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2021 MD Family Engagement Summit: Creating Holistic Healing Communities

2021 MD Family Engagement Summit: Creating Holistic Healing Communities

Date of the Event: August 05, 2021 | Angelique Kane and Shantay McKinily
Show Notes:

Through virtual, in-person, and hybrid learning environments, educators and families have all been working to create spaces to better support all students. During this session, participants explored how the principles of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), restorative approaches, and trauma-responsive environments can be used to reform and strengthen school community. Through the lens of racial justice and equity, families and communities can partner with educators to create school environments where students can form meaningful relationships and be fully themselves.

Angelique Kane:

Welcome everyone. I just want to say welcome to everyone. I see that the numbers are going up so we’re going to go ahead and get started and if we could go to the next slide. My name is Angelique Kane and I will be your moderator for today and Jessica Lim will be our tech support so if you have any questions feel free to send her a private message by selecting her name in the To section of the chat box, or myself, and we will make sure that you get the assistance ...

Angelique Kane:

Welcome everyone. I just want to say welcome to everyone. I see that the numbers are going up so we’re going to go ahead and get started and if we could go to the next slide. My name is Angelique Kane and I will be your moderator for today and Jessica Lim will be our tech support so if you have any questions feel free to send her a private message by selecting her name in the To section of the chat box, or myself, and we will make sure that you get the assistance that you need.

Angelique Kane:

Next slide. Next slide. I just want to go over some logistics to make sure that everyone gets the best experience here. To view the closed captions, click on the CC button in the controls at the bottom of your screen. We do have two American Sign Language interpreters that are available. If you would like to have them pinned to your screen, you can go ahead and select the three dots next to their name and it appears as though they’re already pinned. If you have any issues with that, please feel free to reach out.

Angelique Kane:

Also, we encourage you to use the chat box for any comments or questions that you may have. I will be monitoring the chat section to make sure that any questions are answered during the Q&A session of our webinar and next slide.

Angelique Kane:

So just want to go over the agenda for today. So we will have some welcoming remarks and then we will have our presentation entitled Creating Holistic Healing Communities featuring Shantay McKinily and then we will have a Q&A section and wrap up.

Angelique Kane:

So I’m going to … I have the pleasure of introducing our wonderful speaker. Shantay McKinily is the Director of the Positive Schools Center, also known as PSC. Prior to serving with PSC, Miss McKinily worked for Baltimore City public schools for 19 years, serving as the principal of a Pre-K through 8 school for the last eight years. Along with this experience in the district, she has certification as a restorative practices facilitator, a trauma responsive master facilitator, and a certified personal leadership coach.

Angelique Kane:

At this time, I would like to welcome Miss Shantay to our virtual stage and I encourage everyone to put on your listening ears and you are in for a real treat.

Shantay McKinily:

Thank you, Angelique. I appreciate you so very much and welcome everyone to our virtual session together. Can we go to the next slide? So as she said, I am the director of the Positive Schools Center, which is within the University of Maryland School of Social Work. So at the Positive School Center, our mission is to create positive and supportive and mindful learning communities where students and school staff connect, develop, and grow and partner with school districts to address punitive discipline and dysfunctional school climate. So essentially, we want to make sure that students are in spaces where they’re being nurtured and we work to help principals create that nurturing environment. Next slide.

Shantay McKinily:

So our framework, we do this by one … Our foundational steps are trauma responsiveness and really healing centered engagement, restorative practice, everything we do especially we mostly service Baltimore city but right now is so important. Everything we do is through a racial and social justice lens because we think that’s central to the work of healing not only school communities but communities as a whole.

Shantay McKinily:

Social and emotional character development and student and family voice. It’s so important that as we begin to engage communities … I know that we have a mixture of teachers, administrators, community members and parents. We’re all part of that same school community, right, so it’s important that every stakeholder has a voice within a school community because the school is not the school. The school is the community. Next slide.

Shantay McKinily:

So we do our work by … We serve leaders. We train leaders. We partner with schools and we partner with students and we actually do a lot of our work partnering with the community. Next slide.

Shantay McKinily:

So a little bit about our programs and then I’m going to get into the meat of this whole thing. I want to tell you about the PSC and then I’m going to get into the meat of the work, right? So we have an intensive climate collaborative where we have 25 to 30 schools. I coach those 25 to 30 schools on really taking small sustainable steps to shift their culture and climate in their building. So we want to make sure that whatever they’re doing is in the DNA of their school, right? So if we’re doing restorative practices, it’s not just this [inaudible 00:06:09] we’re just going to throw it into the schools. It is that we are making sure that it is in everything that we do.

Shantay McKinily:

Then we have our community schools. Our community schools are essential because they reduce … We have eight community schools. They reduce barriers to families because we know that students are successful when barriers are reduced for families, if families have access. Because a lot of times, people are not successful because they don’t have access, right? We take it for granted, access, and so our community schools, all of our community school coordinators are social workers and they’re macro level social workers so they’re not clinical social workers. They’re there to put things in place to, systems in place, to support families so that they are able to do things on their own and to provide families with resources because our theme actually this year is Moving from Transactional to Transformational. How do we not just do this hand to hand thing, that we do a major impact for families?

