At the outset of the 2020 school year, Noble set a bold and ambitious goal of becoming a more antiracist organization. Since then, Noble announced our anti-racism commitment (ARC), we engaged thousands of families in surveys and feedback to guide a reexamination of policies and practice. Since February, grounded in that feedback from parents, students, and alumni, ARC design teams have been meeting to guide the way forward on Noble policy and practice as it relates to our student code of conduct, uniform, promotion and graduation requirements, curriculum design and more. Those design teams then shared draft proposals with groups of Noble stakeholders for intensive feedback – hundreds of Noble family members, staff, students, and alumni engaged in these refine team spaces. This post is part of a series of updates on that work in progress.
Tierionna Pinkston and Kyle Cole lead the Instructional Core design team which is focused on answering
“What does the relationship between teacher, student, and content at Noble look like with an antiracist lens?”
Tierionna Pinkston is the Instructional Leadership Coach on the Noble Support Team. She supports the instructional leaders at eight of Noble’s campuses to pursue academic excellence for students and instructional development for teachers.
Kyle Cole is the Chief Education Officer at Noble, where he oversees and supports the development of policy, practice, and resources for Noble’s day-to-day academic programming, support services, and enrichment.
We sat down with both Tierionna and Kyle to discuss this ARC design and refine work:
Q. Can you share a bit about what you were charged within this ARC process?
A. As we began this process we wanted to better understand what it means to provide an antiracist academic experience for our students. Thus, we were focused on answering a few key questions: “What does the relationship at Noble between teacher, student, and content look like with an Anti-racism lens?” For example, how do we view students as learners? What standards, content, and knowledge, at minimum, should all students have access to and/or be engaged in? How do teachers & students interact with each other and the curriculum? What professional development, at minimum, should all teachers receive? What is the role of assessment under an anti-racism instructional core?
Q. Can you describe the ARC work you’ve been engaging in this year? When did it start?
A. This is at least a 10-month process for our team. We’ve divided it into three phases: Phase 1 identifying our foundational beliefs around students, instruction, and content, Phase 2 identifying critical moves needed around standards and content, and Phase 3 tackling how assessment needs to evolve to meet our beliefs and needs.
We launched Phase 1, our beliefs, in March and aim to finalize this critical step by mid-June.
Instructional Leadership Coach +
DEI Steering Committee Member
Chief Education Officer
Q. How did you generate your original proposals, where did you seek feedback?
A. We anchored our initial proposals in the feedback we received from our Reimagining Community Survey. This survey went out in the winter to thousands of parents, students, and other Noble community members asking them to share thoughts around what they value and want to see from a Noble educational experience. From there, the team launched into conversations related to their own lived experience so we could get to a solid draft set of beliefs. We found our design team meetings to be very rich given the unique perspectives and expertise represented by our 30 team members (~30% teachers, ~30% staff, ~30% parents, students, and alumni.)
Q. Can you talk about one thing that shifted in your draft proposal as a result of that community feedback?
A. When we put our draft thinking in front of the six refine teams (parents, students, staff, alumni, principals, and our DEI Steering Committee) we certainly received affirmation that we were directionally correct in the shifts in mindsets and beliefs we believed Noble had to make to realize our anti-racism commitment. That said, we also received consistent feedback that we weren’t centering college enough in our language and that it was a critical anchor to who we are and who we want to continue to be. Our later versions aimed to correct this oversight in our language.
Q. What else do you want people to know about the ARC design and refine process you’ve engaged in thus far this year?
A. This is a long process, one that requires a great deal of conversation and reflection across a vast number of stakeholders. To truly center and include the voices of our families and students in this work will take time. As such, we likely won’t be making final decisions around our future standards, course offerings, and associated assessments until well into the 2021-22 school year (and nothing will likely be implemented until the 2022-23 school year.) That said, we don’t have to wait to make changes to some of our day-to-day practices and thinking. I encourage those that are reading to spend some time around our beliefs that we will publish this June around what an antiracist classroom entails and start reflecting and asking how one can reimagine what’s possible. How might one reimagine their curriculum and instruction to better realize our beliefs around relevancy, rigor, and approaching our students with an asset based mindset? One might not have an immediate answer to this question– requiring more personal learning and reflection– but it starts with a commitment to reimagining your vision and that can certainly happen today.
Q. Why do you think this ARC work is so important?
A. Great schools center their students; and Noble’s ARC–through focusing on a culture of co-creation, affirmation, relevance–ensures Noble is relentless about centering our students and truly equipping them to complete college and lead choice-filled lives.
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