Ep. 154: Why Self-Efficacy and Self-Advocacy are Important for Diverse Learners with Ashley Harding

Oct 10, 2023 | 0 comments

Today’s guest is Ashley Harding and we’re discussing the importance of students having a sense of belonging in their learning environment. Ashley is a valued member of the ChildNEXUS community and a compassionate advocate for diverse learners.

In this episode, Ashley explains how impactful a sense of belonging is to a student. Knowing they hold a significant space somewhere, feeling a sense of connection and safety, and knowing that their educational needs are being met while also getting the support they need are critical keys to the concept of “mattering”. All of these things have long-term outcomes that go far beyond academic mastery and it's important for educators to foster this and value a child’s sense of belonging. This is what is going to help students thrive and reach their full potential.

It’s not just about academic mastery. Listen on to find out how students can learn self-efficacy and self-advocacy and how this can change the trajectory of their success.


Show Notes:

[2:31] – North Star Academics was founded on three principles: academic mastery, self-efficacy, and parent engagement.

[3:38] – In Ashley’s experience, the disconnect for a lot of students is not having a feeling of belonging.

[5:37] – Students have ecosystems of their own. How do they feel connected to their school and is there a gap?

[7:04] – Ashley describes some of the things they look at when a student begins with North Star Academics.

[8:11] – We have to start with our own internal biases. Bias is well beyond culture.

[9:34] – Communicating with educators can be challenging with new families.

[10:47] – How are we evaluating processes in order to have a continuum of success?

[12:58] – Investment in private and independent schools is a social justice issue.

[14:33] – Stakeholders need to be tuned into the needs of every student, but students need to also be aware of their own learning profile as well.

[16:05] – Academic mastery is often the easier part of this.

[18:37] – When parents have a deference with teachers, it prevents the child from getting what they need. Advocacy needs to be modeled.

[21:27] – You are not waiting to be empowered. You have power and are working in collaboration. If you aren’t empowered, is this the right placement?

[24:16] – If students aren’t getting the accommodations they require, is it the right place for them?

[26:55] – This is a long term process. What does it take for your child to be successful not just this school year, but the next one and beyond?

[28:01] – It’s important to meet with the school in order to support the child.

[29:53] – Schools are often focused on academic mastery.

[31:20] – Research shows that if a child has just one person invested in them, they are more likely to be successful.

[33:30] – Space is not just physical space. People at school should be safe spaces for students as well.


About Our Guest:

Ashley Harding is a passionate fourth-generation educator and the Founder of North Star Academics. With a decade of experience, she's committed to improving the educational experience for children and families nationwide. Born and educated in West Los Angeles, she holds a Bachelor of Science from USC and a master's degree from Tufts University. Her focus includes creating social capital and support for students and families of color, and she has previously served as Director of Family and External Engagement for KIPP DC. Ashley's interests include promoting veganism, wearing black Chucks, and enjoying 1990s R&B.


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.