As part of its ongoing efforts to close the achievement gap, the Palo Alto school district is hosting a University of California, Los Angeles expert on race and education in January.
The Jan. 9 event will be the first in a series focused on the achievement gap. New Equity Coordinator Keith Wheeler said he is launching the series with the goal of keeping these issues at the forefront of district and community conversations.
"I want equity to be a continuous conversation from Churchill (Avenue, the location of the district office) down to every site in the community," he said.
The first speaker will be Tyrone Howard, professor and associate dean for equity and inclusion at UCLA. Howard is the founder and director of UCLA's Black Male Institute, an interdisciplinary effort "dedicated to improving the educational experiences and life chances of Black males," its website states, and was also the director of UCLA's Center X, a consortium of education professionals focused on social justice and educational equity in Los Angeles schools.
His research has focused on the achievement gap facing African-American and other minority students and the "importance of providing teachers the skills and knowledge to assist them in reversing persistent underachievement," a UCLA biography states.
At the Palo Alto event, Howard will discuss issues such as racial awareness in the classroom, developing cultural competence and how poverty intersects with race, culture and gender.
Wheeler said the talk is targeted at not only district faculty and staff who work with minority and low-income students, but also other students, parents and community members.
For the next event in the series, Wheeler plans to moderate a panel of minority and low-income students, faculty and staff who will speak about their experiences in the district in February.
The Howard talk will take place from 6-8 p.m. at the district office, 25 Churchill Ave. Spanish and Mandarin translation as well as child care will be available. For more information, go to pausd.org.