The Education Domain: 
The Power of Focus 

Unite KC employs a strategy using 11 vertical markets, known as domains, to help people engage in taking active steps toward racial healing in Kansas City, starting with their own area of expertise or interest. The Education Domain is one of those 11 domains.

It might have been tempting at the Education Domain’s first meeting to decide to wait a year or so before acting on racial reconciliation in KC’s world of education. 

Pandemic-driven shifts to virtual learning, then later a mix of in-person and online education left school systems scrambling. Would there be bandwidth to bring attention to racial injustice in education?

But the dozen or so Kansas and Missouri educators and administrators in Unite KC’s Education Domain are striding right through uncertainty to bring change as a service, not a burden, to school districts.

The Education Domain in discussion at an early Unite KC gathering.

One Good Thing

Domain Leader Miranda Mendez explained, “It wasn’t hard to point out places of racial inequity; the challenge was getting just one place to start … we agreed that calling attention to the Underground theater production could be a healthy starting point for racial education.”

Many districts are currently conducting curriculum audits looking for undercurrents of racial inequity, intending to provide curriculum expectations and materials that will help right injustice.

Underground, a production by Störling Dance Theater that tells the story of three escaping slaves and the people who assisted them through the Underground Railroad to freedom, actually had a student curriculum developed several years ago.

“So we’re updating, refreshing and polishing it to offer to school districts a ready resource to deepen the impact of the theater experience,” Miranda explained.

“… we’re updating, refreshing and polishing [the Underground student curriculum] to offer to school districts a ready resource to deepen the impact of the theater experience.”

Miranda Mendez

Education Domain, Unite KC

“As many districts utilize this curriculum, it will not only save them development time, but we can then add exciting options. 

“Imagine Zoom conversations between two classrooms in different districts, talking pre-production about their expectations and post-production about how those changed. Or imagine diversity and inclusion projects carried out between two districts with different racial mixes.”

“And we are starting with ourselves in the domain team,” Miranda went on. “We hold our own Underground-structured discussions to help build openness and trust within our very diverse team.”

What’s Ahead

Ideas for a next Good Thing have come easily: helping districts with plans to recruit a more diverse staff of educators and leaders; correcting the disproportionate number of Black and Latino students in both remedial and advanced classes; preparing educators to embrace diversity in their classrooms as part of their onboarding and ongoing education.

“As we move forward, we will lead initiatives in these areas,” Miranda said.  “As we do, we also see ourselves becoming creators of a network to help districts share best practices and learning about increasing inclusion.”