Shantay McKinily:

Then we have our next generation scholars. This is a group of students that we work with for since they were in sixth grade. They’re in high school now. We prepared them for college and career readiness, right? We know that everybody is not going to go to college. Some of them are going to go directly into their career, some of them are going to be entrepreneurs, but we tried to create a program that supports them in doing that. In our next gen program, we have a racial social justice advocacy part so our students that are now eleventh and twelfth graders have been working to advocate for themselves because a lot of times when we have students, high school students, they don’t have the voice and it’s so important that they do. They don’t have the voice to advocate for themselves and so they’re not as successful. So we want to ensure that we instill tools in them to make them as successful as possible.

Shantay McKinily:

Then we have our advocacy and policy program. We work a lot with the Coalition to Reform School Discipline and other organizations so that we can ensure that the laws that are in place are lining up with the things that we’re trying to do for schools and communities. And also to make sure that that legislation is funded because where money … People prioritize where they put their money and so we also make sure that if there’s some legislation around school culture, climate, family engagement that we’re at the table and we’re advocating for everyone, not only just everyone but especially black and brown students because we know that they are the marginalized community, right?

Shantay McKinily:

Then we have evolving superwoman syndrome support. So I love this. I love all of our initiatives, but evolving superwoman syndrome is we take 15 black women leaders and we support them on sustaining themselves in their position because Doctor Giscomb√©, she has this research on black women taking on this evolving superwoman persona, right, like they can do everything and they can’t. We know that women in general do that but specifically this particular group, we target black women and we support them and sustain them through their position as leaders in Baltimore city schools. But we are open to support different schools throughout the state, different organizations because we believe the more that we touch people, the more minds we can shift, right, to ensure that we create these restorative and nurturing environments.

Shantay McKinily:

So let’s get into the meat of this presentation. You can go to the next slide. I start my presentations off with this notion of brave spaces, and this by Mickey Scott Bay Jones and I’m going to read it to you and what I want you to do is I want you to think about this and I want you to put it in the chat any line that kind of resonates with you and then at the end, Angelique, I’m going to ask you to kind of read some of those lines to me because when we think about schools and we think about communities, a lot of times it’s difficult for us to create that brave space but we need to with that safe space. I’m going to offer that we need to create this brave space so that families and communities feel comfortable being in this space together and they know and it’s a very intentional space for them. So I’m going to read this for your hearing and then you can … Angelique will … At the end she will pull out some of those words.

Shantay McKinily:

Together we will create a brave space because there’s no such things as a safe space. We exist in a real world. We all carry scars and we all have caused wounds. In this space, we seek to turn down the volume from the outside world. We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere. We call each other to more truth and love. We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow. We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know. We will not be perfect. This space will not be perfect. It will not always be what we wish it to be but it will be our brave space together and we will do it … It will be our brave space together and we will work on it side by side.

Shantay McKinily:

So think about that. Think about your community engagement that you’re doing. Think about school communities. Think about coming into a space. You’re there to visit your child at school and they have created this brave space. Just think about children being in brave spaces in school where we acknowledge that all of them have scars and that we have caused them and they have them, right, or that the space is not going to be perfect. So Angelique, let me know some of the things that they may have put in the chat that resonated with them.

 

Angelique Kane:

Yes. So Vanessa says that it will be our brave space together and we will work on it side by side. Vanessa absolutely loves it. Heather chimes in and says, “Love the evolving superwoman syndrome support and also loving the brave space.” Chelsea chimes in and says, “We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere.” Rachel, “We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.”

Shantay McKinily:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Angelique Kane:

And Heather chimes in again and says, “We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.”

Shantay McKinily:

Yes.

Angelique Kane:

Jane, “We will not be perfect.” Absolutely. Al Bullock says, “We will not be perfect. This space will not be perfect. Thank you.” Karen says, “I’m open to the term brave space instead of safe space.” Julie comes in and says, “We, with emphasis on the we, have a responsibility to examine what we think we know.”

Shantay McKinily:

Yes. So-

Angelique Kane:

Jake Conner, there’s one more. “We will not be perfect and so we have to help our children to understand that we don’t expect them to be.”

Shantay McKinily:

Thank you so much and I think it was Karen that said that she likes this notion of brave spaces. So what I want to offer you, if you can … Whenever you get a chance, Google. It’s an article called Emergent Brave Spaces. I don’t know who it’s by, but it’ll come up and really Emergent Brave Spaces, it really goes deeper into this notion of safe spaces versus brave spaces because safe spaces really says that no harm will be done in those spaces, right? Safe spaces makes you think that there are going to be spaces where no harm is done, but sometimes harm is done and we don’t even know that we’re doing it, right? So brave spaces allows us to have voice regardless of the situation, that we’re able to not be perfect in our space, right? So we’re going to talk a little bit today just about how we show up and this is how we show up in these brave spaces. We’re not going to be perfect. Perfection does not exist. We call each other to more truth and love.

