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On a mission to dismantle racial bias

Every child should know what it is like to feel innocent – to believe that this world is open to them. Our society’s stereotypes stand in the way. We partner with administrators, principals, and classroom teachers to help them build relationships that liberate children of color from the power of racial stereotypes in their schools and classrooms.

85% of Innocent Classroom educators report improved relationships with the children they teach

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News & Events

Register for our September Event: Closing the Relationship Gap: Innocence & Learning Loss

Join the Innocent Classroom team for a discussion about our how we are returning to school this fall. Conversations about back to school have been dominated by a few topics, including restoring relationships and accelerating learning due to lost instructional time and connections with students during our pandemic. Join us for a vital conversation about how we must do both, while still centering Innocence and creating spaces free of racial bias and negative stereotypes.

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Watch Barriers for Black Minnesotans:
An armchair conversation moderated by Alexs Pate on needed systemic change in education and employment

Panelists Include:
  • Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • Warren McLean, President of NEON
  • Kim Nelson, retired Senior Vice President of External Relations at General Mills
  • Alan Page, former Minnesota Supreme Court justice.
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Watch Replacing Systemic Racism with Systemic Innocence: A Conversation with the Innocent Classroom

Join the Innocent Classroom team for a conversation about replacing systemic racism in education with systems where all children are free from racial bias and stereotyped expectations.

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The Innocent Classroom: Dismantling Racial Bias to Support Students of Color

“The Innocent Classroom is solution based. What’s more, it puts the strategic capacity in the hands of educators.

It is past time for us to stop trying to manage our children. Whatever form that approach takes, it seems to create disparate outcomes. Rather, it is time to understand our children and help them come to believe that they can exist outside any stereotypical image or idea they have been led to believe about themselves.

If we go about it the right way, this ineffective system can give way to one that reflects a more enlightened understanding of who the children are who sit uneasily at their desks. Maybe this is the dawn of a new age in public education: the age of the child. The individual child. The innocent child.”

 

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Our education system fails millions of our children. Poor grades and low graduation rates are accepted as the norm – with lasting consequences for students’ education and our social fabric.

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We have not prepared teachers to teach all our children. The gap between educators’ lived experience and the students they teach grows every day, fueling the negative stereotypes that undermine achievement.

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Our children are not who the world says they are. Regardless of virulent negative stereotypes, every student is innocent or has the potential to reclaim his or her innocence. Every child is worthy of the investment of passionate educators.

Our Impact
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As more teachers take up the challenge, it changes the school: vocabulary shifts, practices evolve, and the culture rallies around students who are most wounded. Schools make progress as a community — classroom by classroom, year after year.

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Students… expect to be seen as disruptive, angry, argumentative, defiant, and unmotivated. But if someone hears them, respects them, cares about them, and tries to see their good, they change. They become approachable. They want to listen and learn.

Innocent Classroom Participant,
Minneapolis Public Schools

Proven to narrow the achievement gap.

Innocent Classroom is having a significant impact in districts with some of the country’s deepest divides. Our approach to building relationships improves student performance and teacher practice where other programs fall short.

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