Affirming Voices was founded in March 2020 by Dra. Alexandra Escobar, a Chicagoland social justice equity leader with over sixteen years of experience, addresses the lack of educational equity and the impact of racism and injustice in school communities.
We are committed to supporting the growth and continuous development of educators' racial and socio-cultural consciousness and equip them to serve students and their families better.
We aim to listen, learn, grow, and act alongside our partners to realize a future in which every child has the opportunity to flourish unhindered by racism and injustice.
We support school communities in developing and implementing systemic, systematic, and sustainable educational equity policies and practices.
Research & Data Analysis
- Examine current policies, practices, and perspectives to offer recommendations that advance educational equity.
Strategy Development & Implementation
- Apply systems thinking approach and equity framework to strategic planning and implementation.
- Engage in critical reflection and introspection to unpack personal bias and privilege, and promote antiracism and the values of being a co-conspirator for social justice.
Professional Growth Opportunities
- Develop educators' racial and socio-cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills to transform current policies, practices, and perspectives that underserve marginalized groups.
Teaching & Learning
- Co-create instructional environments and curricula that actively engage all students by using effective, culturally responsive, relevant, and research-based practices to meet their academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs.
FAMILY & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
- Evaluate existing family and community engagement opportunities and provide recommendations to ensure that it is equitable, inclusive, accessible, and culturally responsive.
Research & Data AnalysisExamine current policies, practices, and perspectives to offer recommendations that advance educational equity.
Strategy Development & ImplementationApply systems thinking approach and equity framework to strategic planning and implementation.
Leadership DevelopmentEngage in critical reflection and introspection to unpack personal bias and privilege, and promote antiracism and the values of being a co-conspirator for social justice.
Professional Growth OpportunitiesDevelop educators' racial and socio-cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills to transform current policies, practices, and perspectives that underserve marginalized groups.
Teaching & LearningCo-create instructional environments and curricula that actively engage all students by using effective, culturally responsive, relevant, and research-based practices to meet their academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs.
FAMILY & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENTEvaluate existing family and community engagement opportunities and provide recommendations to ensure that it is equitable, inclusive, accessible, and culturally responsive.
Meet Our Founder
Doctora Alexandra Escobar is a social justice equity leader whose moral compass informs her thoughts and actions to positively influence and inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.
Her mind, heart, and soul are in the right place, and she lives a life of integrity where what she values, believes, thinks, says, and does are aligned.
Doctora Escobar identifies as a Brown Latinx woman. She is the daughter of Colombian immigrants who grew up in a multicultural, multilingual, and multiracial family. At a very young age, she experienced the tensions among her intersecting identities, e.g., race, ethnicity, class, gender, language proficiency, etc. Her racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic identities were never welcomed at school. She was punished for speaking Spanish, and assumptions about her ability to learn as a Brown English Language Learner resulted in a special education evaluation referral in elementary school. In high school, her guidance counselor made it clear college wasn't for her.
Despite commonly held beliefs that Latinx do not value education, her mother instilled in her the value of education at a very young age. She credits the tenacious woman in her family for realizing her dream of becoming a Doctor in Education.
Dra. Escobar began her teaching career at St. Augustine College over sixteen years ago. At St. Augustine College, she helped students successfully obtain their General Educational Development (GED) and develop their English Language Proficiency. She then served as an elementary bilingual school teacher and Response to Intervention Coordinator in Chicago Public Schools for six years. Due to her desire to become an educator of educators, she transitioned into administration in 2012. Since then, she has served as an assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent of teaching.
Her legacy to the school communities she has served has been establishing professional learning communities focused on meeting the diverse needs of students and setting high expectations for all. Under her leadership, instructional leadership was continuously strengthened through self-reflection, collaboration, and evaluation practices, and as a result, student achievement and educator practices improved. Additionally, the climate and culture of the school communities transitioned from a culture of compliance to a culture of transparency and continuous growth.