Shantay McKinily:

Then someone else says that we seek to turn down the outside world. Sometimes it’s so hard, even right now, right, to turn down what’s going on in the outside so that we can be in the moment of just this space that we’re in, right? Because I venture to guess that some of you are … I can just say that me. Right now while I’m speaking, while I’m here presenting, I’m preparing my niece to get ready to go to Milwaukee and my dad because my aunt died and so we’re going to go to her funeral. I’m thinking about what do I need to do, like we’re all … But I’m working very hard to be in this moment and when we’re engaging schools and when we’re engaging in community, I think we owe it to the people that we serve and the people that we are interacting with that we are staying engaged and that we are living in that moment.

Shantay McKinily:

So you actually hit … I would offer that maybe at the beginning of your class you share … If you have a class of maybe … Because I was a principal of a K to 8 so I think third graders would be able to really, and second graders you can change some of the language or you can break down the language, but third grade you can really … Up until high school, you can start off your year just really thinking and looking at this poem and dissecting it because this is the space you want to create in your classrooms, right? So next slide.

Shantay McKinily:

So what’s the ingredients for a healthy learning environment? So when we’re trying to think about this whole list of-

Speaker 3:

[inaudible 00:16:57] bus rider. So this is-

Angelique Kane:

Hey, I just want to invite everyone to mute if you are not speaking.

Speaker 3:

[inaudible 00:17:10] why would he change if he’s at the same school? Oh, so one in the morning.

Angelique Kane:

Okay. So I muted everyone and Shantay, you can pick it back up.

Shantay McKinily:

I’m so sorry for that. I apologize. So what’s the ingredients for a healthy learning environment? A healthy learning community? What I want to do is I want you guys to … Whatever you think should be some of the ingredients, some of the nutrients of a healthy learning environment, I want you to list those things in the chat and then Angelique will kind of share them out to us because I really want your input on what you think is going to create a healthy learning environment that has a big robust community and parent engagement program in it, right, so where everyone is respected. So I want you to give me your ingredients and then I’ll tell you mine.

Shantay McKinily:

So I’m going to give everybody like one or two minutes to do that.

Shantay McKinily:

(silence)

Angelique Kane:

So the answers are starting to come in and I’m going to ahead and start reading them.

Shantay McKinily:

Thank you.

Angelique Kane:

Good listening skills. Embracing … Oh, they’re coming in fast. Embracing different cultures. The ability to listen to what a person is telling you. Accepting of multiple truths. Being open to differences, including different experiences. Empowerment. Education. Equity. First, being warm and welcoming to all so that each parent and child feels cared for and special. Making all children feel valued. Sensitivity and understanding. Being present in the moment and listening. Trust. Two way communication and relationship. Respect for everyone’s culture. Being empathetic. Acceptance in regards to diversity, culture, customs, and views. Being open minded. Engaging and empowering. Listening to hear without listening to react or respond. Respecting people for who they are. Having an asset based view of others. Diversity adds flavor. Acceptance of all. Equity. Advocacy. Empowerment. Respect. Being careful not to talk down to anyone. Y’all are on something today.

Shantay McKinily:

Yes, they are. That sounds like … Yes. So I have all of that, so you guys … I think I have all of that. Have you ever seen Russell Crowe’s movie A Beautiful Mind? So you know he has posters everywhere and it was just so much stuff going on. Well, my team kind of put together a graphic for My Beautiful Mind. Can we go to the next screen?

Shantay McKinily:

So when I think about holistic learning environment, I .. This is what I think of and so I’m going to take … This is my framework for a holistic learning environment. So the round circle is race, justice and equity. That is race, social justice, gender, sexual equality. All of those things are all in that yellow piece. It needs to be interwoven in just who we are and what we do in having all of our conversation.

Shantay McKinily:

So that’s there but then, you know, the five competencies of social and emotional learning. It’s in there as well. So self-management, responsible decision making, social awareness, relationship skills, self-awareness. So what I want to offer you, and I’ve been telling this kind of to my schools as they’re reopening, I believe that because students have not been socialized in over a year, some students they did not go back when school opened, so we are really going to have to think about this social emotional development, right, and how do we model it in families and communities and schools. It also pins a lot of the tension in the beginning of the school year on that self-management and self-awareness because I think it’s going to be pivotal in how we operate in schools moving forward.

Shantay McKinily:

So I think this is … So SEL is just like a foundational piece that we need to work on. I also want to offer this to you. A lot of my work, a lot of my conversation is not, “So, let’s fix kids.” I know that’s shocking. I know you want to say that we’re going to fix kids and I’m going to give you the answer to fix kids and fix community. One, we’re not fixing anyone, right? We’re supporting people into becoming better and a lot of times we had to model that. So what I’m going to offer in schools and in communities it’s up to adults to shift mindsets and so that we can shift how we interact in our culture, in our spaces and we can hold space for communities and families and students and one another in a very authentic way because it’s about how we hold those spaces.

