SEL Awardee

Michelle Wallis

Austin ISD
Austin, TX
“SEL and equity need to be at the heart of our systems and structures, and the cultural capital of students must be taken into account for SEL to be culturally responsive. We, therefore, founded the AISD Student Equity Council (SEC) in 2021. The SEC is a group of students and sponsors that leverage the diversity and passion of its youth leaders to find creative solutions to complex equity problems. All high schools in the district participate with ~4 campus leaders and campus coalitions formed this school year. In the 2020-2021 school year, the SEC explored Design Thinking through conducting Empathy interviews and implementing liberatory design. Student voice influenced perspective as they learned about diverse experiences across the district. They presented their findings and work to the School Board as well as the District Executive Leadership Team in May of 2021. The work has continued into this year as the SEC has been building campus coalitions. In the 22-23 school year, students continue to lead the way and work to affect change at the campus and district level. Students will co-create and lead professional development for their sponsors and campus staff. Campus coalitions will take on a project to address an issue of equity unique to their campus. Through this students will gain a deeper understanding of why the issues of equity may exist, grow their leadership skills, and effect real change in the hearts and minds of the adults on their campus and the larger student population.”
Tags: Boys and Young Men of Color, District, High School, Traditional Public School, Urban