Professional Development Offerings

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Course Date(s):

Tuesdays, August 4, 18, September 15, 2020

Registration Deadline:

Aug. 2 for the first session, Aug. 16 for the second session, Sept. 13 for the third session


Online Facilitated




5 PDPs for each discussion group

Grad Credit:



$15 for each discussion group
$38 for the entire series


Zoom Discussion Group


All PreK-12 Educators

Book Discussion Series: The Influence of Race and Racism on Academic Engagement and Achievement

The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among others, shine a light on the need for us, as educators, to understand the role race and racism plays in classrooms. That understanding helps us to address the social, emotional and academic needs of all students and provide them with the tools they need to navigate and prevail in these troubling times.

To that end, TEC is offering a series of book discussion groups to provide educators with a chance to meet virtually with other educators. Using both fiction and nonfiction texts, participants will explore their own thoughts and biases and reactions to this spring’s events; share their work in the classroom to close achievement gaps between and among students; and frame a vision for the next school year that acknowledges our role as change agents in the lives of the students in our classrooms.

Hard copy and electronic copies of books for each discussion group can be found on Amazon or other online sellers. Copies of the fictional text can be readily found in public libraries. Participants are asked to provide their own copies of books.

Although each discussion group is a discrete event we encourage participants to attend each book group meeting if possible since the three books collectively provide educators with an opportunity to expand their awareness of race, racism, privilege and the importance of being an effective ally while providing educators with strategies that have been proven to improve academic engagement and achievement.

Registration for each discussion group can be done separately at $15 per group session.

The cost to participate in all three discussion groups is $38.

Book Discussion Group #1:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This is Thomas’s debut novel, expanded from a short story she wrote in college in reaction to the police shooting of Oscar Grant. The book is narrated by Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black girl from a poor neighborhood who attends an elite private school in a predominantly white, affluent part of the city. Starr becomes entangled in a national news story after she witnesses a white police officer shoot and kill her childhood friend, Khalil. She speaks up about the shooting in increasingly public ways, and social tensions culminate in a riot after a grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for the shooting. In writing the novel, Thomas attempted to expand readers’ understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as difficulties faced by black Americans who are forced to code switch. 

(taken from the Amazon website)

Audience: All Pre-K-12 Educators

Dates & Times: Tuesday, August 4, 2020 from 7:30 – 9:00 PM

 Zoom discussion forum

Earn: 5 PDPs 

Cost: $15

To register for this discussion group, click here

Book Discussion Group #2:

Multiplication is for White People by Lisa Delpit

… in “Multiplication Is for White People”, Delpit reflects on two decades of reform efforts—including No Child Left Behind, standardized testing, the creation of alternative teacher certification paths, and the charter school movement—that have still left a generation of poor children of color feeling that higher educational achievement isn’t for them.

In chapters covering primary, middle, and high school, as well as college, Delpit concludes that it’s not that difficult to explain the persistence of the achievement gap. In her wonderful trademark style, punctuated with telling classroom anecdotes and informed by time spent at dozens of schools across the country, Delpit outlines an inspiring and uplifting blueprint for raising expectations for other people’s children, based on the simple premise that multiplication—and every aspect of advanced education—is for everyone. 

(taken from the Amazon website)

Audience: All Pre-K-12 Educators

Dates & Times: Tuesday, August 18, 2020 from 7:30 – 9:00 PM

 Zoom discussion forum

Earn: 5 PDPs 

Cost: $15

To register for this discussion group, click here

Book Discussion Group #3:

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?  And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. 

This fully revised and updated edition (copyright 2017) of Tatum’s now-classic earlier book, is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America. 

(taken from the Amazon website)

Audience: All Pre-K-12 Educators

Dates & Times: Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Zoom discussion forum

Earn: 5 PDPs 

Cost: $15

To register for this discussion group, click here

About The Instructors

Elli Stern (M.A. Lesley University; M.S. Simmons College; M.Ed. Suffolk University; B.A. Simmons College) was previously the Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction for Empowering Multicultural Initiatives (now known as IDEAS), an organization that offers a variety of graduate-level professional development courses. At EMI, Ms. Stern utilized her expertise in anti-bias education, cultural sensitivity, curriculum, interdisciplinary learning, and differentiated instruction to train educators, counselors and other helping professionals to be more culturally responsive in a global society.

Prior to EMI, Ms. Stern taught in the Boston Public School system for ten years and in the Lincoln Public Schools for 15 years. She created “Bridges to Understanding”, a course for 7th and 8th graders that she co-taught for nine years.  This course was designed to help students explore and discuss issues of stereotypes, prejudices and social justice. Currently Ms Stern has retired from EMI but continues to work with community and educational groups to promote safe and effective conversations around issues of  discrimination and marginalization.

Before retiring as a K-5 Principal in Wayland,  Sue Abrams spent fifteen years in the Lincoln Public Schools, serving as an Associate Principal, a Curriculum Coordinator, and a classroom teacher. She received her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction in Multicultural Education and was active in Empowering Multicultural Initiatives, serving on the Board of Directors for several years. For the past eleven years she has worked at Wheelock College and Boston University, supervising student teachers and supporting them in becoming culturally competent educators. 

Since retiring Ms. Abrams has been involved with an NGO which supports children in desperate situations in Kenya, Tanzania, Guatemala, Haiti and Myanmar. She travels to Kenya and Tanzania on a regular basis to work with schools and orphanages in those countries. She has also spent time volunteering at the border in El Paso and Brownsville Texas. Currently Ms. Abrams is coordinating racial justice work for a faith community, providing programming to educate and empower action at the local level, in both the schools and the community.





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