Shantay McKinily:

So social, emotional development, I think we all as adult … I work on it consistently. It’s something that I definitely try … I think about what area do I still need to grow in. And then are my puzzle pieces, right? So my puzzle pieces, and you may not know what it is but I’m going to explain it later on, the pair of aces. So the pair of aces is about trauma. Socially engineered trauma. So we always have … We have to think about especially now we’re not okay. This year we’ve seen so many people die. Our family members have died. We’ve seen so much on the internet. We’ve seen so much. All of that has changed us, whether we know … A good book is called The Body Keeps Score, and The Body Keeps Score is a book on trauma and it really goes through even though we think that we’re over things, we’re not really over it and our body is holding on to it and certain things will trigger that, right?

Shantay McKinily:

We store that and so it is … So even though we’ve seen all this, we’ve seen insurrection, we’ve seen so much in the last year and a half, two years that everybody has been impacted. We all have experienced trauma. So trauma is very individualized, right, so my sister and I … I have two sisters, a older one and a younger one. We grew up in the same household but we experience life so differently. So even in your house, and this is what I want to … Specifically you as participants, you as a person. You have experienced so much and it’s going to be totally different from what your husband experienced, what your child experienced, right? So trauma is very individualized and so we need to acknowledge that and then let people experience in the way they experience it and grow because it’s not a period. It doesn’t mean your life is over. It means that there’s some tools that you need to put in place.

Shantay McKinily:

So when I started thinking … Trauma’s such a big thing for me because we always think about wholeness, so my definition of wholeness is a little bit different and I’ll share it with you briefly. My definition of wholeness is that we take all of our broke … It’s not being fixed. It’s not being fixed at all. It’s the acknowledgment that we’re broken. It’s the acknowledgement that we’re broken but the beautiful thing about that is that we can take all these tools that we have to create a beautiful picture, right? We can take all those broken pieces, like a mosaic. Take all those broken pieces and create a beautiful picture by using different tools that we’re going to learn.

Shantay McKinily:

So I don’t think about wholeness as like, “Let me just fix myself.” I’m talking you as the person, right, because I think that it’s important when we are educators, when we hold space for kids and families that we always have to do some self-evaluation, we always have to do some self-healing because that’s what shows up in our space. So it’s important that we know that our wholeness is not … We’re not going to be fixed. We’re going to hold on to all those different things but the beautiful part is we can take those things that happened to us and create a beautiful picture. So I’ll let that resonate for you just for a sec.

 

Shantay McKinily:

All right. So, another part is restorative practices and we’ll talk a little it about that. I know people say it all the time, but we’re going to talk about it, and then virtues language and then family, the voice and advocacy, right, so those are all the components of my little holistic community, and this is what I kind of step by step take my principals through and also my community groups, right, because I was a principal of merging schools so they really had to go through … The two schools had to go through a healing process in order for them to merge together to become one K to 8 and it took us a couple of years. Next slide.

Shantay McKinily:

So I discussed the pair of aces. So I want to give you just a moment to kind of look at this and think about what you see.

Shantay McKinily:

So it’s important that we think about the pair of aces when we’re looking at community, family, students and even our colleagues because we have to understand that what we’re seeing in front of us is a whole history that comes along with it, right? There’s so many things that come along … Like when you see me, sometimes people like, “I don’t see color. I just see you.” Ma’am, I need you to see … Sir, I need you to see color. I need you to see that I am a black woman because all that comes with a black woman is coming with me and my conversation with you, right? So we need to think about we can’t just take people as this tree.

Shantay McKinily:

So if you think about people, if you think about yourself as the tree and think about the adverse childhood experiences around it, that’s all that in the tree. Those are all the leaves, right? So think about the root of it. The root of it is the communities we grew up … I grew up in Milwaukee, right? Still in Milwaukee in the root of this was poverty, discrimination, community disruption, lack of opportunity. It’s in every community that we serve, every community that we’ve grown up in, every community that we’ve been in. These things exist so I want you to go back and think about yourself. What’s in your soil because whatever’s in your soil is how you hold space, especially if it’s untapped. It’s how you hold space for school, for people at school, communities, families and your colleagues and if you’re a school leader, definitely a school leader.

Shantay McKinily:

So we really have to think about what’s at the root of this? It’s not just about community adverse experiences because I’m going to offer that the community adverse experiences contributed to the childhood adverse experiences, right? So we could go deeper at a different time about trauma and about how we address it and how it … The pathology of it, but I’m just going to briefly … I want you to think about what’s in your soil and think about how deeply rooted it is. How deeply rooted is these things, poverty … It’s generational, so when we think about a tree of this size, it probably had took like twenty years, thirty years for that tree to grow as big as the trees that we see outside. Just think how deep those roots are.

