Instructional Leadership in Action

Looking Back to Lean Forward: CEL's 20-Year Journey

by Max Silverman Sep 30, 2021

Dear partners and colleagues,

In 2003, I was a second-year principal. At the time, my school was best known for its low standardized test scores and discipline rates. I thought that my general leadership ability was sufficient to lead a dramatic school turnaround. Then, I walked into my first CEL professional learning session.

It turns out, there was so much I didn’t know. And even more importantly, until meeting the CEL team, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

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"I Really Wanted to Get to School on Time": When Listening Guides Your Leadership

by Max Silverman Jun 24, 2021

“Let your curiosity be greater than your fear.”

- Pema Chodron

 

“Our unconscious bias whispers, ‘We already have an anti-racist school.’ Our student data shouts, ‘You are not there yet!’ We must embrace the idea that we are all novices in the pursuit of creating a sustainable, equitable school system. It will be a lifelong endeavor.”

 -Central Washington Equity Leadership Network participant

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Your Leadership Lights the Way Forward

by Max Silverman Jan 12, 2021

Dear partners and colleagues,

This January has opened as an intense continuation of a year like no other in our collective memory. “Relentless, exhausting and humbling” is how many of you have described 2020.

But when I consider your leadership this past year, very different words come to mind: AWE and ADMIRATION. 

Early on, regardless of how you personally felt, you pulled resources together on behalf of your students. Overnight you became internet providers, nutrition programs and full-time social service centers for your communities — all while keeping your day jobs as initiators of courageous conversations and leaders for student learning.

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My role as a leader has changed — and needed to change. Here’s why.

by Max Silverman Oct 15, 2020

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

 - Maya Angelou

 

I have a confession to make: I didn’t get into education because I was excited to be a teacher. I went into education because I was eager to work for change in communities, and I believed that working with young people was the best way to do that. Lucky for me, I also happened to really enjoy teaching. Ultimately, teaching was my way of working toward social justice.

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The Surprising Possibilities of Virtual Team Collaboration

by Max Silverman Jun 4, 2020

In schools and classrooms, societal inequities play out every day. So, from our inception, the team at CEL has believed in supporting educational leaders to improve their practice as a path towards racial equity. 

Teachers, principals and central office leaders are showing up every day to do their very best for students. We share this blog post in acknowledgment of how leaders are doubling down on their commitments to their students. And we, too, are deepening our commitment to help leaders.


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Ways to Lead for Instruction Right Now

by Max Silverman Apr 20, 2020

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.”

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Acknowledging Courage on Display

by Max Silverman Mar 18, 2020

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.

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The Importance of Partnership

by Max Silverman Oct 22, 2019

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. 

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Empowering all students takes courageous leaders: CEL’s new vision for student experiences and a mission to get there

by Max Silverman Jun 24, 2019

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.

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Leading for a new student experience in schools

by Max Silverman Jun 10, 2019

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.

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