Skip to content

Lead Banner Lead Banner Lead Banner

Ready to identify ways and places to sustain and grow change?


Co-design systems to sustain equity


You’re here to continue the journey of co-designing systems to sustain equity. The second step? Identify ways and places to sustain and grow change.

Across this journey, you will be prompted to record your answers during some activities. You can record them or type them on your own device and save the files so you can come back to them later. If you see the option to take notes within the text boxes, you can print and/or email them to yourself at the end of the activity for your personal use. You can also access a digital download of this Experience Journey if you prefer.

If this is your first Experience Journey with The Elephant in the (Class)room, make sure you Pack for Your Journey before you depart.


Think of a time when you had the power and agency to make a decision that would affect others. This could be in an education setting as a classroom teacher or manager/school leader, in another professional setting as a manager or team leader, or in a personal setting as a parent or caregiver.

What were the primary inputs or key drivers of your decision-making?
Did you evaluate the results of your decision to determine if it was equitable or helped sustain systems of equity? If so, how? If not, why not?

Record your answers

Record your answers on your own device. You can refer back to them later.

Next up: Listen to Learn


Here we will watch a TED Talk by Antoinette Carroll, equity designer and founder, president, and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab, a nonprofit educating and deploying youth to challenge racial and health inequities impacting Black and Latinx populations. In the video, she talks about how systems of oppression, inequality, and inequity are by design, so therefore, can be redesigned.

Let’s watch twice to hear what Antionette has to say. These repeated watches are essential to deepening your understanding, as we will be prompting you to listen with different “ears” or orientations.


First listen:
from inside the system
  • What is one example of how a design decision—in or outside of education—has impacted your daily life? 
  • Are there design decisions that have caused oppression for you, your family, or people in your community? 
  • Have you experienced designs that put people and equity first? How did those design decisions support liberation for you, your family, or people in your community?
Don’t forget to record your answers!
Second listen:
from above the system
  • In what ways are you an equity designer in your current role? 
  • In the design decision you shared previously, what are the inputs, strengths, or perspectives you considered? What are the inputs or perspectives that may be missing from your design decisions?
  • Who has been most impacted by your decisions? 
Don’t forget to record your answers!

Now that you have reflected, told a bit of your own story, and learned from other educators, use these templates to capture your learnings and concrete implications for your design and decision-making processes.

Note that it may be helpful to ground yourself in a human-centered design process to think through the discovery process and action plan. Harvard Business School has a helpful overview of the process here.

Weaving it together can help you co-design systems to sustain equity and identify ways and places where you can use equity design to sustain and grow change, building off of current strengths. One way to think about ways to sustain and grow change is to critically interrogate your current design and decision-making processes and set a precedent in which you integrate perspectives from stakeholders that are not currently included and iterate continuously.


Data Discovery Worksheet

    Action Planning Worksheet

      Last step: Commit and Connect

      Now that you’ve woven it all together, where do you go from here?

      Connect with others on this journey so that we as educators can learn and grow together in community rather than in isolation. Commit to equity as an ongoing practice and explore more content on The Elephant in the (Class)room.

      Engage others in your system

      You might start with engaging others in your system – for example, your colleagues, a grade-level team, a professional learning community structure already established – and invite them to join you in this experience. The power of additional stories, reflections, and learning in community can be harnessed at your school and/or district.

      Connect with us

      Connect with the Elephant team to join a cohort of like-minded educators from across the country to redesign systems for equity. Send us a message at .

      Explore more on The Elephant in the (Class)room

      Continue to explore other ways to understand and experience our anchors for equity:


      Explore resources related to The Elephant
      explore resources
      Card Anchor


      teaching and learning as a dynamic relational human exchange

      Card Anchor


      our concepts of educator and community in schools

      Card Anchor


      systems to sustain equity