Better Together: Anti-racist Education in our Classrooms

          Better Together 2020 Logo

Given the tragic events of Spring 2020 culminating with the police killing of George Floyd, K-12 educators throughout the US have been looking for effective ways to talk about racism with their students. Several of our leading educational organizations in the Commonwealth–MASCD, MassCUE, MSLA, and WBGH–are planning together to host a late afternoon “back-to-school” event on August 19, 2020 from 4:15 to 6:30 pm. Educators wil share ideas and strategies to support the work of anti-racist education. The event will provide networking opportunities, a keynote with shea martin, and break-out sessions for sharing. All for the low cost of $20!

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Keynote Address: Dreaming in Darkness: How to Teach While the World Is On Fire

shea martin

shea martin (they/them/theirs) is a lit teacher, researcher, and community organizer who dreams and works toward liberation with teachers and students across the country. shea’s work is explicitly rooted in radical love, antiracist pedagogy, and seeking justice and liberation through intersectional coalition-building. Through research, and organizing, shea partners with students, teachers, and systems-leaders working to disrupt systems of inequity and create schools that affirm the existence and brilliance of Black, indigenous, and students of color. You can find them on twitter at @sheathescholar.

Welcome 4:15 PM
Keynote Address  4:30 – 5:15 PM
Breakout Sessions 5:30 – 6:30 PM

Choose from one of the following session offerings!


Title: Engaging Early Learners & Families Remotely

Presenter: Chantei Alves Level: Early Childhood

In this session, Chantei will share lessons learned and best practices loved from teaching a Pre-K Inclusion class in the Spring and new rising Kindergarten students in the Summer, both remotely. Attendees will also receive a resource that organizes the many aspects of the remote learning day.

photo Chantei AlvesChantei Alves is a Pre-K Inclusion Teacher at the Young Achievers K-8 School in Mattapan who is entering her 7th year of teaching. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Pre-Med & Chemistry from Atlantic Union College, Master’s in Education from Northeastern University and will be attending Lesley University’s Moderate Disabilities Master’s program in Fall 2021 as a recipient of the Angela Wilkins scholarship. Chantei is a teacher leader and Boston teacher’s union building representative passionate about equitable inclusion, culturally responsive education, authentic family engagement and supporting other stakeholders to reach all students academically, socially and emotionally. In May 2020, it was announced that her passion and dedication made her the recipient of the 2020 AFT Massachusetts Distinguished Service Award. She is a former WGBH Education Ambassador, BPS Women Executive of Color Cohort 3 member and is excited to continue growing as a teacher leader in her third year as a Teach Plus Massachusetts Education Policy fellow.

Title: “Who” Is Not Enough: Using the Diverse BookFinder to Deepen Representation in Your Collection.

Presenter: Laura D’Elia Level: Elementary

Building diverse, inclusive, and equitable collections is on all of our minds. For collections that deeply reflect all identities and experiences, you must think beyond “who” is represented and begin to think “how” they are represented.  The Diverse BookFinder, a research database that helps you evaluate your picture book collection, uses nine categories that build a framework for evaluating the “how” that can be easily applied across all collections, not just picture books. Join me to learn about the Diverse BookFinder, understand the nine categories of representation, and how to use the free and interactive Collection Analysis Tool for your picture book collection.

photo Laura Beals D’EliaLaura Beals D’Elia is the Library Teacher at the Armstrong Elementary School in Westborough, MA. She has been an elementary library teacher since 2002. She has a BA in English and Children’s Literature from Framingham State University and a MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has presented at various state and national conferences on such topics as 1:1 iPads in an elementary school library and technology program, digital storytelling, and guided inquiry. She was also a co-organizer of Edcamp Boston for seven years, the Massachusetts School Library Association’s Professional Learning Committee Co-Chair for two years, and a recipient of the 2017 MSLA Service Award. She was honored to represent AASL at the Sharjah International Library Conference in the United Arab Emirates in the fall of 2019. Her most recent professional undertaking is as an Advisory Council member for the Diverse BookFinder initiative out of Bates College in Maine. You can follow Laura at @ldelia on Twitter and the Armstrong Elementary School Library on Twitter (@aeslibs) and Facebook (aeslibs).

