Leading an equity agenda takes more than vision--it takes courage and conviction from school leaders and educators

While equity requires vision from its leaders, it also requires courage.

During the edWebinar “Leading for Equity: Courage to Lead with an Equity Agenda,” hosted by AASA, The Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, Dr. Khalid Mumin, Superintendent of Reading School District (PA), and Marlon Styles, Superintendent of Middletown City Schools (OH), discussed the challenges they faced and the tough decisions they made to keep their equity agenda moving forward.

Equity sometimes requires unequal supports for students. While the goal is the same outcome for all students—graduation—the effort to get each student there will look different. Instead of trying to give each student the exact same experience and expect them all to graduate, leaders need to figure out what each student needs to complete their educational goals.

Related content: 3 ways to bring equity to STEM education

Equity agendas require constant revision. Today’s actions might focus on internet access at home and the impact of social justice movements, but new equity challenges could arrive tomorrow. Leaders must be willing to go back to their boards, back to their administrative teams, and update their plans and budgets based on the current needs of their students and staff.

While equity requires vision from its leaders, it also requires courage.

During the edWebinar “Leading for Equity: Courage to Lead with an Equity Agenda,” hosted by AASA, The Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, Dr. Khalid Mumin, Superintendent of Reading School District (PA), and Marlon Styles, Superintendent of Middletown City Schools (OH), discussed the challenges they faced and the tough decisions they made to keep their equity agenda moving forward.

Equity sometimes requires unequal supports for students. While the goal is the same outcome for all students—graduation—the effort to get each student there will look different. Instead of trying to give each student the exact same experience and expect them all to graduate, leaders need to figure out what each student needs to complete their educational goals.

Related content: 3 ways to bring equity to STEM education

Equity agendas require constant revision. Today’s actions might focus on internet access at home and the impact of social justice movements, but new equity challenges could arrive tomorrow. Leaders must be willing to go back to their boards, back to their administrative teams, and update their plans and budgets based on the current needs of their students and staff.

Striving for equity means tossing a lot of old hiring practices. If the goal is to have a teaching staff that not only reflects the student population, but also understands the students’ needs, then posting job openings and choosing candidates from a generic pile won’t work. Now, leaders need to hire based on their equity goals—for all positions—and how candidates will fit into the desired culture and student experience. This can also result in schools forging their own pathways for teaching licenses and administrative positions.

A strong equity agenda can also make the student code of conduct obsolete. Most student codes are punitive and only focus on dealing with adverse behavior after the fact. Many students won’t read them because they are just lists of what not to do. Both presenters said they upended the system at their schools by first trying to understand where these behaviors were coming from and second, by trying to work with students before they exhibit those behaviors. This requires schools to invest in student and family liaisons and to be active participants in all students’ educations.

Pursuing equity requires constant professional development for all staff. Equity doesn’t end in the classroom—it’s a school- and district-wide culture. The work never stops. Schools must continually invest in training, coaching, and personnel so they can take the equity agenda from words to action. Staff may think they have other important issues to focus on, but in order to erase decades of disparity, equity education needs to be constant at all levels.

This edWeb broadcast was hosted by AASA, The Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, providing premier professional learning for educational leaders. View the recording of the edWebinar here and listen to the podcast here.

About the presenters

For the last 20 years, Dr. Khalid N. Mumin has served in various capacities as a teacher, dean of students, principal and central administrator. Dr. Mumin earned a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Education in Teaching & Curriculum from Pennsylvania State University, a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education from Shippensburg University, and an Associate of Arts in English from Northeastern Christian Junior College.
source: Read More, eSchool News

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