Equity is at the forefront of Literacy First’s organizational goals. Staff continued efforts in 2020-2021 to ensure the entire organization reflects this core value.
The Literacy First DEI Committee met twice monthly to plan and execute initiatives, with the mission of meeting strategic plan goals to increase diversity, strengthen inclusion, and ensure racially equitable outcomes.
Trained staff hosted “Crucial Conversations” for tutors around topics such as race, privilege, and equity in education.
Staff members conducted a review of hiring practices and application requirements for tutors and implemented revisions, including eliminating the mandatory 2-year college requirement and allowing for the substitution of adequate experience.
Literacy First continued as an active member of AmeriCorps Central TX (ACT). Founded in part by Literacy First Director Mary Ellen Isaacs, ACT’s collective vision is for Central TX to become a racially and economically equitable community. Literacy First is one of 9 AmeriCorps programs in the collaborative working together to increase the diversity of our Corps members, with the goal of building a Corps that better reflects the cultural and lived experiences of the communities we serve.
Staff created online learning modules for tutors to complete throughout their service term, addressing topics such as the history of segregation in Austin and its schools, unconscious biases, and microaggressions.
Program staff assessed and revised bilingual curriculum materials to ensure the inclusion of culturally relevant content.
DEI Committee members participated in a multi-week training led by Clem Consulting on facilitating DEI-focused workshops and conversations.
DEI Committee members built a process that enables tutors to provide honest feedback and evaluation of Literacy First’s DEI work.
The second member of Literacy First leadership completed Leadership Austin – Essential, a program that brings together established leaders to “work toward community-wide systemic change.”
The Literacy First Advisory Board participated in readings and conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion in fundraising and in education.
Program staff initiated the creation of a variety of support materials and training modules with the intention of better equipping parents and guardians (specifically monolingual Spanish- speaking) to support their child’s reading journey.