Kari Harris, IL MTSS Network, IL
As a Northern Region Coach for the IL MTSS Network, I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Principals and leadership teams across Northern Illinois and I remain inspired by my time working with Dr. Escobar. I admire her leadership style and skills. At the heart of any decision she makes is children. Dr. Escobar is willing to roll up her sleeves, work alongside the team, make the hard decisions and have the tough conversations - all in the desire to create positive change for kids. Alexandra is extremely knowledgeable; not just in educational pedagogy, research-based practices, and interventions, but also in curriculum design, MTSS process, equity and cultural responsiveness, bilingual education, and Social-Emotional Learning."
Elvira Pichardo, Ph.D., Elmhurst Unified School District 205, IL
Dr. Escobar successfully guided the district towards the use of data and student-centered instruction through the use of the instructional specialist team and using an equity lens centered on meeting the needs of all learners. She worked tirelessly with coaches and teachers to promote an asset-based approach to education. She analyzed the intersection of social, economic, political, racial, and cultural factors that were impacting the education of emergent bilingual students and diverse learners and researched how to best address the needs of our specific population.”
Elisabete Abrantes, Berwyn North School District 98, IL
I am tremendously grateful for the leadership and guidance she has provided, the systems she has put in place for our district, and the expertise and knowledge she brought to us. Her guidance in the areas of Curriculum and Instruction, Gifted Education, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), and other integral aspects of Teaching and Learning has been second to none. She is creative and always reflective in her approach to working with all staff. Her strong, yet compassionate demeanor makes her extremely approachable and allows for a safe, collaborative space for all of us to contribute.”
Jill Healy, IL Mathematics Consultant, IL
Her drive to create equitable instructional experiences for all students was at the forefront of her work. Alexandra is dedicated to providing meaningful professional learning opportunities for teachers to reflect on rigorous, engaging, and relevant instruction for all students. Her dedication to creating equitable learning environments is contagious and her drive to encourage and challenge educators to become active participants in student’s education is invaluable.”
Eden Barragan, Berwyn North School District 98, IL
Her knowledge of instruction, equity, and cultural responsiveness has brought about some much-needed changes and has taken our district in a positive direction. Her professionalism and respect for others make it easy to work with her, while her confidence and passion make the work exciting."
Amanda Moons, Ed.S., Neuro-Educational Specialists, IL
Dr. Escobar is truly a child-centered individual, who is always willing to assist and support students, teachers, parents, and administrators. Dr. Escobar’s professional record is exemplary; she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the educational setting. She was well respected for her professionalism, kindness, and empathy for others. Dr. Escobar worked tirelessly to advocate for the needs of all students. She brings the depth of knowledge needed to increase growth and achievement for all learners.”
William Loftus, North Shore School District 112, IL
Dr. Escobar led our school in a manner that fused our shared values of future-ready learning, equitable multicultural education, collaboration among stakeholders and social justice. Under her leadership, it was refreshing to confidently know that all decisions were being made with a well-thought-out multi-faceted approach that truly valued student needs above all else. Dr. Escobar is an exemplary leader and student advocate from whom I had the opportunity to learn just how much of a changemaker a school administrator should and could be. I found my work under Dr. Escobar to be the best of my career, and I continue to be inspired by her as a multicultural educator and social justice advocate.”
Daisy Lopez, Chicago Public Schools, IL
Dr. Escobar pushed me to reach my highest potential. She observed my classroom regularly and provided constructive feedback that challenged me and ultimately improved my practice. Thanks to her instructional leadership I took risks that directly benefited my students. Together, we were able to have reflective conversations about my practice to ensure all students were being supported and challenged. Consequently, I was better equipped to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of all students through data analysis and increased collaboration with families. Dr. Escobar successfully empowered families to get involved and serve as advocates for their children."
Aida Perez, Chicago Public Schools, IL
She is not only knowledgeable of research-based instructional practices but also has a wealth of resources and ideas that cater to establishing a positive school culture and climate. Her caring disposition allowed our school, as a whole, to welcome her and under her guidance create systems and structures to improve instruction and increase student achievement. Dr. Escobar provided highly engaging and tailored professional development to our teachers. She also collaborated with highly respected lead teachers to establish monthly Teachers Academies meant to provide a safe learning environment for teachers to learn from one another. Dr. Escobar provided a nurturing environment, which created a high level of trust with teachers."