About Leena

Dr. Leena Bakshi is the founder of STEM4Real, a nonprofit professional learning organization committed to combining STEM and NGSS standards-based content learning and leadership with principles of equity and social justice. She also serves as the Board Secretary for the California Association of Science Educators. Leena currently works with pre-service teachers at UC Berkeley and Claremont Graduate University teaching STEM methods and Universal Design for Learning. She is a former county and state level administrator and mathematics, science and health teacher. She is also the author of the children’s book, “There’s Something in the Water”, a story that highlights the real life of Dr. Tyrone B. Hayes, an endocrinologist from UC Berkeley. In order for us to increase our representation in STEM, we must create an identity in STEM. Her research interests include Science/STEM education and how we can create access and opportunities for each and every student regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or socioeconomic status.

About Marie

Marie Gorman serves as the Director of Operations for STEM4Real. As a former Naval officer and proud veteran, she brings her leadership to the education world. She worked as a middle school science teacher across the seas in Guam and Hawaii. Her instruction is grounded in culturally responsive pedagogy as she intentionally plans with the cultures of her students in mind. She has taken this experience into our #4Real Instructional Planning. She has transformed live instruction into a dynamic virtual experience through the STEM4Real Network. She built systems and infrastructures that support teachers weekly, cultivates community, coaches our teachers, and truly leads with an empathetic heart.

Session Presentation

Title: Recognize, Dismantle, Rebuild: A Framework for Anti-Racist Leadership in STEM

The purpose of this session is to equip administrators and coaches with a 3-step framework to achieve a racial and social justice lens when leading schools or districts.

The session outcomes are as follows:

1) Learn to recognize systems of inequity, personal/professional biases, and racist educational policies that prevent access and equity to high-quality STEM instruction.

2) Discuss strategies and tools to dismantle these systems and achieve equitable outcomes.

3) Rebuild systems based on creating a Vision for Justice and an action plan to take back to your instructional leadership teams.

Presenters will address the root causes of student inequities and social injustice such as teacher and coaching bias, access to rigorous science and math instruction, and funding for STEM.

Participants will create a Leadership for Justice action plan that outlines the recognition of systemic inequities, a plan to dismantle those barriers, and the next steps to rebuilding a more equitable and just education system. In order for leaders to create an equitable atmosphere, leaders must look at their own current practices that have been rooted in implicit biases. The action plan has leaders reflect on their budgets, professional learning plans, curricular materials, systems of tracking, family and community engagement, and instructional pedagogy. 

Participants will take a critical look at how BIPOC and Emergent Bilingual students are getting access to high-quality math and science instruction, as well as the gates involved that keep students from these critical STEM opportunities. Historical practices such as tracking, lack of science in elementary, SPED referrals, and discipline practices have led to a drastic drop in our school to STEM career pipeline.

Participants will walk away with a Vision for Justice framework with recommended reflection questions, school and classroom exemplars, and next steps for implementation.