Street Data: A Next-Generation Model for Equity, Pedagogy, and School Transformation

You can access our Wakelet chat artifact here

by Mary Howard

On 3/24/22, #G2Great chat welcomed first time guests, Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan. Professional books are published rapidly, even in a global pandemic, but the moment we discovered their remarkable book, we knew that Shane and Jamila had crafted a very special gift between two covers in the pages of Street Data: A Next Generation Model for Equity, Pedagogy, and School Transformation (Corwin, 2021). We quickly learned why Street Data was receiving so many accolades and we wanted to use our twitter chat platform as one more path to get their stunning book into the hands of educators and decision-makers.

Before I turn my attention to the incredible thinking that Shane and Jamila shared on our #G2Great chat, I’d like to begin by drawing from Street Data:

ILLUMINATING THE AUTHORS’ STREET DATA “WHY”

When I’m afforded the blessing of writing about a book spotlighted on our #G2Great chat, I always begin with a deep dive into reading, watching, and listening to whatever I can find that will offer me insight about the book ideas. I happened on a Corwin webinar that was done when the book was published in 2021 so I was delighted to find that it can still be viewed by registering after the fact. In this wonderful session, Shane and Jamila each shared their Street Data “WHY” and this was just what I needed to open this post:

Jamila:

“What would the world look like if my children, if black children, if all children were free? It’s the question I’m asking. It’s the dream I’m chasing.”

Shane:

“This book is about radical dreaming and it’s about cracking open spaces of possibility first and foremost in our minds and our sense of imagination.”

Their heartfelt words further elevated the impact I felt when I first read Street Data. I can’t imagine a better extension to their wise words than the response we received from Shane and Jamila to our first of three questions.

What motivated you to write this book? What impact did you hope that it would have in the professional world?

The concept of street data was a seed planted in The Listening Leader (Jossey-Bass, 2017), Shane’s first book and our first collaboration, that people were really attracted to. We started playing with it and then Shane said, “We are learning a lot… we need to write about this.” I (Jamila) was out in the field with leaders, learning a ton about the challenges they were experiencing in leading for equity. We both have our own children who are working their way through this system, often with great struggle, and that is where it all emerged. 

Impact: Wanted to make the connection between theory and day to day pedagogy. Wanted to bridge the gap between what is traditionally framed as “equity work” and the transformation of teaching and learning.

Impact: Create a pathway toward an education system focused on agency of text test scores.

STREET DATA DEFINED IN THE AUTHORS’ WORDS

In the Prologue, Data in a Time of Pandemic, Shane brings clarity to the meaning of Street Data:

Street data is the qualitative and experiential data that emerges at eye level and on lower frequencies when we train our brains to discern it. Street data is asset based, building on the tenets of culturally responsive education by helping educators look for what’s right in our students, schools, and communities instead of seeking out what’s wrong….

WHY STREET DATA IS DESPERATELY NEEDED NOW

There are some books that bring chills when reading and Street Data definitely did that for me. From the first word to the last, I was struck by how much this book is needed and should be read by every educator and school leader:

In one of our chat questions, we shared this wonderful book quote from Shane

I’m quite certain that there isn’t one person reading those words who does not recognize that Shane’s first sentence is tragically alive and well in education: “Current testing practices dehumanize young people and teachers while leading us further and further from educational equity.”

Now let’s pause for a moment and look at the response Shane and Jamila shared with us on our second question. I don’t know many authors who can speak volumes in so few words but they certainly demonstrate that here:

What are your BIG takeaways from your book that you hope teachers will embrace in their teaching practices?

Data can be humanizing. Data can be liberatory. Data can be healing.

Equity work is first and foremost pedagogical work

I’d like to follow those three essential beliefs using the slide that we shared just before our chat with Shane and Jamila began:

It occurs to me that responding to the profound question that Shane and Jamila posed at the top of that slide should be at the center of our discussions in every school across the entire year. In page after page of Street Data, Shane and Jamila eloquently respond to their question, offering a call to action with a flexible template to support schools in bringing their words to life where it matters most – in the company of children. 

I can’t stop thinking about their first belief: “Data can be humanizing” since the way education has approached data across the years is the epitome of a dehumanizing view that has elevated the long existing educational inequities that blind us to who our children are both as learners and amazing humans full of potential. I often wonder how many future leaders we have lost because of these systems perpetuated year after year. We expend precious minutes collecting data and then use those numerical values to label children – sorting them into the haves and have nots without any perception of the child beneath the data. Then we further exacerbate the issue by enthusiastically reducing children to mere blips on a spreadsheet radar screen. Through a testing process entrenched in the very culture of our educational systems, we are asked to willfully ignore the brilliance that exists within each child just waiting for us to notice, celebrate and respond to if we can look beyond the numbers to see the child in front of us.

