Skip to main content

Our Commitments to Racial Justice and Equity

Floop stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We are horrified by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Elijah McClain, and countless others at the hands of police. We condemn the racial hierarchy that existed before the founding of this country and enforced by this country’s history of racist policies, from slavery, segregation, and our modern era of mass incarceration and policing that disproportionately harms Black people and communities. We are heartbroken at how these wider policies of oppression persist in our education system, through our curriculum, assessment policies, tracking, and discipline processes. But we are also heartened by the renewed attention and support of Black Lives Matter and are committed to doing our part to dismantle the racial hierarchy.

Up to this point, we have been quiet on email, social media, and this blog to allow more important voices to come to the front and to engage in thoughtful action ourselves. I am still conflicted about writing and publishing this post - not because we don’t care, but because we feel like company statements are inherently self-serving. Condemning racism should be a given. The work that we care about has been the work we’ve engaged with - joining Seattle’s protests, donating to organizations local and national, educating ourselves, and opening conversations about race in our homes, classrooms, and workspaces. Comparatively, publishing a company statement felt meaningless, and worse, performative. As a company founded by non-Black people, we didn’t feel like we had much of value to contribute to the conversation.

Ultimately, we decided this statement needed to be published for two reasons:

  1. To let current and future stakeholders know exactly where we stand. If you are a customer, future investor, or future team member who doesn’t believe that Black Lives Matter or that racism is real, then we’d honestly love to chat and have an opportunity to change your mind (email us at [email protected]). Otherwise, please take your money and time elsewhere.
  2. To set the groundwork for our continued and future work in equity. This work is ongoing and lifelong. To be involved in this conversation long term, we felt compelled to speak up at a time when Black Lives Matter is so present in our country’s consciousness.


As a company, we are committed to building a more just and equitable world. We live out our values through our actions. Here are initial intentions, and we will continue to update and solidify our commitments as our company develops.

Internally, we commit to: 

  • Maintaining a diverse team. We are proud to be a company founded by majority women and POC. We will continue to seek and work with individuals from diverse backgrounds with different life experiences from ours. 
  • Creating an inclusive company culture. We strive to be a company that makes every person feel welcomed, safe, and valued as their authentic self. While we are not actively growing our team right now, we can lay the groundwork for a diverse team by creating an environment where diversity can thrive and by intentionally dismantling systems of white supremacy that can be so prevalent in the American workplace. 
  • Practicing co-creation. As a company founded by teachers, human-centered design is part of our DNA. We are also aware of our own blind spots as educators since we only know the communities we serve. We will actively collaborate with a diverse range of students and teachers, particularly from marginalized communities, so that the people creating the product represent the people we are trying to serve. 
  • Encouraging team members to take action within their communities. In addition to recognizing Juneteenth, Indigenous People’ Day, and Election Day as company holidays, we will recognize two floating days for days of action. 
  • Filtering every decision we make about the product through the lens of equity. Technology can be an equalizer, but it can also amplify racist ideas and policies. Human made systems are bound to acquire their creators’ bias. We will work proactively to identify and fix bias as best as we can, and to assess our decisions based on whether they contribute to racial equity or inequity. 

Externally, we commit to: 

  • Establishing a scholarship fund for teachers to use Floop. We want to ensure Floop is accessible to teachers and students that need it most. We started a scholarship fund as part of our Founding Teacher’s program and will continue to put aside a percentage of our budget to cover subscription fees for teachers who otherwise can’t afford them. 
  • Lifting up voices of BIPOC educators and BIPOC-led education companies. There are many more relevant voices to this conversation than ours. We will seek out and lift up these voices on social media and in our company networks. 
  • Sharing resources specific to equity and culturally-responsive teaching. We recognize that conversations about race and equity are hard. We also recognize that BIPOC students have been expected to assimilate into white culture in a way that hurts their sense of identity. We will share resources that can open conversations about race and equity, inform teachers on research-informed practices, and empower all learners to be their best and most authentic selves. 
  • Progressing the role of feedback in classrooms. Feedback is one of the most important drivers of equity in education. Research shows that effective feedback raises struggling students the most while improving outcomes for all. We will continue to use feedback as a mechanism to close gaps in education, gaps that correlate with race and income-level as a result of racist policies. 

