Professional Learning In Support of Equity

The district has established specific goals and is taking steps to ensure that our Professional Learning provides staff with the knowledge, strategies and tools to support all our students and their families.


  •          Create a model of PD related to race, equity, and access that is sustainable and impactful, linked to evaluation and expectations, and addresses all district employees, differentiating as appropriate.
  •          Provide professional development to all faculty members to directly overcome implicit and explicit bias that allows staff to engage consistently in difficult conversations, for example, about race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, language proficiency, and other matters of diversity.

This year, with funding from the Needham Education Foundation, the district engaged all instructional staff in reading We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be by Cornelius Minor. Each staff member received a copy of the book, professional development through building-level leadership, and two keynote addresses by the author himself. Additionally, Mr. Minor worked with district and department teams in smaller settings to increase teacher's use of data to improve learning that is culturally relevant and provides equitable classroom practices that lift all students.


We continue to expand the staff's knowledge and skills in the use of UDL (Universal Design for Learning), a framework to provide all learners with opportunities for agency, voice, and choice. Additional training on overcoming implicit and explicit bias allows staff to engage in difficult conversations and other matters of diversity. Frequently, staff complete this kind of training through IDEAS (Initiatives for Developing Equity & Achievement for Students).


We envision a cohesive and comprehensive professional learning program evolving over the next two years so that it becomes clear that equitable instructional practices that increase student performance and build equitable school communities is the work of everyone in the Needham Public Schools.


Professional Learning updates will be posted at the close of this school year. Please see below for historical perspective on the action steps carried out over the years to address Professional Learning through the lens of equity.


Action Steps:

-      On November 21, 2018, 900 school and Town staff participated in over 50 workshops designed to discuss issues of racial equity and prepare us to create equitable and inclusive communities of learning. Our keynote speaker was Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. 493 participants provided feedback with 90.2% rating Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum's keynote presentation as extremely/very beneficial and 78.3% rating the overall day of learning as extremely/very beneficial.

-      On June 24, 2019, Needham teachers and administrators joined representatives from other METCO districts and METCO headquarters for a half-day professional development event, Living the Legacy of METCO, designed to connect the inspiring history of METCO to today's classrooms and community practices.

-      All Staff participated in the Professional Development Day, Moving Towards Inclusive Excellence, on November 25, 2020 with Monique Vogelsang, Equity Consultant and Lead Developer of Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum and Dr. Gary Bailey, Equity Consultant.

-      Developed professional resources of support for staff of color (e.g., affinity groups, mentoring, etc.); a prime example was PD for MALANA group (Multi-Race, Asian, Latinx, Native American).

-      Differentiated PD offerings by interest and readiness, and coordinated those efforts with building-based and district-wide professional development

-      Participated in ongoing Initiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students (IDEAS) courses, workshops, and school consultation

-      Participated in METCO Conferences annually.

-      Participated in course on Equity from SRI Leadership.

-      District Leadership Team participated in monthly PD sessions focused on Leading for Learning Through the Lens of Equity & Inclusion.

-      Provided building-based training from Teaching Tolerance: Interrupt, Question, Educate, Echo.

-      Supported Summer courses, summer reading, curriculum/instruction projects.

picture of keynote speakerMETCO PD flier


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