In Street Data, Shane and Jamila eloquently help us to understand the heart of equity with detailed suggestions to embrace the “street data” that surrounds us and humanizes the assessment process in ways that will lift our instructional choices. But to embrace “street data” we must also be willing to embrace student agency so that we can draw from experiences that keep students at the center of the learning process as teachers take a step back to admire and celebrate brilliance in action. By putting children in the learning driver’s seat and offering choice with space and time to use it, we are afforded on-the-spot access to rich assessment grounded in and inseparably linked to learning in action.

The authors make this point beautifully in Street Data:

“We have retained a vision of what is possible when we build classrooms and schools and systems around students’ brilliance, cultural wealth, and intellectual potential rather than self-serving savior narratives that have us “fixing” and “filling” academic gaps.”

TWITTER WISDOM FROM SHANE AND JAMILA

I’d like to turn our attention back to our #G2Great twitter chat because the words of Shane and Jamila complement and extend Street Data beautifully:

Before I share closing words, I’d like to turn to a very important response from Shane and Jamila based on our third question:

What is a message from the heart you would like for every teacher to keep in mind?

Be brave and start somewhere. Use the Equity Transformation Cycle in the book to listen deeply with a mindset of radical inclusion; uncover root causes of inquiry with a mindset of curiosity; reimagine current reality with a mindset of creativity; and move forward with a mindset of courage.

Grow your awareness of your ways of knowing and being by choosing the margins.

My Closing Thoughts

I am so grateful for the opportunity to write this post to celebrate the important ideas that I believe will become a transformational stepping stone for educators and schools who are wise enough to read and apply the vast wisdom in Street Data. When I was searching for insight for this post, I happened on a YouTube Video that was posted when Street Data was first published. In Author Reflections, Shane and Jamila each pose a question that asks us to make Street Data a reality:

“What would it look like for the student experience to be designed for them and even by them. My hope and intention is for every person who’s thinking about what it looks like for their child to have school designed with them in mind.” Jamila

“The book is just the seed but my hope is that together we can cultivate this thriving garden of student voice.” Shane

It seems appropriate to close with words of wisdom Shane and Jamila shared on our chat. We are so grateful to you both for inspiring us all!

LINKS

Jamila Dugan’s Website

Shane Safir’s Website

Shane Safir on Twitter @Shane Safir

Jamila Dugan on Twitter @JamilaDugan

Street Data: A Next-Generation Model for Equity, Pedagogy, and School Transformation (Corwin, 2022) (purchase Street Data)

Author Reflections with Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan (YouTube Video)

Corwin Video Session with Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan (Still available for viewing)

Street Data: A Conversation with Jamila Dugan and Shane Safir (podcast)

Street Data: A Pathway Toward Equitable, Anti-Racist Schools (podcast)

Beware of Equity Traps and Tropes by Jamila Dugan

Authors Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan: 5 Things You Need to Know To Be A Highly Effective Educator or Teacher: An Interview With Penny Bauder

Teaching As A Radical Act

Read Islah’s Interview HERE • See Our Wakelet Chat Artifact HERE

Post written by Islah Tauheed

“One of the biggest lessons I learned is that we don’t empower children; we simply provide the tools for them to embody their inherent power.” ~ Arlène Casimir

I think at this point of the pandemic, we can all agree that the education system in America is deeply flawed. As teachers we gained insight and a first hand view of those problems up close and personal each day. We teach in buildings that are sterile and cold. We are told to implement a curriculum that is not reflective of the children in front of us. We work under leadership that silences many facets of our identity. When we choose to shift our thinking about teaching as a radical act, we make a decision to lead change in these problems. It was such a pleasure to join the Twitter chat this past week and join other educators looking to make big changes. 

Working to achieve this goal requires a deeper understanding of yourself. We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. Taking on tasks such as dismantling a racist school system or implementing culturally relevant learning practices can seem vague and ambiguous to a team member who is uncertain, yet the only way to deal with adaptive challenges is to grow.  Restructuring a school system requires us to take on new mindsets or beliefs to find solutions. Often these mindset shifts can happen as a result of what we learn from children. There was so much advice given out this past year from “experts” on teaching during a pandemic. However, most of the chat members shared that their biggest lessons came from students within their own classrooms. 

The responsibility of healing a system is a collective responsibility. Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared human endeavor. In the case of radical education, the human endeavor that teachers want is to further society through education. Joining social media platforms like Twitter helped add members to my community of practice. I enjoyed reading about other people you follow and what you learned from them.

