Updated: Mar 9, 2020
By Michael Piccirillo, Ed.D, CASDA Executive Director
Welcome back to what I hope will be another great school year! Please accept my genuine, heartfelt thanks for all you do to support the children of your community. There is no doubt these are complicated times, making the work of dedicated educators like you more important than ever. Today’s challenges will take exceptional leadership to overcome; leadership at all levels is imperative if we are to ensure all students have equitable access to opportunities and the appropriate supports to ensure they can make the most of these opportunities.
In 2015, the Southern Education Foundation released a report titled, “Low Income Students Now a Majority in Public Schools.” The report highlighted the issue of socioeconomic inequity. Fast forward a few years and the new ESSA regulations place significant emphasis on equity. From “equitable allocation of resources in all public schools,” to providing “all students comparable access to a world-class curriculum aligned to Next Generation State standards,” ESSA’s goals are timely.
ESSA’s emphasis on equity is unequivocal. It explicitly states that schools must “ensure that cultural responsiveness informs all school policies and practices and guides interactions among all members of the school community.” To meet this mandate, districts must provide all students access to support for their social-emotional well-being while providing staff with continual professional development in the areas of equity, anti-bias, and multicultural and culturally responsive pedagogies. In addition, ESSA emphasizes engaging communities in conversations about culturally responsive educational systems. To meet the spirit of these expectations, school districts will need support. CASDA is here to help!
Join me on October 25, 2018, at a half day workshop on the topic of Intentional Leadership as it relates to equity. I have to admit, this topic is personal for me. As a child of poverty, I understand firsthand the challenges of navigating an uneven playing field. Starting with knowing your purpose, the first step in the Intentional Leaders model is to identify your why. What values and beliefs do you as a leader bring to your role that influence your decisions? The research supporting the impact of childhood experiences on adult leadership behavior is compelling.
I hope to see you at the first of four workshops exploring the foundational experiences that inform your leadership beliefs, and strategies you can practice to apply the Intentional Leadership model to your work. In case I don’t have the opportunity to see you at one of the many CASDA events offered throughout 2018-2019, please know that we are here to help you implement ESSA and especially to address the issue of equity.