Claxton Elementary Social Justice League Mission Statement: Claxton’s Social Justice League seeks to cultivate and promote racial equity and social justice in our school and community. By listening to our families, opening dialogues with our teachers, and changing our practices to better serve our students, we strive to grow our work with trust in each other, the process, and ourselves to a place of deeper understanding and respect for all.
We are a group of teachers, instructional assistants, support staff, parents, administrators and an equity consultant that meet monthly to focus on social justice issues for our staff, students and families. Our team has created and delivered professional development, family and community workshops and engagement events, resources and activities for our students in order to discuss race, equity and what it means for our school community.
In 2013, Claxton Elementary's Racial Equity Team received funding from the Asheville City Schools Foundation to help train our staff on what racial equity and structural racism means with the help and support of Craig White, a consultant from outside of Asheville City Schools. Through his experience with non-profits and various other racial equity training, White helped us create norms and better understand what racial equity means.
In 2014, Claxton staff identified the following racial disparities that we felt exist in our school community:
- parental/family involvement,
- student leadership roles,
- food & nutrition,
- Academically/Intellectually Gifted program,
- technology/access to information, messaging, and
- staff composition.
In this first year, we also developed the Family Voices nights in order to provide a space for families of color to describe to us their experience at Claxton. This space was intentionally created to listen and not to "talk at" our families. Our Media Center mural was a result of student self-portraits during Family Voices nights in 2014-2015. This project was in response to a messaging disparity our staff identified where students of color are not often represented in books or artwork. This was the beginning in creating more culturally responsive and diverse learning spaces.
During the 2015-2016 school year, our team decided to focus on the discipline and student leadership disparities. Staff, especially those who facilitated student clubs, were encouraged to consider referring back to our foundational structural racism training, implicit bias and microaggressions trainings via a racial equity lens to ensure that these student groups mirrored the racial demographics of our student population.
Starting in 2017-18, we no longer received funding from the Asheville City Schools Foundation, but wanted to continue to provide training and workshops to our staff and families. The Claxton Racial Equity Team became the Claxton Social Justice League, in order to broaden our work to include the intersectionality of LGBTQ+ and Immigrant rights within racial justice. We became self-funded and developed partnerships outside of Asheville City Schools in order to continue our work.
Currently, our Claxton Social Justice League continues to meet monthly in order to support the needs of our school and community with a racial equity lens.