While gaps in technology access were highlighted during the pandemic, many school and district leaders are trying to make strides with an even older issue: educational equity for children of all races and economic backgrounds. In the edWebinar, “Leading for Equity: Pursuing an Equity Agenda,” hosted by AASA, The Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, Dr. Frank Barnes, Chief Equity and Accountability Officer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), and Kimberly Vaught, Principal, Allenbrook Elementary School, discussed their approach to building equity.
The current crisis has highlighted the disparity between students with and without equitable access to technology, especially in rural schools. While most teachers are being asked to take their lessons directly to the students’ homes, many administrators know that the challenges in their district go beyond whether or not students have enough devices to do their classwork. During CoSN and ClassLink’s edWebinar, “Leading Digital Transformations in Rural School Districts,” the presenters talked about how the COVID-19 situation amplifies the obstacles rural schools face transitioning to a 21st century learning environment.
Budgets. Student outcomes. Constituent communications. Previously, these were key elements in developing a strategic technology plan. And while those issues are still important, school and district leaders must now factor in that schools may never function the same way again. In the edWebinar, “Strategic Technology Planning: Aligning Priorities, Costs, Outcomes and Sustainability,” the presenters discussed new items that must become part of strategic plans.
Rural school districts face many unique trials, and access to educational technology is no different. But the obstacles aren’t just about location. In many cases, school leaders need to justify why the district should invest in the first place. During the edWebinar “Technology in Rural Schools: Leading with Why,” the presenters discussed how they overcame challenges and helped the community understand the value of tech in schools.
As a new principal at the Dunwoody Springs Elementary School, Fulton County Schools, GA, Ivy Goggins faced pockets of success in the building, a climate of teachers working in silos, and the lack of true collaboration. These are common challenges for many instructional leaders, teachers, and coaches, and Goggins sought to find a way to create a culture of mutual respect, cooperation, and equitable learning opportunities for her teachers and students. In CT3’s recent edWebinar, Goggins, her principal coach Joy Treadwell, Ph.D. from CT3, and Jim McVety, Managing Partner of First Step Advisors, delved into solutions to these challenges through the essential leadership skills that have the potential to impact the entire school community.
Faced with fast-changing instructional models, varying infection rates, decreasing revenue sources, and a variety of natural disasters, how can education finance officials meet the short-term needs of their districts as well as longer-term requirements? During a recent edLeader Panel sponsored by Gaggle, four experts shared their recent experiences and current perspectives on the issues and challenges that school districts have been coping with during the past six months. They also discussed interim solutions and plans for the future, all of which are continuing to evolve.
When Project Tomorrow surveyed students in 2015 about what they envision schools will look like in 2020, one student described school as being the place where there would be more educational videos, online class discussions, online games, and texting between teachers and students. Everyone would have their tablet or laptop. We are now in 2020, living through the COVID-19 pandemic and in the remote and online environment predicted in 2015. In a recent edWebinar sponsored by Blackboard, Dr. Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, and Chris O’Neal, a former teacher and current Blackboard Solutions Engineer, shared front-line stories and tips to provide insight into how to ensure continuity of learning for our students during this unprecedented time.
Presented by Dr. Doug Brubaker, Superintendent, Fort Smith Public Schools (AR); Dr. Ann Levett, Superintendent, Savannah-Chatham Schools (GA); and Dr. Kristi Wilson, Superintendent, Buckeye Elementary School District (AZ), and President of AASA
Every two or three years, state and federal laws regarding accessibility in education change. However, the goal is always the same: making sure that every student, at every level (classroom, building, district), has access to the resources they need to meet their learning goals. During ClassLink and CoSN’s edWebinar, “Accessibility for All: Creating an Equitable Learning Ecosystem,” the presenters discussed the lessons they’ve learned, especially regarding technology as an instrument for accessibility.
Achieving educational equity doesn’t just happen when schools change their expectations and goals in the classroom. Support and understanding from all stakeholders, including families, local businesses, elected officials, etc., is essential to ensuring everyone in the community is working towards the same goal. During the edWebinar, “Leading for Equity: From Research to Practice – Accelerating Outcomes for Scholars of Color, Part II,” hosted by AASA, The Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, the presenters continued their exploration of strategies discussed in Part I and how leaders in the Selma City Public Schools are mobilizing their community in pursuit of educational equity.