Shantay McKinily:

So that’s what we call generational trauma. So when we see people showing up, that’s what they’re coming with and in a holistic community, we can’t ignore it. We have to acknowledge it and we need to work on how do we create this healing engagement community, right?

Shantay McKinily:

So next slide. Then we have to think about socially engineered trauma and socially engineered trauma is … So it’s not enough just to consider childhood experiences and community adverse experiences in the pathology of trauma. We really need to think about systematic oppression, right? Systematic oppression and racism and how that has played a role in the lives of the people that we serve, communities that we serve and ourselves. So there is an article called Socially Engineered Trauma as well and so we really need to start thinking about when people show up and we have to give them space to show up, how they show up. I always tell people, “Let people be how they be, without judgment,” because they’re giving you the best that they can and a lot of times it is from this notion of socially engineered trauma. It’s from this notion or this place of these oppressive forces because I think all of those things kind of contributed to one another.

Shantay McKinily:

So you have socially engineered trauma, this oppressive systematic racism, patriarchy type of thing, right, and then it’s contributed to these community adverse experiences which contributes to the childhood adverse experience. So they all kind of contribute to one another and all of that shows up in our spaces that we serve and the people that we serve. Tell you a little bit of secret. It shows up in you, so sometimes we hold space with our bias. It doesn’t matter whether you black or white. You have bias, right? So our bias is sometimes put on the people that we serve. It’s so important and that’s why those things are at the top of my graphic because we really need to understand people. If we understand people then we can understand … Then we can teach them. Next slide.

 

Shantay McKinily:

Restorative practices. Oh my goodness. So everyone throws around this term restorative practice. “I want to be in a restorative practice school. I want to be in a restorative practice school.” So every time a school or someone says, “We do restorative practice,” I’m like, “You do it? Really?” Because restorative practice is not what you do, it’s who you are. Restorative is that sweet spot between being nurturing and holding people accountable. That’s what a restorative is. So what you’ll see … One of the tenets of restorative practice is the social discipline window and the social discipline window really is it gives you an explicit model of what relationships should be. Some of us just implicitly do it. We implicitly kind of just establish those relationships. We are implicitly able to find that balance, that sweet spot from holding people accountable and also nurturing them.

Shantay McKinily:

But some people cannot. They have a difficult time and so they have to be very intentional about identifying ways to establish relationships with families, communities and their colleagues. Some people really have a difficult time doing that and especially from this pandemic where we really haven’t had to interact with people if we did not want to, right, so the social discipline window is key so when you think about this, someone that is high … You’ll read it this way, the axes that you see. If you’re high in control and you’re low in support, they say that person is punitive. If you’re low in control and low in support, they’ll say that person is neglectful. But if you’re high in support and low in control, that person is permissive. And if you’re high in control and high in support, that person is restorative. But the crazy thing is, we strive so it’s a 80/20 rule. We strive to be restorative 80% of the time.

Shantay McKinily:

For all our moms, all our dads on this call, you ought to know that y’all best lay between these boxes, right, one minute … I want to just ask you really quickly in the chat which box do you land in most of the time? So I want to offer, too, some people say, “Well, at work I do this.” Look, okay. At work you do it but sometimes, I’m going to tell you, work kind of comes into the home as well, just so you know that. Or home kind of comes into work as well. So I want you in the chat to just tell me which box do you kind of land in most of the time? So if you can, just put that in the chat. Are you like the punitive person, and I want to say there’s nothing wrong with it. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a growth process. We’re all growing. So just if you’re a punitive person, restorative person, neglectful person, or permissive, right? So Angelique, what do we got going on?

Angelique Kane:

We have permissive. I have a restorative. A permissive with an exclamation point. Somebody is brave, using this brave space, and honest about being punitive.

Shantay McKinily:

Yes. Angelique, what box are you in?

Angelique Kane:

I think I’m punitive.

Shantay McKinily:

You think so? Oh my goodness. [crosstalk 00:38:00]

Angelique Kane:

I have to work very hard … I say a lot of things but that’s because I am acknowledging my brokenness. I know that I need to work towards assertive and I’m not in punitive all the time, but I think a lot of times I land in punitive. I have to work to not be.

Shantay McKinily:

Okay. Okay.

Angelique Kane:

And I keep shuffling between punitive and restorative. Restorative. I have a couple of restorative.

Shantay McKinily:

Really? Okay. So what I want to do, really briefly, I didn’t and I’m going to apologize ahead of time because in rehearsal I didn’t do this but I’m going to do it now. What I want us to do, I always do this so never hire me to come present because you’re going to get what you get. So what I want you to do is I’m going to put you in groups of five really quickly and for just a couple, like four minutes, I want you to kind of get a chance to talk and tell the person in your group which box you land in, whether you’re in punitive, neglectful, permissive, or restorative. So I’m going to give you a couple of minutes to do that. Let’s see. I’m going to give you five minutes to do that. So everybody gets one or two minutes, one minute, and you can just go ahead and share out which box you land in.

