Ep. 179: How to Empower Black Neurodivergent Learners with Jason B. Allen

Apr 2, 2024 | 0 comments

Welcome to today's episode where we are tackling the important topic of empowering black neurodivergent learners and connecting with their community. Our guest, Jason B. Allen, National Director of Partnerships for the National Parents Union, brings over 19 years of experience in education to the table. Through his work, Jason advocates for inclusive and supportive environments that uplift students, families, and communities.

In our conversation, Jason sheds light on the stigma surrounding learning disabilities and shares his personal journey as both an educator and a student with exceptionalities. He emphasizes the importance of amplifying voices and fostering parent and family engagement in education. Jason highlights the need for dedicated educators who recognize issues and work towards practical solutions.

We discuss the significance of community engagement and the role it plays in shaping school culture. Jason emphasizes the need for intentional partnerships and resources to support educators and empower students. Through his work with the National Parents Union, Jason advocates for informed decision-making and inclusive educational practices.

Join us as we explore actionable strategies to create inclusive learning environments and empower black neurodivergent learners. From promoting family engagement to fostering community partnerships, this episode provides valuable insights to drive positive change in education.

Show Notes:

  • [2:26] – There is a stigma associated with learning disabilities.
  • [3:31] – Jason describes his own experience as an educator and having his own exceptionalities as a student.
  • [5:37] – Just because we don’t acknowledge something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We need to use our voices.
  • [7:20] – Parent and family engagement is crucial. Jason shares how even at pre-planning, he was able to connect with families and better understand them.
  • [9:29] – It takes dedicated educators to see the issues and present solutions.
  • [10:50] – Many schools and school districts send surveys and gather reports and feedback from families. But where does that data go?
  • [12:01] – If we are not grounded in family and community engagement standards, then we will continue to believe that the social and emotional development of children does not impact academic outcomes.
  • [13:19] – Learning does not stop or end at school. It is ongoing.
  • [15:31] – School culture needs to change. When black students enter a school, what do they see and is it reflected in the curriculum?
  • [17:40] – Make the data real.
  • [19:22] – How are we being intentional about making sure that students are present and know they belong?
  • [20:31] – Education is power.
  • [21:37] – Get connected with the people in the community who are doing the work. Partnership is key.
  • [23:20] – It is challenging, but it's not impossible.
  • [24:39] – When our teachers are not well, we have to be realistic about how impactful they are.
  • [27:04] – We can’t ask educators to do more if they don’t have the resources in order to do the thing we’re asking them to do.
  • [30:52] – Jason is the National Director of Partnerships for the National Parents Union.
  • [32:08] – In many communities, parents don’t have the information in order to make decisions for their children.
  • [35:05] – A lot of times, we bring our beliefs into what we do, but we need to be intentional and inclusive.
  • [37:10] – We cannot be gatekeepers that prevent black students from the best education they can receive.
  • [38:20] – Jason explains how to get connected with the National Parents Union and the free resources they offer.

About Our Guest:

Jason B. Allen is the National Director of Partnerships for the National Parents Union. His work resides in the Organizing and Partnership Department where his focus is on elevating partnerships, programs and campaigns amplifying parent voices. He has worked in education for over 19 years as a teacher, administrator and leader serving students, families and communities. As a long time storyteller, Jason shares his experiences through his company, educational entities, llc and helps others develop their stories through digital storytelling including podcasting, blogging, advocacy and other public speaking platforms. His life work is centered on his family’s foundation, Lillie’s Foundation, supporting grandparents and seniors raising school aged children. He is a longtime advocate for male engagement helping found Black Males with Initiative in 2001 and continuing this work throughout his professional career. His first book, Suits, Swagg and Success shares his experiences, strategies and solutions to engaging Black males.

Connect with Jason:

Links and Related Resources:

Connect with Us:

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.