Without exception, Black lives matter.

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and countless others are painful reminders that for many, safety is a luxury rather than an assumption. It is a call to action that there is still important work to be done to eradicate racism and build equality. As an organization, we have been processing, discussing and developing plans to address this head on.

As a 25-year provider of social-emotional learning in early childhood and primary education, we recognize the existence of conscious and unconscious bias in the systems, spaces and people that shape children during their most pivotal stages of development. We see many opportunities to diversify racial and cultural representation in ways that ensure organizations and educators are a strong reflection of the communities they support. That being said, we also accept the responsibility of starting within our own organization.

Conscious Discipline stands with the Black community and is committed to ending systemic racial and social injustice. We recognize that in order to support change, we need to listen, reflect and learn so we can act in effective ways. Part of this process involves re-examining our organizational plan for increasing our own awareness and engagement to ensure the universal principles of Conscious Discipline are accessible, applicable and culturally sustainable for people of color.

We are committed to self-examination, action and the pursuit of feedback, resources and partners that support our continuous improvement in this area. Our efforts are focused on longevity, effectiveness and sustainability.

Here are some next steps Conscious Discipline is committed to undertaking between now and 2022:

  • We will amplify voices and resource providers that encourage safe, productive conversations about racial equality and present educators, students, families and communities with opportunities to grow and improve in this area.
  • We will conduct a full audit of existing curricula and resources to ensure that our lens and language is inclusive, relevant and accessible for people of color, particularly the Black community.
  • We will develop a diversity assessment framework to guide new product development.
  • We will provide growth opportunities for our leadership, staff and Instructors, including training about unconscious bias, to create a more equitable world and organization from the inside out.
  • We will expand an undertaking that began in 2017 when we changed our Certified and Master Instructor programs from an application process to a recruitment process to consciously increase diversity and ensure better accessibility, sustainability and equity within the programs.
  • We will evaluate our Instructor Certification process to accelerate the multi-year requirements around the study, coaching and first-hand implementation requirements of Certification in order to meet an initial goal of an Instructor makeup that includes a minimum of 30% people of color.
  • We will pursue new partnerships and expertise in order to help us fulfill our commitments to the advancement of racial justice, and we will proactively engage leaders and communities of color in which we have existing relationships to invite feedback and ideas that support the meaningful and measurable advancement of goals in this area.

We remain deeply committed to the belief that trauma-responsive social and emotional learning is a lens through which transformational change in the areas of racial equality, equity and inclusion is not only possible, but essential.

Helpful Resources

  1. CASEL: SEL as a Lever for Equity and Social Justice (5 Parts)
  2. American Psychological Association (APA): Uplifting Youth Through Healthy Communication About Race
  3. National Education Association (NEA): Creating Space to Talk About Race In Your School