Lessons from ResearchILD’s 2023-2024 EF and Equity Fellowship

Lessons from ResearchILD’s 2023-2024 EF and Equity Fellowship

All educators play a crucial role in counteracting systemic racism and developing equitable approaches that support the success of every student. ResearchILD’s Executive Function (EF) and Equity Fellowship brings together educators from across the US to explore how schools are addressing students’ executive function needs through an equity lens. 

Over the past year, ResearchILD’s 2023-2024 Executive Function (EF) and Equity Fellowship has united educators from across the United States to explore how schools could address students’ executive function needs through an equity lens. Using monthly themes as a guide, the fellowship discussed approaches for creating more inclusive and supportive learning environments.

Monthly Focuses

Each month, we engaged with a specific theme designed to enhance our understanding and application of executive function strategies in the context of equity. These focus themes included:

  • Awareness and Social Inequity: We began by exploring how executive function skills could empower students facing social inequities. Understanding the impact of these skills was the first step toward meaningful change.
  • Self-Determination Theory: This focus helped us understand the interplay between motivation, competence, relatedness, and autonomy. Reflecting on our own Motivation & Effort MetaCOG Survey experiences allowed us to see firsthand how these elements influenced student success.
  • Strategy Reflection: We analyzed how the CANDO (Clear, Appropriate, Numerical, Doable, and with Obstacles considered) goal strategy can empower students (and teachers) confronting inequities. We also examined how to make necessary adjustments when goals proved challenging.
  • Implicit Bias and Expectations: Implicit biases can shape our expectations of students, influencing their achievement relative to state standards. By making the implicit explicit, we could set clear, attainable expectations that promoted student advancement.
  • Theory of Change: We created our own Theories of Change, exploring how teaching EF strategies can bridge gaps and address educational inequities.

Fellow Insights

During our last session, our EF and Equity fellows reflected on their experiences with the group.

  • “The monthly gatherings were very important to me — sharing and receiving ideas for using and implementing SMARTS lessons and materials… Ultimately, discovering ways to evolve my own thinking to avoid becoming complacent.”
  • “Access to all of the resources, attending the EF conference, and access to the Curriculum. I felt inspired and supported to teach EF!”
  • “The curriculum was the foundation of our successes. Attending the monthly sessions were inspirational and informative.”
  • “It was great working with fellow same-minded souls during my fellowship… It was y’all’s support and guidance that helped me stay engaged and look forward in my direction with our students.”

The 2023-2024 EF and Equity Fellowship not only equipped educators with strategies to support students, but also inspired us to continue evolving our practices to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed. All of us at ResearchILD look forward to learning more with and from fellows this fall!

Become an EF and Equity Fellow

Are you interested in becoming a 2024-2025 EF and Equity Fellow? Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis through September 2024. Accepted fellows will receive access to SMARTS Elementary or SMARTS Secondary curriculum, training, and coaching valued at $4,000. Learn more about the fellowship and application process.

Learn More About Executive Function and Equity

Check out our EF and Equity White Paper to learn more about the connection between executive function and equity.