Shantay McKinily:

So you should see on your screen a room. Does everybody see their rooms pop up?

 

Shantay McKinily:

(silence)

Speaker 4:

Hey, Jessica. Are you there?

Jessica Lim:

Yes.

Shantay McKinily:

Jessica, we’re going to stop recording for a second.

Jessica Lim:

Sure. Pause.

Speaker 4:

Jessica-

Shantay McKinily:

Lots more signaling … Or Doctor Williams. I listened to them speak and I’m like, “Oh my gosh. I could never …” They are excellent and so I may not put my words together right all the time. I may not do it right all the time and so we have to consider that that’s what our parents … They may not put their words right. They might not know the words to use, right? As educators, we have certain language. We know things and we have to understand that people don’t know what they don’t know. So we have to provide them and model for them ways that they can pull out excellence in one another and we do that by pulling that out in that. So virtues language is really … If you have a chance, if your school has a chance to get the training is so very important. I think it’s key to creating this space of a holistic community. Next slide.

Shantay McKinily:

And so I want us to … So we’ve gone through community adverse experiences, briefly we’ve talked about socially engineered trauma. We spent a little bit of time on restorative practice and then we also just talked about virtues. So as a school community, I think it’s important … So I do a lot of work around school transformation and also in community groups around, like how do we transform how we interact as a group. So I really want to offer, and this goes for everyone, that the success in this is not this straight line. It’s really this hot mess of a design over here that everything is all around in circles. This is actually life. So for me, I started … Look, I started a diet on Sunday and that’s Sunday. I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to go to the store. I’m going to go to Whole Foods.” I buy all this stuff to make smoothies, spend $200, and then see cookies at the checkout and then realize, “Okay, so I’m going to start again tomorrow.”

Shantay McKinily:

So it’s not this straight line profession. It is all of these twists and turns that’s going to make this experience of life very beautiful so I need you all to know that this is a path so as you work as a teacher, a community, as a parent, a community advocate, a principal, just think about this is a journey. You’re going on a journey to get to this space and so you take one step at a time. If I would offer which one I would do first, I definitely think everything we do, every conversation, as we desegregate our data, race, equity … Pull out people by race, gender so that we’re making sure that we’re meeting the needs of all those marginalized groups.

Shantay McKinily:

I would really start with the restorative practice piece because restorative practice is foundational to everything because relationships are foundational to everything and it gives you space to have conversations about race and equity. It gives you space to have conversations about virtues language and how we speak to each other. It gives you space to really have that conversation around trauma where people feel open and free enough to talk, right, because we have to create. We have to create spaces where people … Healing spaces where people feel warm and welcome and so if you would look and, “How do we start this? Where do we go in that graphic? Where do we start?” I would start restorative practice and then kind of go from there. Next slide.

Shantay McKinily:

So if you need to reach me, we’re going to go through question and answer. If you need to reach me, you can … What I want you all to do right now is to put your phone up … Turn your camera on, put your phone next to the QR code and you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook. We post a lot. We post articles. We post our speaking series. We post so many things. And then just go to our website. So we’ll be able to hopefully support you. My email address is there. Feel free to email me. I am normally quick to respond, but if I don’t respond, someone from my team will respond really quickly. So we want to make sure we work together to support families, communities and schools to be environments where students are able to be nurtured. Thank you.

Angelique Kane:

Thank you. So we have the great part of this, is now it’s time for the Q&A section and we did get some good questions and some of them you’ve answered, but I want to highlight first the ones that are … That have not been answered loosely.

Angelique Kane:

So the first thing we have is, “In what environment would it be most appropriate to start a holistic healing community?”

Shantay McKinily:

That’s a great question. So can you go back a little bit to the graphic? All the way back to the graphic of the holistic community. I think that you … So right there. I think that you can be able to … You’ll be able to do this in I think any environment, but I would say it is got to be a place where you know that there’s going to be some longevity. If it’s a committee that’s only like a six week committee, then you can’t do all this, but if it’s a school, if it is a neighborhood, community organization, if it’s any of those things, you will be able … That’s the perfect environment. It doesn’t even matter the demographics of the environment. You still should be able to work out creating this holistic environment, a healing engagement environment.

Shantay McKinily:

So eventually what I’m going to do is I’m going to change, because I’ve been doing a lot of work and a lot of research just on healing centered engagement and so what I do know is my idea of this holistic healing community, it is in alignment with a healing centered engagement approach, right, so I believe that they can overlap so if you do some reading on healing centered engagement, you’ll be able to see where these things will fit in. It can be done because what we need to do, considering that everyone has experienced some level of trauma given where we’ve been, what we can do is just automatically create a healing centered engagement approach to how we do our work because that means we’re going to address the needs of everybody whether they consider themselves having experienced trauma or not. So I hope that answers the question.

