On August 23-24th, our AUSD Pre-K - 12th grade staff attended the Tools for Tolerance training presented by Sara Wicht who has provided professional development for educators across the country and at the Museum of Tolerance. This was an interactive training where certificated and classified staff discussed and learned strategies for having conversations with students about race and oppression, incorporating social justice/anti-bias education into everyday activities, incorporating and integrating the “tools” to enhance good teaching, and learning how to deepen our own awareness and engage in conversations with each other. Sara explained that the Tools for Tolerance is not an “add on” to what teachers are doing. Rather, the tools can be used to enhance and align with the good teaching that is already occurring. She also shared that teaching about social justice is anti-bias education and that the two are not separate concepts.
Sara Wicht asked several essential questions which launched deep and rich conversations about the role identity plays in critical conversations with students and the ways we can creatively deliver instruction. Staff were provided two helpful resources that they can use with their students - Social Justice Standards: The Teaching Tolerance Anti-Bias Framework, and Speak Up at School: How to Respond to Everyday Prejudice, Bias, and Stereotypes. Sarah also provided access to several free resources from the Museum of Tolerance. Bringing Sara Wicht and this training to AUSD is part of our ongoing efforts to systematically and positively enhance the educational opportunities for all of our students in an intentional, thoughtful, and culturally responsive way.