Dunbar High School Chicago Public Schools
Hello, my name is Hawa Jones. I am excited to be part of the equity experience for a few reasons. To begin with, I came to the United States as a youngster during my high school years from Liberia, West Africa. Whew! Thinking about those years still makes me nervous. As an immigrant, there were not many equitable opportunities for me as a student for learning. Thank goodness for parents who demanded that school leaders give me and my siblings the necessary ESL supports in order to bring us up to U.S. standards. After a few months attending school, my sisters and I were those “smart African kids” but just a few months prior, we were the kids teachers did not know what to do with because we did not speak the language. I could go on, but in short, the equity work is necessary for the success of the children I serve. They deserve all the opportunities available and those opportunities that they will think of and create in the future.
Why I do the work I do
The important work that I do pushes and challenges teachers to think and plan with and for the students that they serve. Engaging teachers in professional development to strengthen the core of their own work to help them and their students become leaders of their own learning. In essence, giving everyone the opportunity for success.
My equity challenge and how I work on it
My equity challenge is having doubts about some teachers’ability to teach all students. I work through it by being honest with the teachers and ask if I can collaborate with them in their lesson planning process.
What sustains me when equity work stalls, how do I stay motivated when the work gets hard, and how do I push myself and others to advance equity
When the work stalls, I think about that kid who came from Africa to this country. Patience and time coupled with what the research say, motivates me when the work gets hard. Equity in education has been proven to work, and by sharing the findings with others, advances the work at hand.
My involvement in equity work is a journey that I cannot stay away from especially when the students I serve are counting on me, as I am counting on them.