The Central Falls school district, working with Diversity Talks and the Center for Youth and Community Leadership in Education, will launch a project called Re-imagine Our Future. The goal is to bring students and families into the discussion of what holds students back from graduating high school prepared to attend college and pursue meaningful careers.

How Effective is Traditional Professional Development?

According to the teacher policy organization TNTP, on average, in the United States, districts spend $18,000 on professional development, per educator, with only a 30% improvement rate for educators. There is a strong disconnect between the professional development services provided from outside providers and the implementation, which takes place within the classroom.

Diversity Talks offers 12 hours of student-led professional development with cohorts of up to 40 educators per year. These sessions are strongly encouraged to be broken down into 8-1.5 hour sessions over the course of an academic school year however, entities are able to personalize the professional development sessions to fit their population and have the flexibility to choose tiered packages over the course of 3 years.

March 25, 2017, Diversity Talks piloted their first professional development to 35 educators from across Rhode Island at the Empowering Educators of Color Conference. The team submitted a one page proposal to conduct a Power & Privilege workshop, which focused on the many existing systems in our country and how power plays a huge role in dictating decisions.

"Change within the education system begins to take form once a level of discomfort is reached. But in order for this change to take place, it is the responsibility of the educator and student to start a conversation that includes all voices within the classroom. Educators must be willing to relinquish their power by allowing students to have a voice in their learning, an opportunity to have conversations as it pertains to diversity, and ultimately, a seat at the table.