“IYKYK GRPS” | Education Town Halls | March - April 2024

May 1, 2024

In March and April of 2024, our Education Justice Team will be conducting multiple town halls to inform UCC’s Education organizing strategy for the 2024-2025 school year. IYKYK - If You Know, You Know - is a proclamation that the people who inhabit school systems have deep knowledge and unique insight into how systems currently function, and how they might function in a more justice-oriented way. IYKYK also speaks to the fact that our community of organizers are not brand new to this work. Our base has been organizing around school issues for over a year, and many of the issues we are seeking to remedy have plagued Grand Rapids Public Schools for years. This year we will continue to push GRPS to continue to create standards of excellence around the basic elements of a Healthy and Healing school- safe and reliable transportation, healthy and yummy food, adequately staffed schools, appropriate mental health supports and clean air in schools.

Through our organizing, however, we recognize that there are structural and cultural impediments to these changes. Our 2024 town halls will specifically focus on how the culture and structure of the district is preventing the changes we want to see, while also paying attention to how we might “reimagine” a district structure and culture that allows greater decision-making power and participation from students, parents and building-level staff (check out community-based recommendations for this here). The UCC-hosted structure and culture town halls are scheduled for March 21 and April 10, from 6pm - 7:30pm. RSVP for either session here, and find more information about the sessions in our Linktree.

We also recognize the need for us to lift up some justice-oriented opportunities for action on school safety. We will be hosting a town hall specifically to source recommendations for addressing school safety on Wednesday, March 27. RSVP and find more information here.

Finally, we also know that systems do not affect all people in the same ways- there are unique elements to a system that affect certain groups differently. As such, we are having intentional mini-town halls with several key groups: Black families, Spanish-speaking families, and families with students who have special needs. If you are a member of any of these groups and would like to host or participate in a closed session, please reach out to erika@uccgr.org.

Successful public schools require active collaboration with the students, families, and staff who work with them most closely.  A GRPS structure and culture that promotes strong relationships, shared power, and loving accountability is possible, and we are committed to continuing to support the community-led work that will get us there.  Visit our Linktree to sign up for our listserv and social media pages for additional opportunities to get involved!

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