth. I hope that our talking to the teachers on the field trip will lead to good improvement on the lessons, ” Neasmith said.


Others valued meeting students from the different schools and sharing their opinions with each other. “I really appreciated the amount of effort that everyone had put into the event in order to make the day as productive and fun as it was,” Yang said.


Some students, gaining a more optimistic view from the summit, saw a bright future for improved equity education. “I really enjoyed the summit, I learned many new perspectives on inclusion and the most valuable part for me was seeing hope for the future,” sophomore Heidi Sun said.