Thought Spectrum is a research-based consulting boutique that facilitates the pursuit of excellence through education, professional development and collaboration.
My name is Maria Moreano and I am the Assistant Principal of River Trail School in Gurnee IL. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about the privilege I had of attending the Culturally Responsive Institute under the direction and facilitation of Dr. Ayanna Brown. Dr. Brown is a captivating, engaging, and thought-provoking presenter. She pushed us, her audience, to take risks and to engage in individual and professional reflection in a safe, and non-threatening environment.
Her openness and honesty and even humor at times, created a safety structure that allowed us to share about our backgrounds, as well as our organizational and personal challenges. Dr. Brown’s style of professional development is the right balance of supplying resources with providing time for reflection and collaboration. She makes the content come alive by sharing her own personal stories as well as stories from school districts she has collaborated with. Hearing about various conflicts other districts had worked through and putting ourselves in the shoes of the parents, students, and administrators, was truly eye-opening. I especially found the time with our teams to be productive. We were able to assess our current needs by looking at data and by identifying root causes within our organizational structure.
Attending and participating in the CRI institute has set the stage for our ongoing work as a district. Because of Dr. Brown’s time with us, we are in the process of evaluating our current practices and setting goals with actionable steps to create a safe, inclusive, and engaging culture in which our students, staff, and families feel valued as an integral part of the learning community. Dr. Brown taught us that much of what we believe are the issues to tackle are truly symptoms of a core issue that needs to be addressed. We know have a great deal of work ahead of us, but the time we spent with Dr. Brown helped us to improve our focus on what matters most.
The time spent with Dr. Brown was time well spent. Our team is working to fine tune our equity lens and to apply it to each system we have in place. Dr. Brown helped us to ask the hard questions and to get to a place where we have developed actionable steps to make change. If you ever have the opportunity to work with Dr. Brown, you will leave the experience energized and with skills to help you feel ready to roll up your sleeves and to jump right in.
Thought Spectrum Culturally Responsive Institute attendee
Maria Moreano, M.Ed.
River Trail School
We work to develop and deepen equitable approaches to curriculum development and classroom instruction. We also support larger school needs related to school culture, climate, and community relationships.