Title: Step Back. Step Forward. A White Educator’s Steps Toward Antiracist Teaching

Presenter: Maura Egan Level: Middle School

As a white educator, I believe it is important for white teachers and leaders to develop antiracist practices and policies that ensure meaningful and sustainable change for our students, our colleagues, and our schools. In this session we will call each other in, not call each other out. We will examine tools to help us have safe, open, and honest conversations about the equity work we can do in our classrooms. I will share resources I use and lessons I have created. One goal is that participants will feel empowered with new tools, strategies, and ideas.

photo Maura EganMaura Egan is a grade 8 English Language Arts teacher and Pre-Practicum Coordinator for Shrewsbury Public Schools. She has been teaching for 15 years and has always been passionate about guiding her students to find their voice. Maura is a co-founder of Equity Work! Educators, a group that works to actively dismantle systemic racism and create curricula to help educators teach and learn with an antiracist perspective. In addition, she is the creator and moderator of the IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Awareness) Club for students. Maura earned her BA in English from Providence College and her MAT in English from Fitchburg State University. Additionally, Maura earned an Equity Certificate from the Leading Equity Center. Maura continues her professional education with a focus on inclusion and equity. Prior to joining the education field, Maura worked in the insurance industry as an international underwriter and an insurance broker.

Title: Anti-racism in your school and classroom library

Presenter: Laura Gardner Level: Middle School

In this session, Laura will discuss books she has read aloud from the Global Read Aloud and Project LIT lists, and explain how to use them to address the 10 Questions for Young Changemakers.

photo Laura GardnerLaura Gardner, a National Board Certified Teacher in Library Media, is Teacher Librarian at Dartmouth Middle School in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Laura was awarded the School Library Journal (SLJ) School Librarian of the Year Co-finalist Award in 2016 and the AASL Reader Leader social media superstar award in 2019. She’s a HUGE reader, a mother, and an avid runner and can be found on Instagram at @LibrarianMsG. She’s passionate about fighting the climate crisis and advocating for immigration reform and she’s an aspiring antiracist. 

Title: An ABAR lesson Did-I Checklist

Presenter: Takeru “TK” Nagayoshi Level: High School

Many educators find themselves daunted by the challenges of facilitating anti-bias and anti-racist (ABAR) work, even if they recognize its value. Although checklists will never supplement the ongoing learning and self-reflection that are requisite to our understanding of ABAR work, it can offer educators an important framework to examine and improve their teaching methods along these lines. In this session, high school English teacher Takeru Nagayoshi (MA 2020 Teacher of the Year) shares his “Did-I Checklist” for interrogating lessons, activities, and curricula through an ABAR lens. He explores how to leverage this tool to spot-check blindspots in both our mindset and pedagogy, and demonstrates its application through an example from his AP Literature class.

photo Takeru “TK” NagayoshiTakeru “TK” Nagayoshi is the 2020 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. He teaches AP English in New Bedford, MA. As a son of Japanese immigrants and a gay person of color, Takeru leverages his identities to fight for equity. Outside the classroom, he has written op-eds on culturally responsive teaching, recruits educators of color as one of the senior fellows at the MA Department of Education, and serves an educator diversity task force. He has also participated in fellowships, such as those offered by Teach Plus and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and lends his voice to multiple panels, committees, and advisory boards throughout the year. Takeru has received recognitions such as the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership Award (2019), Boston University Young Alumni Award (2019), and Sontag Prize in Urban Education (2018). He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with an honors B.A. in international relations and from Boston University an M.Ed in Curriculum and Teaching.

