U-46 equity leader says students need to see themselves in their educators

  • Teresa Lance

    Teresa Lance

  • Daily Herald Diversity Editor Madhu Krishnamurthy

    Daily Herald Diversity Editor Madhu Krishnamurthy

Updated 7/20/2020 6:00 AM

Children need to see excellence represented in every level of an organization, says Teresa Lance, Elgin Area School District U-46's new assistant superintendent for equity and innovation.

"If I am only seeing African Americans or Latinx individuals serving my food or cleaning the classroom, that hits you," Lance said.


Lance says there's value in employing people of color in a variety of roles from paraprofessionals and classroom teachers to school principals and top-level administrators.

U-46 is a majority-minority district with Latinos constituting nearly 55% of the district's 38,395 students, followed by whites 26%, Asians 8%, Blacks 6% and two or more races 3%. Its teachers are roughly 72% white, 24% Latino, and less than 2% each Asian or Black, Illinois Report Card data show.

Beyond implicit bias:

Lance's role at U-46 includes oversight of innovative strategies and programs across the state's second-largest school district.

She has been engaging district administrators and employees on one key question -- what do they believe is the greatest inequity in U-46 -- and plans to have a similar exchange with parents this fall. The district also needs to be more deliberate and intentional in educating employees about implicit bias, she said.

"Implicit bias training independent of some other systemic things changes little," said Lance, adding that the training might not resonate with all of the district's 4,500 employees. "We have to do some additional work."

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Lance said educators should be proficient in at least two cultures -- their own and someone else's.

Herb Porter
Herb Porter
Equity town hall:

Hanover Park officials will conduct a virtual town hall discussion titled "Peace together our community" on delivering services equitably. It will be from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Panelists include Lisa Jackson, Elgin Area School District U-46 assessment and accountability coordinator, Hanover Park Deputy Police Chief Andy Johnson, and village human resources director Barry Kurcz. Village trustees Sharmin Shahjahan and Herb Porter will moderate the discussion. To register, visit bit.ly/HPTownhall2.

Sharmin Shahjahan
Sharmin Shahjahan
Women's art:

Oakton Community College in Des Plaines is seeking entries for a women's virtual art exhibition by Aug. 14.

Professional artists are invited to submit entries in all media for the "Where Are We Now?: Activism of the Everyday" exhibition, sponsored by the Women's and Gender Studies department. It will run online from Oct. 19 through Nov. 20. This year's exhibit examines how women have continued to evolve and change. Submit entries at bit.ly/32w8arP. Visit oakton.edu.

Service challenge:

Thirty-one Chicago area mosques have received a $1,000 grant each to create a service project benefiting their community as part of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago's service challenge.


The four-week, social-justice-themed challenge requires participating mosques to send in photographs and videos highlighting the progress of their projects, leading to a final video and a public voting day. Winners, including one mosque that will be awarded the grand prize of $5,000, will be announced in August after the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha on July 30.

"The pandemic and the senseless killing of Black men and women has highlighted the racial and economic injustices in our nation, and this challenge is a way for the Muslims of Illinois to come together and empower our communities to address the issues at hand," said organization board Director Sabina Qadir, of Naperville.

Participants include 17 suburban Islamic centers including mosques in Bridgeview, Bolingbrook, Des Plaines, Libertyville, Mundelein, Naperville, Rolling Meadows, Wheaton, Willowbrook and Villa Park. Visit ciogc.org/ciogc-social-justice-service-challenge/.

Free COVID-19 testing:

Free COVID-19 testing will be available in Lake Zurich, Mundelein and Round Lake starting today through Sunday, July 26, due to a recent outbreak among teens and younger adults in those communities.

Illinois Department of Public Health mobile testing sites will be set up at Lake Zurich, Mundelein, and Round Lake high schools on the following days:

• 9-11 a.m. for students and employees and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday for the public, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Lake Zurich High School Performing Arts Center parking lot, 300 Church St.

• 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Mundelein High School parking lot, 1350 W Hawley St.

• 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 26, Round Lake High School parking lot, 800 High School Drive.

• Share stories, news and happenings from the suburban mosaic at mkrishnamurthy@dailyherald.com.

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