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Holt Equity & Access Team works to help marginalized students navigate remote learning

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Posted at 5:03 AM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 06:52:02-04

LANSING, Mich. — Understanding that with remote learning that access and resources vary, Holt Equity and Access Team (H.E.A.T) is working to address individual needs.

Third grade teacher Dominic Knighten decided to join H.E.A.T this summer; realizing he wanted to be a part of change within the district.

“In the wake of everything that was going on, the unfortunate tragedies that took place, I reached out to a couple people in my district and they pointed me in the direction of H.E.A.T.,” said Knighten.

Now he’s a committee chair for their mentorship program.

“At the end of the day, I want our young students of color, black, and brown to be awarded the same opportunities, the same success stories that their counterparts have. I fear that history has shown that there’s an achievement gap when it comes to our black and brown folks and their white counterparts and I just want to make sure that they have that opportunity to be as successful as their counterparts,” said Knighten.

Robert Dozier IV is a long-time educator and current high school teacher. He has been a part of H.E.A.T since its initiation, but says this year there has been more activity and participation.

"I want it to be long lasting. I don't want it to be a fad. I don't want it to go away. The time is here and the time is now," said Dozier.

Dozier is a member of the system analysis group, which gauges how the entire district is doing in regards to equity and access and where there's room for improvement.

"I saw what I thought were some discrepancies in what needed to be taking place as far as our marginalized students and then also as an employee," said Dozier.

Now the group is focusing on helping students and families that may have a harder time with remote learning because of a wide range of reasons.

"There were several subgroups that reached out and said this is going to be a hardship for us. It's going to be hard because I'm a single parent and I need to work and I also need to help my children. Two parent families also reached out to say I don't know how we're going to be able to do this. Families of special needs students reached out to say my child really needs some face to face instruction," said Superintendent David Hornack.

Knighten says the goal is make sure that those students don't fall behind.

"Some of the people that are gonna not benefit from our remote learning, those are those very kids that are the ones hanging out on the sidelines, those are the ones that are historically disenfranchised and marginalized. We want to make sure that we're sensitive in our teaching and what's being asked of our parents," said Knighten.

The goal for H.E.A.T is to have at least one Parent Group at every building in the district.

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