Drawing on community organizing, liberatory design, and participatory methods, Participatory Systems Change for Equity is an approach to systems transformation that centers the expertise of those most impacted by child-, youth-, and family-serving systems to make sense of and interrupt inequitable system conditions. Attend this session to learn about the Participatory Systems Change for Equity framework and how this framework can help your school, district, county, state, or other community-serving agency reimagine how it transforms systems in partnership with communities to promote equity, opportunity, and well-being.
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Natalie Walrond (she/her) serves as a Senior Advisor for the California Center for School Climate. Natalie serves as the director for the Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities content area at WestEd. She also serves as Director of the national Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety housed at WestEd. The Center works nationally to build state and local capacity to integrate evidence-based approaches to social and emotional development and school safety with academic teaching and learning, school climate, and all the ways that children and youth experience school. Natalie speaks and writes on social and emotional well-being, education excellence, alignment and coherence, and equity. Natalie brings to her work over 25 years of experience in K–12 education, finance, and strategy, for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
Amber Valdez, EdD (she/her) is a Senior Program Associate II with WestEd’s Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities team where she supports local, regional, and state agencies and organizations to design and transform complex systems for equity. Her expertise includes complex systems change, transformational leadership, participatory change approaches, cross-sector collaboration, continuous improvement/improvement science, and human-centered/liberatory design. Valdez brings experience working with public and private sector systems, including education, health, and community development agencies, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and foundations. Before coming to WestEd, Valdez led a consulting business supporting youth-, family-, and community-serving agencies and organizations with strategic planning, resource development, and community partnerships. She also served as a nonprofit leader supporting school and district administrators with resource development, community schools design, family engagement, and educational leadership.
Rebeca Cerna (she/her/ella) serves as the Director for the California Center for School Climate. As an Area Director at WestEd, Rebeca supports districts, schools, and community partners in centering equity and improving educational, prevention, and health outcomes. Rebeca’s areas of expertise include health and wellness, school culture/climate, partner voice, data use, and cross-sector collaboration. She has extensive experience in working with communities that have been challenged by infrastructure deficiencies and in lifting the voices of all community members. Rebeca has also worked with diverse settings, including rural and urban communities, recent and mixed-status immigrant communities, and alternative education.
Shazia Hashmi (she/her) serves as a Technical Assistance Provider for the California Center for School Climate. As a Program Associate at WestEd, Shazia translates and applies research on equitable, developmentally appropriate strategies to support state education agencies, district leaders, and educators in serving communities. She supports research and technical assistance projects that focus on improving practices in social–emotional learning, school climate, and community engagement. She currently works with The California Endowment’s School Health Data Team to create supportive, engaging learning environments for students using school climate data. She also serves as a technical assistance provider for the National Center to Improve Social Emotional Learning and School Safety.