For those who might be new to thinking about social justice and its relationship to achieving equitable outcomes in schools, a common question is, Where do I begin? This session explores three foundational constructs for understanding social justice: privilege, implicit bias, and intersectionality. Additionally, it discusses the importance of individuals engaging in self-reflection to become more aware of how these concepts can negatively affect their professional practice. Although educators are committed to serving children, families, schools, and communities, based on our own intersecting identities and lived experiences, we also have different histories with racism, prejudice, discrimination, inequity, and systems of power and privilege that affect how we view the world (NASP, 2016). Allowing ourselves the time and space to think critically about, and perhaps wrestle with, these constructs is a necessary first step in promoting equitable outcomes in our respective settings.
To help attendees accurately understand children’s functioning and performance, this session focuses on assessment approaches that gather different types of information from a variety of sources. Specific attention is given to evaluating racially and ethnically minoritized (REM) students, including English Learners (ELs) and children living in low-income and economic marginalization (LIEM), for gifted education and Black students for social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties (e.g., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD). Implications for developing socially just assessment and identification processes to improve equitable outcomes in schools and school systems will be discussed.