This conversation is ongoing. Here are a couple things we can contribute, and we will continue to update this list: 

  • Use “wise feedback” to increase motivation - From the archives, a quick research summary of how including a statement of belief along with instructor feedback increased revision rates for African American students from 17% to 71%. 
  • My Racial Awakening: Discovering I am Asian - When talking with students about race, I share the story of my own racial awakening to model openness and vulnerability. I am sure that every person has their own story of racial awakening, and if you haven’t formally articulated it, I hope that my story can be a useful example. 

Here is one of the most complete references we’ve found for ways you can support Black Lives Matter: 


And here are some awesome EdTech companies with Black founders that can support your schools, classrooms, or students: 

  • Words Liive (Twitter, Facebook) - For teachers, Words Liive brings Culturally Relevant Pedagogy into classrooms by integrating song lyrics into reading assignments. 
  • MindRight - For teens and young adults, MindRight provides culturally-responsive and trauma-informed mental health coaching via texting. 
  • Scholly (Twitter, Facebook) - For upper high school and college students, Scholly is a platform for finding personalized scholarships. 
  • Intervene (Twitter) - For schools and districts, Intervene uses assessment data to match students with personalized online tutoring. 
  • Innovare (Twitter, Facebook) - For school and district leaders, Innovare helps manage data, strategy, and project management in a single place. 

Thank you for engaging in this work alongside us. Fighting for a more equitable world, where everyone has agency and access to opportunity, will be some of the most important work we do in our lifetime.

Melanie Kong
HS STEM Teacher
Co-founder and CEO of Floop

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Back-to-School: Consider Your Feedback System, Not Grading System

One question I ask other teachers is “How important is feedback in learning?” Every teacher I talk to agrees that feedback is crucial. It’s how both teacher and student gets better. Research backs the importance of feedback; building off of John Hattie’s work comparing factors on learning, Evidence for Learning’s toolkit ranks feedback as having the highest impact out of their 34 approaches (along with meta-cognition) with a +8 months’ impact on students’ learning progress.

I follow the feedback question with “How important are grades in learning?” It might seem like a loaded question. You can imagine how teachers respond: “They’re not.”

Why give grades, then? We’ll save that topic for another occasion. For now, I just want to point out that we are frequently asked to consider and describe our grading system by students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. We’re rarely asked about the much bigger and more important component of our work: feedback.


With back-to-school quickly approac…

A Culture of Iteration: Policies and Practices for a Revision-FocusedClassroom

Success in the real world depends on a person's ability to iterate.
to understand the definition of success on a taskto seek feedback early and oftento use that feedback to revise and refine until successful As teachers, its our job to scaffold this process, with developmentally-appropriate differentiation, until our students can fly solo. As I sit here writing this, my SO Dan is at his desk red-lining a building diagram for a warehouse in Canada. When he's done, the diagram will go back to his team of engineers where they will respond to Dan's feedback with a better design. They'll repeat this process until both building code and client requirements have been met. To do this work, which requires an iteration cycle that can last over a year or more, Dan has to understand building code and client needs, seek feedback from other engineers and the client, and use that feedback to revise and refine until the design is ready for implementation.

​Dan wasn't born knowing h…

Part 2 - Tools for an Equitable Feedback System: Engaging with Criteria

This series of posts will cover a variety of bite-sized strategies that can be incorporated into a more holistic feedback system. To learn more about the research behind these approaches, we recommend you first read our white paper.

Part 1 - Feedback is Emotional



For feedback information to be useful, it must communicate:  Where am I going? (What are the goals?)How am I going? (What progress is being made toward the goal?)Where to next? (What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?) (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).  Supporting students in engaging with the grading criteria helps give context to the feedback to come. In other words, it does the groundwork of helping them determine for themselves, "Where am I going?"