Transformational leadership seeks to advance universal freedom from oppression, exclusion, and violence, and freedom to participate in economic, political, cultural, religious and educational activities equally. (Perkins & Richards, 2007) Teaching is the beginning of our journey towards achieving this noble goal.  I am so proud to stand with all the teachers lifting the voices of students and putting them first every day. Though seemingly ideal, we remain future minded and aware that it is only together, we are strong enough to enact change. Holding on to this belief in the face of resistance is the most radical act.

A Few Words of Appreciation From Mary Howard

Midway through 2021 in the middle of a pandemic that showed no signs of slowing down, our #g2great co-moderators recognized that there was a need to celebrate educators who were doing truly remarkable things. We called this chat Educator Spotlight and had our first guest, Nawal Qarooni Casiano on 8/26/21 . We knew early on that Islah Tauheed needed to be celebrated for her dedication to children as a second grade teacher and now through her extended role as an Assistant Principal supporting her teachers in honor of children.

About two years ago, Towanda Harris told me about Islah Tauheed and shared some posts she had written as well as her My Two Cents Worth With Towanda Harris podcast she had done with Islah. I wrote about that podcast HERE. Before I knew it, I was looking for everything I could find with Islah’s name on it (see links at the bottom of the page). I was completely professionally smitten by the incredible things that Islah was doing and eager to learn even more. That appreciation has only grown since I have had the chance to visit with Izzie via Zoom in preparation for our chat.

We are so grateful that Izzie honored the #G2Great community who hunger for inspiration and information and she brought all of that and so much more. This beautiful post that Izzie wrote is one more reminder why she is much needed in education and why we feel privileged to honor her on our Educator Spotlight

Please read on with some resources below to get to know Islah Tauheed

ISLAH WORDS OF WISDOM ON #G2Great Twitter Chat

Q1 Tonight we are reflecting on the title of our chat, “Teaching As A Radical Act,” based on an interview with our guest, Izzie Tauheed. What does that title mean to you? 

Q2 Tauheed said. “I teach for the children in front of me, so they feel safe and loved and affirmed in this classroom space.” How does student ownership show up in your classroom spaces?

Q3 When asked about my students, I described them as “They are brilliant, thoughtful, inspiring, and hopeful”. What has a student taught you this year?

Q4 I am influenced greatly by community we have here on Twitter and the resources that are shared. What’s one thing you’ve read that has made you a better educator?

Q5 Using strong literacy practices, we can guide our students to become engaged agents of change. My passion is to guide students in changing their communities through environmental justice. What are some areas of change you and your students are seeking to challenge?

More Read posts from Islah Tauheed

Bringing Community into the Virtual Classroom

Empathy as a Radical Act

Reading Heals the World: A Case For Literacy And Environmental Justice

Bringing Community into the Viral Classroom

The Power of a Black Teacher

Reading to Make a Difference

By Jenn Hayhurst

On March 21, 2019, Lester Laminack and Katie Kelly joined #G2Great to begin a conversation around their book, Reading to Make a Difference. I have to say, I just love that title, Reading to Make a Difference. There are so many ways that reading can make a difference that it boggles my mind and stirs my soul. It makes me dizzy to think about the endless potential for positive change that is possible when teachers view reading as a call to action. The chat began with meaningful reflections as teachers celebrated book choice, writing, and the sheer joy that comes with intentional learning:

As I read these tweets I am struck by the varied perspectives and I kept thinking about how Lester and Katie’s work was inspired by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s piece, Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors.

Mirrors

We look to books to help us understand ourselves and the world. Books are indeed a mirror, they reflect a reader’s own story back to them as they read to find clarity and validation. These are the important moments for readers, this process is part of forming a secure identity. As they journey down this path to self-discovery, it is only natural that they begin to question: How am I different? How am I the same? What can I learn from all of this?

Windows

The windows we shape in our classrooms are constructed by the libraries we keep. It is time that we all ask ourselves, am I willing to take a stand for equity? Will I expand my classroom library to greet and embrace all my students? There are so many stories to tell and it is vital that we provide access to them. Children are broadening their understanding of the world as they look to find new possibilities and greater awareness for the complexities of life. Trust that the books we offer them can help with this work.

Sliding Glass Doors

Books are here to inspire us. They are foundational for opportunities to grow. They can unlock the potential for new experiences. We can teach our students to seize these opportunities through the relevant work that can come with reading a great book. What can I do with my learning? If we live the life of an authentic learner we can show them how to slide that glass door open, to step through and create something substantial. This is how we lift the words off the page and into our hearts and minds. Literacy is transformative.

Thank you, Lester and Katie for your beautiful book. It is a great resource for teachers to read, reflect, and create. I hope you will all continue to dig deeper into this work and continue grow your practice. Here are some helpful links that can keep the learning going:

Heinemann Podcast: Reading to Make a Difference

A First Look Inside Reading to Make a Difference