Lessons from ResearchILD’s 2021-2022 EF and Equity Fellowship

Three people of different heights reaching for books with stools that lift them to the same height

All educators play a crucial role in counteracting systemic racism and developing equitable approaches that support the success of every student. Our 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. 

Draw on your community’s shared knowledge—this central finding from ResearchILD’s 2020-21 EF and Equity Fellowship participants became a cornerstone for our 2021-22 fellows. At each monthly gathering, a new fellow shared their unique expertise on how EF instruction can promote equity in their educational setting.

EF Strategy Instruction Strengthens Existing Equity Initiatives

Several fellows spoke about how EF strategy instruction increased the impact of existing equity initiatives.

Here are specific lessons that three of our fellows shared, highlighting the power of infusing EF instruction into equity-driven approaches to teaching:

  • One of our fellows, a graduate school professor who teaches aspiring special educators, explained how Executive Function instruction furthers the goals of Universal Design for Learning, a pedagogical model which aims to make instruction accessible to all students. EF instruction, she explained, interrupts the often-harmful assumption that students intuitively know how to learn.
  • Another fellow, a Boston Public Schools (BPS) administrator, shared her experience integrating EF instruction into BPS’ Excellence for All Initiative (EFA) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Noticing that many of BPS’ marginalized students were disproportionately navigating feelings of disconnectedness to learning, this fellow and her team combined Project-Based Learning and EF Instruction to make learning both relevant and accessible.
  • A third fellow who is a classroom teacher shared how EF instruction can bolster classroom community and validate student interests. Using the example of a SMARTS cognitive flexibility lesson, this fellow presented dual-meaning images he selected based on his students’ interests and used to extend SMARTS instruction.

We are excited to learn more from our 2022-23 fellows as we begin our third EF and Equity Fellowship this fall!

Become an EF and Equity Fellow

Are you interested in becoming a 2022-2023 EF and Equity Fellow? Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis through September 2022. Accepted fellows will receive access to materials, training, and coaching valued at $4,000. Learn more about the fellowship and application process.

Learn More About Equity and EF

If you would like to hear more from equity-minded educators, join us for the 37th Annual Executive Function Conference. To learn more about the connection between executive function and equity, check out our EF and Equity White Paper.

  • Taylor McKenna, M.A., M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org

Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org

The Institute for Learning and Development: ildlex.org