August 30, 2023

LAUSD Micro-Credential Offers Opportunity for Inward Reflection for Educators 

Sarina Sande • Executive Director for Educators for Excellence

As lifelong learners, inward reflection is a key component to teachers’ success in the classroom. In order to best serve students and to reach a more peaceful and inclusive future, educators have to recognize the need to address their own internal biases. Fortunately, a group of LAUSD teachers came together to make this happen, and developed an antiracist instruction micro-credential within LAUSD to help educators reach this goal. I spoke with E4E-LA member, Gabe Serrano about his involvement in creating the microcredential and why he thinks it is important for all educators to self-reflect.

“After years of rolling out various social-emotional learning programs that did not have the effects I hoped they would have on educators and students–along with the start of the pandemic and political unrest throughout the country–myself and other teachers recognized that we needed something,“ said Gabe Serrano, an LAUSD special education teacher.We needed something that allows us as educators to confront ourselves to be better allies, better role models, and better supporters for all students, specifically black youth in our classrooms.” 

In LAUSD, a micro-credential is a certificate received after completing a semester or year-long course diving into specific teaching topics. These certificates increase an educators’ knowledge of a specific subject area or practice by going into more depth than a typical professional development program would. “My hope is that, similarly to the adoption of the STEAM micro credential introduced in 2018, this antiracist instruction credential is widely adopted by teachers throughout the district. There are so many possibilities as to how this could benefit students. Positive change comes down to changes we make in ourselves first, and this gives us the opportunity to take the first step,” Serrano stated.

Along with guidance and partnership from the district, an incredibly knowledgeable group of teachers worked hard to make this a program that is worthwhile and will create lasting change. The antiracist instruction micro-credential will help educators approach topics like racism at an age-appropriate level, allowing students a safe and accepting environment in which to learn. Additionally, when asked difficult questions concerning racism and education in America, educators will be far more confident in answering and replying in a way that is compassionate, open to constructive dialogue, not combative, and conducive to change. 

Many educators are still feeling burnt out, even after a summer off–which, for many, was filled with teaching summer school and preparing for the new school year. So much has happened in recent years–a strike, a new contract, the unsteady social climate surrounding education right now. All of this stress is making its way into classrooms, and it can be difficult to take on something else right now. However, the issues we are facing remain urgent. They can’t wait. 

When asked why educators should consider taking on this additional course, Serrano highlighted, “It will be gratifying as educators to address these issues, and to take control of what we are able to in our classrooms to create positive change. Once we confront our internal biases, teachers can become more effective at gathering curriculum, planning projects, and even guiding students through their own journeys in self discovery and reflection. We can all become better educators.”

In order to have fully accepting classrooms, educators need to be actively antiracist in their teaching. This is just one of the ways schools and educators can work towards more equitable learning spaces. Gabe is registering to take this course and learn more, and is calling on other educators to join him in confronting biases, being actively antiracist, and making positive change in the world for the students of Los Angeles.

Sarina Sande is the Executive Director for Educators for Excellence – Los Angeles, a growing movement of more than 35,000 educators united around a common set of values and principles for improving student learning and elevating the teaching profession.

Background Image:
Sarina Sande

Currently Reading

LAUSD Micro-Credential Offers Opportunity for Inward Reflection for Educators