Now in their fourth year, the Winooski Anti-Racism Steering Committee (ARSC) continued their work to realize their demands, while strengthening the group’s identity, building facilitation and leadership skills, and exploring opportunities to share their work in Winooski and beyond. In the 2023-2024 school year, the ARSC comprised approximately 30 youth (grades 7-12) and adults from the WSD schools and the broader Winooski community. The team met 18 times over the course of the year, enjoying many delicious meals together and engaging in work as a whole team as well as in breakout groups focused on specific demands.

ARSC Actions in 2023-2024

The ARSC implemented various actions throughout the year, including:

  • Middle School and High School-wide Equity Survey. The team created, distributed, and analyzed data from a school-wide survey, which helped them reflect on the progress they have made towards the demands, as well as additional needs that are emerging from the student body.
  • Development of Civil Rights Workshop. St. Michael’s College Scholar-in-Residence Jolivette Anderson-Douoning worked with the ARSC to plan interactive Civil Rights Workshops, which were delivered to the Winooski Middle School teams in May. Anderson-Douoning will deliver the workshops alongside youth for the High School and Winooski parents/caregivers in the fall.
  • Community Dialogue Around Race and Racism in Schools. The team held a Community Dialogue Event on May 6th, where close to 60 school and community members gathered to learn about the work of the ARSC, and to share their experiences with race and racism in schools. 
  • Hiring of a Multilingual Mentor Coordinator. The school is in the process of hiring a coordinator for the Multilingual Mentorship Program, who will begin their work designing and recruiting participants for the program this summer. Members of the ARSC participated in interviews for the coordinator role. 
  • Learning from the Vermont Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The team met with Melody Mackin and Mia Schultz, two of the three Co-Commissioners of the Vermont Truth and Reconciliation Commission (VTRC) to learn about their work at the state level. 
  • Outreach in Winooski and Beyond: Members of the ARSC attended the conference held by the Education Justice Coalition of Vermont and the Vermont Student Antiracism Network (VSARN) Advocacy Day at the State House in Montpelier. They spoke about the work of the ARSC at the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) conference  in Stowe, at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) Seminar in Randolph, and on the Vermont Conversations podcast with journalist David Goodman. 


Updates on Demands:

The ARSC is tasked with implementing the six demands of the Winooski Students for Antiracism (WSA) from 2020: To form a truth and reconciliation commission, hire and retain more faculty of color, establish a multilingual mentoring program, implement an ethnic studies curriculum, conduct an equity audit of the school, and host a yearly workshop for students where they can learn about their civil rights. To learn more about the history of the work of the ARSC, please visit this website. 

Summaries of progress made toward each demand over the course of the past several years:


  • Form a Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Commission: This year, the ARSC met with members of the newly formed Vermont Truth and Reconciliation Commission (VTRC) to learn from them and find ways to partner. They hosted a Dialogue Event at the O’Brien Center for members of the Winooski School community which included conversations about race and racism facilitated by youth from the ARSC. Past work has included screening of Confronting the Truth, a 2007 documentary about TRCs around the world and connecting with Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) to learn more about TRCs.
  • Hire and Retain Faculty of Color: The district consulted with The New Teachers Project (TNTP) to refine its hiring process and make changes to ensure that it is inclusive. TNTP conducted a full school culture and climate survey, and shared the results with the community at an evening event. Some of the initiatives that the Human Resources department has undertaken after consulting with TNTP are to remove potential barriers to job applicants, to track where in the process people of color might drop out, (and consider how to revisit that step to make it better), to offer different opportunities and ways of interviewing, and to consider best practices for including youth on hiring committees.
  • Establish a Multilingual Mentoring Program: The team created a handbook for multilingual mentors. They also created a job description for a part-time Multilingual Mentorship Program Coordinator, and are currently in the hiring process for this position, to begin in the fall of 2024.
  • Implement an Ethnic Studies Curriculum: The team investigated the contents of the Washington State Ethnic Studies Framework  and considered its applicability to the district. Youth on the team also took part in  several “ghost visit” activities, where they visited classrooms in the middle and high school and took note of evidence of diverse and inclusive classroom materials (books, wall hangings, etc.). John F. Kennedy Elementary has hired a social justice teacher for grades K-5 starting next school year, and the classes will be 45 minutes long, once a week.
  • Conduct an Equity Audit of the School: The team read through the WSD-City Equity Audit and worked  to capture key ideas from the sections of the audit most aligned to WSD. An important reflection came out around the need to shift the language of the audit from a deficit-mindset to an asset-based framing. One of the chief findings was that BIPOC students do not feel they have a voice. Two essential questions are, how can we ask the young people the best ways to engage them in the Equity Audit and larger WSD work? How can we engage all the community groups to have an impact on the policies? What would this process look like? 
  • Host Yearly Civil Rights Workshops: The school held its first Civil Rights Workshop for middle schoolers on May 10th, 2024. The workshop was facilitated by Jolivette Anderson-Douoning, Scholar-in-Residence at St. Michael’s College. Next year, Dr. Anderson-Douoning will deliver the workshops to high school students and parents/caregivers. 


Outcomes and Insights from ARSC members:

Engaging in this work had positive impacts for the students involved. Based on the results of UP for Learning’s Pre- and Post- surveys, taken at the beginning and end of the year, the members of the ARSC showed growth in almost every metric. The team saw the biggest gains in the following areas

Pre-Survey Post-Survey Change
I care about making my school better. 70% 82% +12%
I can work with other people at school even when there is a conflict. 35% 50% +15%
I can do things that are hard for me at school. 45% 64% +19%
Students should be involved in decisions about their school. 70% 82% +12%
I have conversations with adults about how to make our school better. 30% 57% +27%
I have conversations with youth about how to make our school better. 45% 57% +12%
I feel valued in my school. 20% 43% +23%
I know how to use data to advocate for change. 30% 50% +20%
Youth respondents: 20 25

*Numbers displayed are the percentage of youth respondents who said “Agree” or “Strongly Agree” to each item.

In reflecting on the year, the ARSC identified the following as areas where the group excelled this year:

  • Getting more people involved
  • Carrying out specific agendas 
  • Holding and participating in community events
  • Team and community building
  • Spreading the word about ARSC
  • Get more done and being more organized
  • More youth facilitators and youth leadership

In the words of the ARSC members, the following were some highlights of the year:

  • “I enjoy working with different youth! I enjoyed the community dialogue the most because we get input and stories from the community.” (Youth member)
  • “Connecting with students on relevant topics around antiracism work. Seeing students in leadership roles with a focus on student voice.” (Adult member)
  • “Hearing about other people’s thoughts/experiences in school keeps me going.” (Youth member)
  • “Doing more things – Excited to continue where we left off.” (Youth member)
  • “#1 thing is seeing and being a part of this group and witnessing massive growth within each and every human involved with/in the ARSC. #1 word I hold is gratitude.” (Adult member)
  • “Students speaking up, being passionate, leading events, feeling heard. But we need 100% more of that, too!”  (Adult member)