Written by Christina M. Macalino
Elin and Christina – friends, homies, classmates, Oaklanders, first generation, educators, life-long learners, and co-conspirators.
This academic school year is Elin’s 15th year in education. She started off as a high school counselor, then moved on as a high school administrator, and eventually returned to counseling when she became a mom. As for me, this is my 16th year in education. I started off as a high school English teacher before I became an administrator – first at a high school, then (6-8) middle school, back to high school, followed by K-8, and currently at a (6-8) middle school.
EMPower Educational Consulting
Back in 2018, Elin and I took a leap and started a business together. The idea sprouted after a number of our former districts and colleagues contacted us for master scheduling advice due to our expertise on the master scheduling organization and process. So of course, living in the ridiculously expensive Bay Area, it made sense that we seized this side-hustle opportunity and got compensated for our experience and expertise. Another reason why we started ECC was because Elin and I truly missed working together. We were on the same administration team for 2.5 years and we enjoyed each other’s company. Not only did we learn from each other, we also grew together as reflective educators. Lastly, and most importantly, we started a consultancy because we are truly passionate about education and the doors it opens for students and families.
Then 2020 happened: the COVID-19 pandemic, Distance Learning, Donald Trump’s last presidential term, the presidential campaign, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, police brutality, and social unrest. And this list does not even encompass the personal struggles we experienced which included a parent’s death, legal family separation, brain surgery, child care struggles, financial problems, unemployment, job changes, and testing positive for COVID-19.
Rebranding – Consulting Model to Collaborative Support System
COVID-19 and the BLM movement blatantly exposed how systemic racism pervades our political system, nation, communities, educational system, and day-to-day lives. Thus, our EMPower Educational Consulting (LLC) evolved from a business venture to a collaborative support system. From March to December 2020, Elin and I made an effort to bring the protests to the school sites by hosting virtual collaborative meetings to discuss how implicit bias plagues our public school systems and communities. These meetings included:
- Educator (teacher,counselors, and site administrator) discussions
- Parent discussions
- Book talk (Dr. Bettina Love’s ‘We Want to do More Than Survive:Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom)’
- Resources: (compiled and created, shared, and modeled our work)
- Self-care & Empowerment Resources
- Questions for PTA/SSC/ELAC Parent Groups
- Parent Resource List
- Implicit Bias: Educator Action Plan (self/professional)
- Implicit Bias: Educator Action Plan (school site)
- Newsletters (article recommendations, book recommendations, podcast recommendations, and our resources)
And now, a year after we first started evolving our business, there is no turning back. We are not returning to the traditional consulting model. That is because we realized that model does not allow Elin and I to be our true authentic selves. We discovered the traditional consulting model was not meant for us. This means that the traditional K-12 system would not embrace us, despite the fact that we have a combined 30-years of educational experience (teacher, counselor, administrator), four credentials, three masters degrees, and two doctorate degrees.
2021 Educational Quest
In spite of these hard truths, we will continue to fight for systemic changes in our K-12 school systems. However, we will approach it in a different manner. Elin and I are in the process of re-branding and reconfiguring our business approach. We invite you to follow along our journey and join us in our venture to educational reformation for Black and Brown students. Stay tuned for Elin and Christina’s 2021 quest – turning courageous conversations to courageous actions.
Do you have any questions, thoughts, reactions to this post? Hit us up at email@example.com or on Instagram @empoweredconversationspod. We would love to hear from you and have a collaborative conversation. -Elin and Christina
Podcast related to post:
- Empowered Conversations With Elin & Christina, Season 1 Episode 1: Let’s move from Courageous Conversations to Courageous Actions.
Literature related to post:
- We Want to do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Dr. Bettina L. Love