By Chris Lundy and Jevon Melvin
BERKELEY – Teachers continually have in-services and trainings, and one such instance took place before students stepped foot in the classroom.
Ahead of the new school year, Principal Baruti Kafele presented a talk entitled “It’s Not Enough to ‘DO EQUITY’ You Must ‘BE EQUITY’: Critical Questions for Becoming an ‘Equity Mindset Teacher.’”
He reviewed how to be teachers of an egalitarian mindset and effectively address equity issues in and outside the classroom.
In his career in Essex County schools, he was a finalist for the New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. He has written educational best sellers including “Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School & in Life,” “Closing the Attitude Gap,” “Is My School a Better School BECAUSE I Lead It?,” “The Teacher 50,” “The Principal 50,” “The Assistant Principal 50,” and “The Equity & Social Justice Education 50.”
Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides said he was “an inspirational and outstanding guest speaker to get our teachers ready and excited for the brand new school year. He was amazing. I would highly recommend Principal Kafele.”
Kafele’s appearance was partially connected to the creation of an equity committee earlier in the year.
“We need to be prepared for our students and give them the best opportunity for success,” he said.
Racial issues exploded recently when one board member, Heather Koenig, posted memes on Facebook that some residents said were racist. Koenig told The Berkeley Times that the postings were taken out of context. The relative of another board member, Merissa Borawski, allegedly posted anti-gay and anti-Black statements online. The next few Board of Education meetings were standing room only while residents passionately explained the history of racial inequality in the area.