Please Note: ESC offices will be closed with restricted access beginning Monday, November 23, 2020 through at least January 15, 2021. However, our staff are ready to serve you remotely. Please see our contact page or staff directory to reach ESC staff via email and phone. Our North Office location is still available for background check and fingerprinting services. Thank you. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Support

The ESC of Central Ohio is committed to cultivating inclusive environments in which the opportunity gap is closed and ALL students succeed. To support districts and schools, the ESC offers trainings in several areas such as implicit bias, systemic racism, cultural competency, and social group identity.

Training Session Descriptions

Implicit Bias
This seminar is designed for groups who seek to learn where their ‘blind spots’ are. Implicit bias can be described as an automatic and unconscious associations people make between certain groups of people and stereotypes about members of that group. In many cases, these unconscious associations can influence one’s behavior, causing individuals to respond/act in ways that are unintentionally discriminatory. Decades of research has shown that implicit biases exist in the absence of overt bigotry, and greatly shape our social interactions and decision-making processes, even in spite of good intentions and the existence of nondiscriminatory policies, practices and standards. After learning where our ‘blind spots ’are, we will work to begin the journey of continuous self-reflection and disrupting our individual biases.

Introduction to Systemic Racism
This seminar is designed for groups who value diversity, but also seek a better understanding of race and racism in the history of the United States. It introduces groups to the idea that racism is a systemic, institutionalized problem that requires strategic structural and cultural mindset shifts to dismantle.

Confronting Systemic Racism
This in-depth seminar is designed for groups who long for a deeper understanding of systemic racism and how it manifests in education. Groups will create a shared language for their school/district to effectively talk about racism and how it functions in the larger society, engage in a comprehensive socio-historical interrogation of institutional racism in the United States, and explore frameworks for moving toward antiracist transformation.

Building Capacity for Courage Conversations
This seminar prioritizes the impact of race and other dimensions of identity on student learning and achievement disparities. Engage in collegial, thoughtful and tough conversations about race and racism, how each impacts the culture of schools, and practice employing strategies for identifying and addressing policies, programs and practices that negatively impact students.

Critical Cultural Competency
This seminar is designed to help groups cultivate space safe spaces and to be reflexive about how culture shapes individuals, schools and other institutions that we engage with each day. Together, teams will deconstruct and contextualize power dynamics, develop skills that foster cultural mindset shifts, identify and begin to develop plans to disrupt old patterns that reinforce inequitable practices, and understand the importance of multiple perspectives/voices in creating inclusive environments of belonging.

Social Group Identity, Power & Conflict
This workshop is designed for those who want to learn more about how all social identities, including race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, ability, and language (to name a few) intersect to create very unique lived experiences. Specifically, intersectionality – the interconnectedness and simultaneity of oppression – will be explored as a valuable analytic/methodology in building inclusive school communities and achieving equitable outcomes for all students.


2020 Equity Institute

The 2020 Equity Institute provides you with a safe space to explore ways to achieve educational equity in our schools and districts with your colleagues and peers.

See what the ESC is doing to support its staff

Our commitment to change has been ongoing, and is a part of larger organizational priorities. Action steps have included:

  • Collaboration with neighboring ESCs and intermediate service districts for equity training and development;
  • Hiring a Regional School Improvement Coordinator for Diversity & Equity;
  • Increasing knowledge of cultural awareness and competency, implicit bias, culturally responsive practices, intersectionality, and other equity-based learning interventions/strategies for staff and member districts; 
  • Forming an internal Equity Action Planning Committee;
  • Implementing targeted efforts to recruit the next generation of diverse educators, with a strategic focus on Ohio’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs);
  • Strengthening community partnerships in order to build capacity and affect sustainable social change outside of the classroom; and
  • Participating in and leading research and pedagogy conversations with both neighboring and international institutions of higher education, including the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.

Contact Us

For your unique district and school needs, please contact [email protected]

Meet Dr. Sierra Austin

Dr. Sierra J. Austin, the ESC's Regional School Improvement Coordinator for Equity and Diversity, is a graduate of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at The Ohio State University, with a focus on race and social justice. She also graduated with an interdisciplinary specialization in Latino/a Studies. Sierra’s research (done in Columbus City Schools), activism and work focuses on education equity and prioritizes operationalizing intersectional approaches to social change.

 

Her most recent publications appear in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s, Studies, respectively. Sierra is the recipient of several grants awarded by the National Women’s Studies Association, OSU’s Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, the Council of Graduate Students, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, as well as the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has presented original research both domestically and abroad, including in Spain and various parts of the UK.

 

Sierra has served as a lecturer at The Ohio State University, where she was nominated for an Outstanding Faculty Award, Purdue University Fort Wayne, and Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD). In the K-12 space, Sierra has designed and taught curriculum for social justice elective course offerings and has served as a consultant for several school-based equity and empowerment programs.