MFEE believes strongly that without racial and socio-economic equity, there cannot be educational excellence. Montclair is well-positioned to address the inequities that lead to a persistent opportunity gap amongst our students. Montclairians have the creativity, thoughtfulness, and will to make big changes, and MFEE is honored to provide the resources to support these changes in all 11 schools.
In 2020, MFEE’s board allocated $150,000 to fund Excellence in Equity grants to Montclair Public Schools.
Read about Charles H. Bullock, the first school awarded $10,000!
MFEE is awarding one-time significant grants to each of the Montclair Public Schools to address issues of racial and socio-economic inequity. Proposals are evaluated on the quality of the project, demonstrated need for the project, and demonstrated buy-in across a wide swath of the school community. Applications must be collaboratively-shaped by a diverse group of school stakeholders, including (but not limited to) teachers, administrators, parents, and students (where applicable).
It is anticipated that each elementary and middle school will receive up to $10,000 and that the high school, since it serves all of our public school students, will receive up to $50,000 in grant money.
MFEE also required that the grant proposals be shaped by diverse voices and that they centered those of Black and Brown students and families. To that end, MFEE is providing additional planning grant funds to schools for up to $1500 to support outreach to Black and Brown families. Unlike many other grants, MFEE’s Planning Grants were created to honor the time and work asked of both school professionals and parents to work on these grants and to allow more community members who cannot miss paid work time to come to the table.
THE EXCELLENCE IN EQUITY COACHING TEAM
As the grants rolled out, MFEE provided a series of workshops equipping applicants with a common lens for understanding issues of racial inequities in schools. MFEE’s Excellence in Equity Coaching team, a group of local educational equity professionals, led the workshops and continue to provide ongoing coaching to school applicant teams.
Christy Crawford is a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion strategist. She serves as the Director of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education for New York City’s Computer Science for All Initiative. For more than a decade she taught K-8 classes in Harlem and the Bronx. She also worked as an education consultant for companies such as Scholastic, BrainPOP and Nickelodeon. Prior to teaching, Christy was a television producer for several networks. She uses her experience in education and media to foster equity by all means necessary.
Cheri Fancsali is Deputy Director at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, where she provides leadership for strategic planning and organizational development. She has over two decades of experience in research and evaluations of school- and community-based educational programs, with a strong focus on teacher capacity building, school reform initiatives, STEM, computer science education, afterschool programs, and socio-emotional learning. Before beginning her career in education research, Dr. Fancsali was an early childhood and special education teacher in New York City. Her children attended Nishuan, Hillside, Glenfield, and Montclair High School.
Jennifer M. Moore is the Founder/Consultant of Initiate Equity. As the leader of a private education consulting organization, Jennifer Moore is an independent consultant who supports school teams and educational non-profits to analyze the distinguishable, yet often hidden ways racism, privilege and power impact an organization’s success. With over fifteen years of experience in education, Jennifer leads cross-functional teams to leverage high-impact strategies that directly address racism and its various manifestations. Through this approach Jennifer helps organizations go beyond the limited frame of “bad actors” who commit racist acts, to one that encompasses a systems-level analysis to determine which specific policies and practices are contributing to inequity. Prior to consulting, Jennifer worked for Teach For America-New Jersey. One of her many contributions included leading a major overhaul of their teacher development program to prioritize culturally relevant pedagogy as a framework for new teacher development. Jennifer started her journey in education as a New York City public school teacher where she brought her passion for social justice to her work in the South Bronx. She is from the greater Seattle-Metro area and currently resides in East Orange, New Jersey with her husband.
Bridget Placek is an educator, learner, writer, and Montclair mom of three. She began her career as a middle school teacher in the Washington Heights neighborhood of NYC before becoming a Literacy Coach, citywide lab site learning leader, and Assistant Principal of Grades 5-8 and Special Education. Bridget has also served as the elementary school Vice Principal in Leonia, NJ, and adjunct faculty at the School of Education at City College of New York. Her essays on motherhood have been published by Scary Mommy and P.S. I Love You.