LaShawnna Harris: Creative Station
June 21, 2021
LaShawnna Harris

LaShawnna Harris, a member of our small business network, dedicated her NYC-based business Creative Station to providing equity-centered innovation in education and sustained school improvement. We checked in with LaShawnna to learn more about Creative Station, the challenges she faces with equity and education, and how Juneteenth motivates her to continue to build a legacy.

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WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU SEE TODAY WITH REGARD TO EQUITY IN EDUCATION?

School systems are doing what they were designed to do; provide access to opportunities to some and not others. It has been this way for generations, and because of this, it is hard for people to imagine and create a different future. We now have more talk and theory about equity than innovation and action to improve young people's outcomes.

We know what to do to improve schools, but far too often, the money, people, skills, and time necessary to do those things are not available for communities that need them most. Prioritizing deeper learning, building relationships with families, and breaking down barriers to opportunities are key improvement levers for equity. However, the money spent in these areas is only enough to scratch the surface. 

 

WHY DO YOU THINK THESE CHALLENGES EXIST?

Decision-making in education is often done in silos by people who may have good intentions but are not in touch with the needs of students, families, and communities.  

Educators and families should be working together towards a common goal. Instead, their interests are perceived to conflict, so efforts to make change are counterproductive.  

 

HOW CAN WE IMPROVE EDUCATION TO HELP ALL STUDENTS?

To improve education, we have to get to know students, families, and communities beyond the numbers they represent in test scores and statistics. There must be opportunities for all stakeholders to exercise agency in making education what it needs to be for young people to thrive. This means having authentic and ongoing conversations to assess strengths and needs, co-creation of solutions, and a genuine commitment to making sure that the people who are doing the work have the will, skill, and resources to be successful. 

 

WHAT CHANGE DO YOU HOPE TO SEE/MAKE IN EDUCATION?

To improve education, we have to get to know students, families, and communities beyond the numbers they represent in test scores and statistics. There must be opportunities for all stakeholders to exercise agency in making education what it needs to be for young people to thrive. This means having authentic and ongoing conversations to assess strengths and needs, co-creation of solutions, and a genuine commitment to making sure that the people who are doing the work have the will, skill, and resources to be successful. 

 

WHAT ARE YOU REFLECTING ON THIS JUNETEENTH?

At Creative Station, we work with schools, districts, and education-focused organizations to help them create spaces where young people thrive. We take organizations through a thorough improvement strategy design process that begins with getting to the root of challenges and taking impactful actions that improve outcomes for students.

 

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