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Roszena Haskins Honored as Champion of Equity by State Education Resource Center

Roszena Haskins, director of Equity Advancement for West Hartford Public Schools, has received the George Coleman award. Courtesy photo

Roszena Haskins, director of Equity Advancement for West Hartford Public Schools, was honored at Connecticut’s State Education Resource Center (SERC) virtual conference on Friday.

By Ronni Newton

At Connecticut’s State Education Resource Center (SERC) Dismantling Systemic Racism conference, held virtually on May 7, West Hartford Public Schools Director of Equity Advancement Roszena Haskins was honored with the 2021 George Coleman Excellence in Equity award for her successful and ongoing district-wide work.

Haskins has been working with the West Hartford Board of Education on an Educational Equity Policy, which is scheduled for adoption next month as an over-arching policy and a lens to guide future actions. Among Haskins’ other efforts cited in the presentation of the award were the design and implementation of an Equity and Diversity Council and Welcoming Schools program. I

West Hartford Superintendent Tom Moore said in his letter of support for the nomination that “the single most important person in driving change and institutional knowledge around the idea of equity has been Roszena Haskins.”

According to SERC, the George Coleman award was established in the name of a former Connecticut State Department of Education administrator and SERC Board member who championed educational equity. “The awards honor those who have demonstrated commitment and courage to ensure all students, especially students of color and culturally and linguistically diverse students, are valued and respected in their school experience,” a news release states.

Gwen E. Samuel of Meriden also received the George Coleman award Friday. According to SERC, Samuel “created three community-based organizations: the Connecticut Parents Union, the State of Black Connecticut Alliance, and the Meriden Kids Walk Safe Coalition – Safe Routes to School Initiative. She championed parent empowerment bills in the General Assembly that became law: establishing School Governance Councils and barring felony arrests for parents who enroll their children in schools outside their ZIP codes, in addition to extensive other advocacy efforts.”

“Dismantling Systemic Racism: 2021 Conference on Race, Education & Success,” held virtually on May 7, focuses on racial equity in education and confronting racist structures and practices to better serve Connecticut’s students and their families. More than 500 students, educators, and others in the community are participating in the conference, which also includes facilitated conversations about racial equity and social justice.

This year’s event schedule included keynote presentations by Taína Asili, a New York-based Puerto Rican singer, filmmaker, and activist; and Dr. Anton Treuer, professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. In addition to the presentation of SERC’s George A. Coleman Excellence in Equity awards, Parental Involvement Recognition awards were also presented.

For more information about the State Education Resource Center (SERC), visit their website ctserc.org and follow the 2021 conference hashtag: #RaceinEd2021.

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