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VT-HEC Equity Series Continues this Spring

Equity Literacy begins with the willingness to see what we might be conditioned not to see and with the humility to consider our collective culpability

The Vermont Higher Education Collaborative (VT-HEC) is continuing its work with renowned educator, author, and speaker Paul Gorski to present a series on reducing inequity in our schools. After Paul’s dynamic introduction to the Equity Literacy Framework this past November we have scheduled three days this spring each focused on a specific theme: gender, race, racism and refugees and, poverty. Supported by VT-HEC’s Mission Investment Fund, these offerings will be available to all at significantly reduced pricing.

Equity means more than hosting multicultural arts-and-crafts fairs or diversity assemblies. It begins with a willingness to see what we might be conditioned not to see and the humility to consider our and our colleagues’ culpability. It involves real conversations about racism, economic inequality, sexism, homophobia and ableism.

While each of the three days this spring will focus on a particular theme they all will utilize the concepts of the Equity Literacy Framework to help participants become more aware and effective in dealing with inequity regardless of it form or source.

Confronting Gender-Based Inequity in Classrooms and Schools – March 19 Ellen Tuzzolo & Leigh Thompson – How can we expand our understanding of gender to create equitable environments for students, families and colleagues? In this fast-paced workshop, participants will examine how gender-based inequities interfere with creating authentic relationships between educators and students, and how that interference affects us, our students and our work. Using the Equity Literacy Framework, participants will consider their role in counteracting gender-based inequities, and practice recognizing and responding in a classroom context.

Whose Country Is This? Race, Racism, and Refugee Status in America – April 12 –Taharee Jackson, Ph.D.- This interactive workshop will focus on how educators and practitioners can move from actors to allies to accomplices for those who are different. Participants will leave with a full understanding of how to become powerful advocates for their students and how to practically address threats to equity in schools and society.

Reaching & Teaching Students in Poverty – Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap – May 15 – Paul Gorski, Ph.D.- How would our equity efforts change if we worked toward a deeper understanding of the barriers and inequities with which our students and their families experiencing poverty contend? In this workshop we will examine these barriers and inequities, how they operate in and out of schools, and how we might perpetuate them unintentionally in our spheres of influence. We then will be prepared to discuss strategies for rooting out class bias and inequity from school policy and practice.

  • Paul Gorski is the founder of EdChange and the Equity Literacy Institute; he has 20 years of experience helping educators strengthen their equity efforts in classrooms, schools, and districts.
  • Leigh Thompson of is a consultant and facilitator supporting creative and critical exploration and dialogue about equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Ellen Tuzzolo has been fighting for racial and social justice as a K-12 educator, youth organizer, youth program director, and trainer.
  • Taharee Jackson is an Assistant Professor of Minority and Urban Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland, College Park.


The VT-HEC is one of Vermont’s largest statewide providers of professional development focused on the education, health and well-being of children and youth. The VT-HEC is working with a number of Vermont organizations, especially the VT Principals’ Association, to coordinate an array of presentations and work days focused on equity. The VT-HEC equity series is underwritten by the VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund.  For more information:

Dennis has been the Director of the the VT-HEC since it was founded in 2000. He spent 16 years at the VT-DOE as Director of teams with various names that included: special education, Title I, health and wellness and other family and education support services. Prior to that Dennis worked at the Barre Town School (VT) starting as a special educator and serving many years as the Director of Student Support Services. He also spent 6 years as a classroom teacher grades 5-8 in NJ.

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