Title: Centering Around Student Experiences

Presenter: Francis Pina Level: High School

My approach to anti-racist teaching is couched in consistent self-reflection and student-centered approaches. I aim to create and sustain experiences that have students feel my class is being done for them and not to them. I use strategies that create student choice, intentionally build teamwork, and incorporate art to reach my aims.

photo Francis PinaFrancis Pina is a high school math teacher at Charlestown High School in the BPS. His impact in the classroom, whether through engaging math content or relationship/community building, is also felt outside of the classroom. He has developed his teacher leadership qualities through fellowships with Teach Plus, Educators for Excellence, and serving as a Union Building Representative. Francis earned a BS in Economics from Boston University and an Ed.M in Curriculum and Instruction from Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is passionate about creative expression and rekindled his love for video games. To learn more about Francis and his work, please visit his website:

Title of Session: Empowering students, fighting racism, and making better writers. 

Presenter: Joel Richards Level: Elementary

In this session I will take you through my hero currucium. Where students learn about people that look like them that changed history. While creating amazing artistic representations and writing powerful essays.

photo Joel RichardsI am Joel Richards, husband to Madeligne Tena, father to Joel C. Richards and Johan Richards. I am from Rockville, MD Moved to Boston 10 years ago. Teaching for me is a way to help people that look like me access their dreams. Fredrick Douglas felt the worse part of slavery was “compulsory ignorance, the full force of a system that understands slavery can only exist by the deprivation of learning, the absence, as it were, of light.” I became a teacher to help children have their own light. Elementary education is  gardening. I get seeds that I water and create an environment for them to grow.  As students matriculate they are pruned and supported, but Elementary education is a critical point for success.

Title of Session: A Holistic Approach to Anti-Racist Teaching and Learning

Presenters: Brinda Tahiliani & Cory McCarthy Level: Middle and High School

During our time together, we will explore the interconnectedness of elective classes and student groups in core curriculum. Elective classes and student groups influence core classes and how students are able to think, reflect, create, and build deeper meaning in their core classes. Participants will engage in thought provoking conversations on how to build more robust electives and student groups at their school.

photo of Brinda TahilianaMs. Tahiliani has been teaching U.S History for 14 years at New Mission Collegiate Academy, a pilot school within Boston Public Schools. Education has been the foundation to her success. Now, as teacher of fourteen years, she wishes for her students that same success. At the heart of the learning are the students and she expects every single child to succeed and holds every one of them to high academic standards. There are no exceptions, no excuses, to her solemn commitment that every child can learn; every child deserves to be challenged and to have their imaginations sparked. Ms. Tahiliani completed a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching in 2019 in India and was the 2018 Massachusetts History Teacher of the year.

photo Cory McCarthyCory McCarthy has a long history of working with urban youth. In his quest to change the societal narrative around Black and Brown males, Cory spent over a decade coaching and instructing young men to not simply utilize their athletic abilities but to ensure 4-year college placement and graduation. He is also one of the most accomplished basketball coaches of color Massachusetts has ever seen with 5 state titles. As a critical member of New Mission’s administrative team and Director of School Culture and Climate, Cory’s passion, strategy, and tenacity helped lead the school to its designation as a winner of the 2012 EdVestors’ $100k School on the Move Prize, 2013 National Blue Ribbon School for Improvement, and the 2017 Title One Distinguished School Award.

Registration closes August 18th at 4 PM



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Each sponsor (Limit of 4 @$250 each) will have two minutes to give a welcome, as well as have their logo on the main landing page for the event website. Logos are linked to a resource web page created by the sponsor with key resources including, but not limited to:

1. Short video about product 2. Digital resource folder with key documents that educators would find useful

Expected Demographics

We expect 120 educators (Integration Specialists, Classroom Teachers, Content Coordinators, etc.) for this event.

Please contact Shelley Chamberlain, Executive Director of MassCUE, for more information.

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2020-08-19 16:00 2020-08-19 19:00 America/New_York Better Together: Anti-racist Education in our Classrooms

           Given the tragic events of Spring 2020 culminating with the police killing of George Floyd, K-12 educators throughout the US have been looking for effective ways to talk about racism with their students. Several of our leading educational organizations in the Commonwealth–MASCD, MassCUE, MSLA, and WBGH–are planning together to host […]

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