Angelique Kane:

Thank you. Our next question is, “Are there any books or literature that you recommend on virtues language?”

Shantay McKinily:

Virtues language. So … Oh, that’s … Nobody ever asked me that question. There is-

Angelique Kane:

It’s okay. I got you, because I found a link that I was going to play with. I’m going to pop a link into the chat for you.

Shantay McKinily:

So yeah. So I’m a virtue … And it’s crazy because I’m a virtues trainer, right, so I train in virtues language and we have tons of resources, so … Let me just give you a little secret. On my phone I have a virtues app. I don’t know if you can see it but it’s a virtues app on my phone. If you go to your app store, it’s a virtues app and what it does, is it gives you a list of virtues … Let me just move this out of the way. It gives you a list of virtues. So for example, I just pick a virtue for the day. Like this is appreciation. So every day I would just pick a virtue and so what I have my schools do, after they experience the training and I give them all the resources, but you can do it. You can also look online. I give them all the resources. We assign virtues to teachers, like, “This week we’re going to work on excellence. This week we’re going to work on self-discipline,” and as a school they go through this virtue, these different virtues, every week just to increase the student’s vocabulary and to get them to understand.

Shantay McKinily:

So Angelique, if you found some online to virtues, definitely. If you email me, whoever asked that question, if you email me, I can provide you with articles and everything on virtues. Just email me. I have interns that will be able to send you out some stuff.

Angelique Kane:

Okay. Thank you. Our next question is, “Where would you suggest we begin building a holistic community and perfect the family engagement?” So I know you spoke about how and how to show up in that space, but where would be the best place to initiate that type of environment?

Shantay McKinily:

So like where in the training sequence or where in … So like where in our sequence of training? Again, I would start … If I had to look at that design and figure out as a school where I want to go, what training I want the school to receive, I would start with restorative practice because restorative practice helps you to begin to shift mindsets in schools because a lot of times it is simply … Like when we think about … I had to admit that I, and I’m not bragging or anything because it’s actually terrible, I had to admit that I contributed to the school to prison pipeline just based on my mindset before I began to do research and before I began to think about how I am just disproportionately putting certain students out of school, suspending them consistently.

Shantay McKinily:

So depending on when you began teaching, when you started your educational journey … For me, when I began, it was zero tolerance. The State of Maryland was zero tolerance. We would suspend all the time for anything, like any infraction, but now it’s a more restorative, equitable kind of policy. It’s a work in progress, everything’s a work in a progress, but it’s not zero tolerance. So some of us still have that mindset of zero tolerance and we’re able to … We just want people to be pushed out and exclude. We believe in exclusionary practices.

Shantay McKinily:

So there’s some mindset shifts that I had to do and I began to do it when I … Later in my years of being a principal. My first year, I’m going to tell you, I’m going to be honest. My first year, I probably suspended a lot of people because I was like, “I’m the principal. Who are you talking to like that?” But then I had to think about where they’re coming from, so I began this journey of just figuring out how do I interact with the person beyond who I’m seeing in front of them and let them be who they be in the school and explore what they want to explore in the school. So I think restorative practices really sets that, sets the foundation for it to be able to do that because the training takes you through a space of just interrogating how you have relationship with people and your mindsets.

Angelique Kane:

Thank you. Thank you for your transparency with that because we know growth … We spoke about this earlier in the presentation about wholeness is acknowledging brokenness and I mentioned that before but I think … You said a lot of things but I think that’s one that’s going to stick with me.

Angelique Kane:

Our next question is, you spoke about letting people be when they show up, and the question is, “How do we do that without letting go of order?”

Shantay McKinily:

Oh my goodness, that’s such a good question because it is a control thing, right? So it really is. So it’s funny because I went to … I was a … I taught middle school English and I became a middle school … I was a high school assistant principal so I’ve done K through 12 administration, a middle school assistant principal, high school assistant principal and the things I used to tell my students. Put a bubble in it. Like elementary. Put a bubble in it, keep your mouth closed. You have to sit here, you have to do this, you have to do that because I thought that was the way to keep order but then I went to a private school in the state of Maryland. I was just visiting because they wanted me to visit. Students were able to sit … If they sat on top of their desk and did their work because that was the best way that they functioned. If they sat in a beanbag chair … They were able to be like … They were actually able to be who they be and it wasn’t as controlling.

Shantay McKinily:

I think that we create environments where we feel like we have to control people and we need to figure out … And again, that’s the restorative practice piece, right? It’s a thing to hold them accountable, right, and also nurture their creativity. So that’s how you have to kind of figure out how do I nurture the creativity of the class but still hold them accountable to their work?

Shantay McKinily:

So if I am sitting in a chair and I’m doing my work and I’m not really bothering anyone but I may not be sitting the way you want me to sit, then am I wrong? Because that’s the best way that I’m able to do my work. So I think that we need to really think about … And also you need to re-envision what classrooms are like because people have been working at home and they have been in their own kind of setting and so we can’t just … If you try to control people, if you try to stifle them in a sense, because control sometimes does that, then their pushback may be to be disruptive. Their pushback may be to be loud and push back and fight and stuff like that. So we have to be careful when we think about this notion of control because it can really backfire on us.

