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WEBINAR #2: Identity Safe Classrooms: Places to Belong and Learn

About the Webinar Series

Identity Safe Classrooms Graphic.jpg

As educators, it may seem overwhelming that in addition to addressing overt racism in our classrooms and schools, we also need tackle unconscious racist feelings (known as implicit bias) not only in our students, but in ourselves. But, something can be done - and the solutions are in our hands. This webinar series will  offer concrete practices that educators can use drawing from research on implicit bias, stereotype threat, and the antidote identity safety. We will offer on-the-ground actions and strategies to counter stereotypes, build empathy, and promote identity safe environments, where students of all backgrounds feel a sense of belonging and become academically successful.

In identity safe classrooms, teachers strive to ensure students' social identities are an asset rather than a barrier to success in class. Acknowledging students’ identities and drawing from their diverse backgrounds as a resource for learning, rather than trying to be colorblind, coupled with positive relationships, empathy, compassion, and challenging learning opportunities help them feel welcomed, supported, and valued.

Webinar #2 - December 13, 2016 (4:00 pm - 6:00 pm)

The second webinar will highlight specific strategies to create identity safety drawn from the two identity safety domains: Child-centered classrooms and Cultivating Diversity as a Resource.

Webinar #3 - May 9, 2017 (4:00 pm - 6:00 pm)

The third webinar will focus on the other two identity safety domains, Classroom Relationships, and Caring Classroom Environments and putting all the pieces together to assure students of all backgrounds feel identity safe.

Presented by


Becki Cohn-Vargas, Ed.D. serves as Director of Not In Our School (NIOS) and does independent consulting.  She spent over 35 years as a teacher, principal, curriculum director, and superintendent in public education in California. Currently, as the NIOS Director, she produces educational films on family diversity, bullying and intolerance prevention. She also has developed curriculum and has worked to create accepting and inclusive climates in over 150 schools and colleges across the US. She has been hosted at the White House twice where she briefed President Obama’s education staff and has fostered partnerships with the Golden State Warriors, the National PTA, NEA, AFT, Facing History, and the United Sikhs.

In her book, “Identity Safe Classrooms:  Places to Belong and Learn” (2013) co-authored with Dorothy Steele, Becki Cohn-Vargas describes research done to find an antidote to the effects of stereotype threat on students’ academic and social development in school and offer practical evidence-based strategies that lead to improved student sense of identity safety and higher levels of achievement.

Target Audience

Classroom teachers, educational specialists, building principals, school counselors, instructional assistants

Participant Outcomes

As a result of this webinar, participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of how to construct identity safe classrooms where students from diverse racial, social, economic, and linguistic groups can learn and flourish
  • Examine principles for inclusive, respectful, and rigorous classroom environments that promote expansive and culturally validating forms of learning
  • Examine practices to ensure that students feel their identity is an asset to success in school
  • Participate in an interactive professional discussion related to providing environments that promote identity safety for all students

Indicators and Standards Addressed

This webinar series specifically addresses WI State Performance Plan (SPP), Indicators 4B, 9 & 10.

Teacher Standards Addressed:

  • InTasc/WI Teacher Standards: #2, #3, #5, #7
  • Danielson Components: 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b, 3c, 3e
  • Stronge Indicators: 1.3, 1.7, 2.1, 3.1, 3.5, 5.2, 5.3

Fees and Registration

There are no fees to attend these webinars, but pre-registration is required. 

Webinar participants will be provided with a complimentary copy of the book Identity Safe Classrooms: Places to Belong and Learn by Dorothy M. Steele and Becki Cohn-Vargas.


Contact Melissa Moe, Training and Supports Coordinator
Ph: (715) 986-2020, ext 2127 or