Benita Grant

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    Benita Grant

    Principal, Fickett Elementary School


    As an administrator in an urban school district where achievement and socioeconomic gaps exist, Mrs. Grant recognizes the importance of making sure students have equitable access to the resources and support they need to excel academically. While Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has made progress in closing those gaps, there is still room to improve.


    To accelerate the closing of the achievement and socioeconomic gaps that exist at Atlanta Public Schools (APS), Principal Grant collaborated with a DEI consultant to explore a concept known as, “belonging,” which focuses on how to make people or students, in this case, feel accepted, respected and included at school.


    For Mrs. Grant, equity boils down to economics.


    “Bringing in the consultant was all about understanding what tools do we give ourselves as black teachers and educators to be able to make sure that every student in this building feels as though they belong here, no matter where they come from and no matter who their parents are,” she said.


    Right now, Mrs. Grant is in a stage of self-reflection and digging deeper to understand how to change the false narrative that students of color are not capable of achieving at high levels.


    Witnessing her students’ progress year after year keeps her going. She is intentional about putting programs in place that keep students engaged, because she feels that student engagement plays apart in equity and student achievement.


    “There is a correlation between equity and student achievement and students’ attitudes toward school, so we do a lot of work around that,” she explained. “When I think about some of our preliminary scores from one semester to the next, I see so much improvement.That lets me know we’re on the right track, our students are putting in the work and that if we’re open to new ways of learning, test scores can be even better.”


    Mr. Grant also expressed her enthusiasm about the Center for Equity + Social Justice and how it will advance equity at APS.


    “I’m really excited to be a part of the work and see how it will trickle down and touch the individual child and how it will revitalize the energy of our parents,” she expressed.