Angelique Kane:

Thank you. So that is all of the questions that we have but I wanted to really highlight some of the comments that have stuck out. So one of the things is … One of the slides you mentioned what is in our soil. It appears that that resonated with someone because what’s in our soil is the foundation of who we are as a person. I wanted to highlight that one thing and then someone else says that is a really good … This is another way to approach engagement that they probably have not thought about and that our educational classroom skills look like the one room schoolhouse so thank you for bringing that up.

Angelique Kane:

Then as I was talking, we did get another question from Patty. “How would you start restorative practice in the classroom?” So how would you start?

Shantay McKinily:

I would start … So Patty, I think a lot of times when people think of restorative practice, they automatically think about circles. Circles are a tool that you can use to allow students to have voice. So what you can do, if your school has not bought into this whole restorative piece, you could do some … There’s plenty of articles out there on restorative practice, but in your classroom, you can begin with just having a small morning meeting where you’re sitting in a circle because circles are … When you think about restorative practice, circles are symbols of connectedness, that continuous flow, right? So when you think about from the Indian culture, circles. From the African culture. People utilized … Tribes sat in circles. So when you call a family meeting, everybody’s in a circle. Everybody’s in a circle just sitting there talking.

Shantay McKinily:

So circles are symbolic and they’re so meaningful so Patty, I would start there. Do some research on restorative practice but try to start some … And if you Google, they give you questions. You can email me. We’ll give you questioning that you can do for your classroom as you begin to start being more restorative. But it also is going to be … One thing that people miss out because they always think about circles, but restorative practice also has fair process, so they have their three Es, engagement, explanation, and expectation. So those are the thee Es of fair process and it helps you when you’re trying to establish community in a classroom because it’ll help you as you start to establish your rules and so on.

Shantay McKinily:

So I would just start there because there’s a lot of things with restorative practice. It’s just not about circle. It really is mindset shift. It’s mindset work and so if you do those shifts, it will be … You’re going to naturally create this restorative environment.

Angelique Kane:

Thank you. And Patty says thank you. So I guess, Shantay, at this moment I just want to say if you could leave us with one drop of information that you really want us to remember tomorrow, to reflect on at the end of this summit, I just want to give you a chance to kind of say, “If you don’t remember anything else, remember this.” What would that be?

Shantay McKinily:

So that’s a good thing. So if you don’t remember anything, I think what you should remember is that all the work begins with you. It begins with the person that is holding the space. It begins with you. We have to acknowledge our trauma. We have to acknowledge what’s going on with us. We have to acknowledge where we are in our social emotional development and that will help us as we being to support and nurture students and understanding that we are not perfect and that this is a journey, right? So give ourself grace to be able to acknowledge that those things exist and interrogate ourselves even when it comes race and equity. Interrogate ourselves because all of how we show up, it’s pushed on, it’s mirrored in the people that we interact with.

Shantay McKinily:

There’s been so many times where I’ve been into this chaotic space and because of how I show up in many spaces, the chaos dissipates because I’m so, like … I’m kind of more like a very calm and nurturing kind of person so as I’m talking to people, they’re heightened … The way they’re approaching spaces, coming into the space, it’ll kind of start to calm down. So I would just have you kind of interrogate how you’re showing up and start doing some self-work because it’s going to change how you lead classrooms and communities.

Angelique Kane:

Thank you. That was amazing and we have a lot of people in the chat that are saying they want to finger snap. Yes. Finger snaps for Shantay and talking about how it’s been very enlightening and thought provoking so I want to say thank you and I want to hand this back over to our technical host, Jessica.

Jessica Lim:

Hey, everyone. Such a rich session. This was amazing. I would like to thank both Shantay and Angelique for a job well done. This was amazing. We do have three more sessions coming up starting at 2:15 to the end of the conference so we have Returning to School : Listening and Learning from Immigrant Parents by Laura Gardner, Introduction to Language-Focused Family Engagement. Our speaker is Lorena Mancilla. How to Build a Village : Why Partnerships Matter by Amanda Ensor and Sheila Jackson.

Jessica Lim:

So I hope you all get a chance to join us for the next session and connect with us. Come join in the conversation. For more information you can visit marylandfamilyengage.org, that’s our website, or connect with us on social media. We are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at MDEngageEarly. So we have all the information on the screen and before you guys leave, very important, please let us know what you think through this survey. I’m going to drop a link in the chat box as well. Before you exit, please take some time to take our survey, let us know what you think and yes. So we’ll see you in the next round of sessions. Hope you guys get a little bit that you can go use the bathroom or whatever. Take a little break for a second and we’ll see you soon.

Jessica Lim:

So thank you so much everyone. Take the survey.

 

 

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