As schools have changed dramatically over the past month, we have been inspired by what educators are doing to continue leading for instructional improvement. I spoke recently with Chris Lennox, the superintendent of Mounds View Public Schools in Minnesota. Like other districts, Chris and his team went from planning to delivering remote instruction in two weeks, and he shared what that experience was like. “Once people realized a virtual classroom was the only classroom,” he said, “our teachers were amazing in making the shift.”
CEL's mission is to support the work of courageous education leaders across the country. The leaders we work with show their courage each and every day in classrooms, schools and school system central offices.
Over these past couple of weeks, I’ve observed with awe the work of these same leaders as they led their communities’ responses to the outbreak of COVID-19. Across the country, it has become clear that in the toughest of times, our families and communities rely on their schools for support, sustenance, and leadership.
In this latest installment of The Throughline, Max Silverman emphasizes the importance of collaboration for CEL and highlights a recent story about our shared work with a partner, Blaine School District.
Partnership is at the heart of how our team at The University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) works with school and system leaders across the country. Over CEL’s 18 years, we have learned again and again that multi-year collaboration in schools and classrooms leads to the greatest change for students and adults in the school systems that we support.
In this latest installment of The Throughline, Max Silverman uses his final blog post of the school year to share CEL's new vision and mission.
In their recent book, Leading for Professional Learning, my colleagues Anneke Markholt, Joanna Michelson and Stephen Fink begin by acknowledging that, “Our nation has work to do. Deep and historically entrenched economic, political, and social chasms continue to create systemic barriers to student learning that result in educational disparities, dividing our nation’s children along the lines of race, class, and language.”
As alluded to, these societal chasms have been a part of the education landscape for generations and continue to be persistent obstacles to achieving equitable outcomes for too many students. In fact, not too long ago — roughly half a generation — my friend and mentor Stephen Fink courageously launched the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership with a dedication to eliminating the achievement gap.
In this latest installment of The Throughline, Max Silverman reflects on a year of conversations with leaders who are pushing for a new school experience for students.
As a leader, you are continually pushing for a new set of outcomes for students, new experiences for leaders in classrooms and schools, and ultimately, new paradigms for schooling.
Over the past seven months of interviews in The Throughline, you have joined me in hearing the best ideas for improving the student experience put forward by education leaders from across the country. These are leaders whom I admire and who have influenced our work at the Center for Educational Leadership — people who illustrate what a new vision of schooling can be about. Each one of these leaders is transforming schools and school systems from a vision that is based on their deep beliefs in the intellect, curiosity and ability of each of their students.
In this latest installment of the Throughline, Max Silverman speaks with Superintendent Joseph Davis about his commitment to changing educators’ mindsets to enable the creation of rich and challenging learning environments featuring strong content for all students — especially students of color.
Dr. Joseph S. Davis has been the superintendent of the 11,000-student Ferguson-Florissant School District in Hazelwood, Mo. since 2015. A former middle school and high school math teacher, Davis previously served as the superintendent of the Washington County school system in North Carolina and was also the deputy chief of schools for the Chicago Public Schools. He has earned two master’s degrees in education and holds a doctorate in administration, planning and social policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
In this latest installment of The Throughline, Max Silverman speaks with Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham about how to create deep and rich student-centered learning experiences, as well as meaningful professional development for teachers in a school system approach based on equity.
Jennifer Cheatham is the superintendent of the 27,000-student Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin. Cheatham specializes in creating systemic improvements in urban districts through the development of instructional alignment and coherence at all levels of a school system. Previously, Cheatham was the chief of instruction for the Chicago Public Schools, leading the central office team to support schools in instructional improvement and was the executive director of curriculum and instruction for the San Diego City Schools.
In this latest installment of The Throughline, Max Silverman speaks with Gia Truong about ensuring that all students, regardless of background, experience a rigorous education, free from bias.
Gia Truong is the chief executive officer at Envision Education, a mission-driven organization based in Oakland, Calif., that is transforming the lives of low-income, first-generation, college-bound students. Envision operates charter schools in the Bay Area and provides training and consulting services to schools and districts all over the country. Truong leads Envision with a strong commitment to educational equity and a focus on providing enhanced rigor and deeper learning opportunities for students. She is a Leading for Equity Fellow with the National Equity Project, is a member of Education Leaders of Color, and is the former executive officer of California’s Oakland Unified Schools’ Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
Max Silverman: Gia, we both have the honor of leading organizations with deep equity agendas. In your day-to-day work, how do you define equity?
Too often, we as educators confuse talking about student data and progress on key data benchmarks with actually talking about how students are progressing as learners and young people. This point is most easily seen when groups of educators are huddled around spreadsheets or elegant data arrays puzzling over how to best move a group of students over a data hurdle. No doubt this scene is one of progress from when broad groups of students were dismissed as unable to make significant progress. However, our evolution as student-centered educators requires us to make a critical shift from talking about student data to talking about students.