EDITOR’S NOTE: Jon Dunn is also one of three finalists for the 2019 Kansas City Public Schools Teacher of the Year Award. The recipient will be announced on Thursday, April 11.
Trailwoods Elementary School
How are you working to increase equity in education and opportunity for students in your school?
This year, I have been a part of a team implementing trauma-sensitive care. We all went through training and brought back ways to add the ideas into each class. I’ve had the role of practicing each skill with students and advocating practices with other teachers. In terms of impact, this initiative has allowed students to learn more effectively. Providing ways for students to exit their “animal” brain and return to their “human/learning” brain has been significant. As we continue to grow with trauma, we have noticed triggers, situations to avoid, put students first, and began to understand behavioral issues are not personal. This will be ongoing and the entire staff continues to see the impact.
What message about public education do you want to share?
In my opinion, one of the major public education issues today continues to be equity. I’m a male teacher, and I find it shocking the lack of opportunities for young women in public education. The opportunities do not reside with success or roles in a school, but belief from educators that they are as significant and important as the young men. I’ve noticed a strong decline in young women simply raising their hands to answer questions, which bothers me. If we as educators can empower the young women we interact with on a daily basis, then their confidence will be boosted and provide great opportunities. In my classes, I work to boost the confidence of everyone. I make a point to let students know they have a voice, they get to make choices, and most importantly they matter. Each student is capable of expressing genius, but it’s up to educators and the community to help them shine.