Submitted by Ashley Radder-Renter on Wed, 02/24/2021 - 17:36
<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Mission Impossible? You Can Pivot: Make An Impact Where You Are</span>

Mission Impossible? You Can Pivot: Make An Impact Where You Are

Due to last week’s catastrophic winter storm in Texas, we were unable to post last week, but if you are just tuning in, we are on the final installment of our Mission Impossible blog series. In this series, we celebrate Black History and share stories about people who have overcome challenges or faced feelings about a mission they thought impossible. 

Trivia Question Answer from This Weeks Social Media Post:

Dorothy Height Trivia Question Answer and Biography Information

Pivoting is an action that can create opportunities you would never have been possible. Usually, pivoting occurs when there is a need to change direction or prevent an inevitable outcome.  Being willing to pivot comes with the willingness to start over, accept mistakes and make difficult decisions. This week’s blog will focus on the need to change how Black history is taught in the classroom and share a story from Brenda Waters, YES Inc’s Equity Pipeline Director, who has thirty years of teaching experience. In this post, she shares her story about how the pandemic challenged her to rise above a seemingly impossible challenge and pivot quickly.  

Can we pivot how Black History is taught?  

Did you know that the United States doesn’t have federal requirements for teaching Black history in schools? In 2015, a study was conducted by the Museum of African American History and Culture and Oberg Research. The study found that on average only one or two lessons or 8% or 9% of history/social studies class time is allocated to teaching Black History in k-12 classrooms. Only 12 states are legally required to teach the subject.  It wasn’t until April 17, 2020, that the State Board of Education gave final approval to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for a new Ethnic Studies: African American Studies course suggested for grades 10-12. In other states teaching Black History, students learn about Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks. Still, they do not go into great detail about Black Americans’ history. We need to pivot where and how Black history is taught. Black history is American History and should be introduced across the curriculum. 

You can make a difference! 

As we have discussed throughout this series, educators can impact by stepping out of comfort zones and making a difference in the face of challenge or adversity. Educators can make a difference by infusing and teaching Black History in a culturally responsive way across the curriculum. Educators are the gatekeepers to assisting students in making connections to history, and teachers can create activities and instruction to include in their curriculum that will promote African American excellence. To read information and ideas on how you can teach Black History in a culturally responsive way, check out this article from Edutopia.  

YES, Inc. works to impact change and help educators become more effective by providing training during our yearly Summer Leadership Institute and our Human Capital Management Systems Teacher Intensive Preparation training requiring participants to learn from experts best practices for Culturally Responsive Teaching. 

Making the Mission Impossible Possible:

Here’s is Brenda’s story on how she and her team overcame an impossible situation. Brenda and her team quickly took action to ensure that this training went on as scheduled seamlessly despite impossible odds.

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Brenda’s Mission Impossible Story:


Picture of Brenda Waters Equity Pipeline Director We were in the middle of a national pandemic as we continued to plan for our agency’s five-week Intensive Educator Preparation training in Orlando, Florida, from San Antonio, Texas. The Yes Inc. training was scheduled for June 29-July 31, 2020. We had secured our training experts in their fields, created schedules, prepared materials, and were expecting to leave in two weeks for our well planned out, in-person training when our Nation's Covid-19 numbers exploded and we were being asked to stay at home when possible and to avoid social gatherings. We then realized we had a " Mission Impossible" situation we needed to make some decisions. We were expecting over 100 participants in our training, and we already had information sessions and other communications with each participant informing them of the Orlando training for 2020. We had booked rooms, and flights were in the process of being finalized when everything came to a screeching halt! We need to create a schedule and plan to host our five weeks training virtually. Something we knew little about and was not set up for and had never attempted. YIKES! We had done some of our training in a hybrid format in the past and have always struggled to keep our online participants engaged. What would we do differently? How will we pull this one off? Will this be a success? Will people be all in? Those were just a few of the myriad of questions we asked ourselves and each other. We were skeptical, and yet we knew we had to do it. We put our skepticism aside and went to work! We planned, and we did what we knew the best practice was for engaging people in person or online, and we made it happen. We worked late nights and had a lot of planning sessions. But we completed our mission to "Help educators become more effective"   We held an excellent five-week training! How do we know? We asked our attendees, and the feedback was: "All of the sessions were great, and I learned a lot. This training needs to be done by all teachers in the country so that they can go into the classroom and be effective educators." So when faced with what could be a "Mission Impossible" in your classroom, with a specific student or a school administrator, put your skepticism aside, plan for your success, just do what you know to do. And watch how you too will succeed with your "Mission Impossible"!                        

Feeling Inspired?

As a teacher, you may be facing moments that feel like impossible missions. Don’t give up! If you think that something is impossible, think again! Don’t be afraid to do something different, and don’t be afraid to pivot. Ask yourself instead, how can I pivot to make a difference? Remember, one small change can lead to a changed world for everyone! You never know the lasting impact you may have by deciding to change or the lasting impression you will have by choosing to pivot. Pivoting will help you meet your goal even when odds are stacked against you.  

If you found this information interesting or useful, let us know by submitting your feedback! We would love to hear what you have to say about the topics we share and what you would like to hear more about. As we grow, be sure to like and share us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so that we can expand our reach and move closer to our mission of equipping educators everywhere! 

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