Whose Voices Matter: Creating a Transformative Educational Community

On March 21st, PARCEO took part in NYCoRE’s 2015 conference “Justice not Just- Tests”. Yasmin and Nina facilitated PARCEO’s workshop “Whose Voices Matter: Creating a Transformative Educational Community,” with 25 participants from various educational contexts, from high school and graduate students to teachers and community organizations.

The session provided an overview of PAR and how it can be used to create a just and inclusive school community centered around students, parents and educators, particularly those marginalized in our current system. The session also focused on cultural resistance and how different collective art forms can be used to engage true participation based on collective envisioning of alternative structures of school communities. We also shared resources for facilitating, evaluating, and building a foundation for community rooted in a PAR process.

Participants worked in groups and shared migration stories to identify the knowledge contained in each other’s experience and recognize the power of storytelling. We then talked about framing, and how we could create portraits of the qualities, relationships and spaces of our ideal school communities based on our experiences as students, teachers and organizers. Different from envisioning our ideals separate from our experience, we activated our memories and feelings, connecting back to the understanding that we have the knowledge and expertise to create a more just educational environment.