“How are the children?” That’s how Dr. Baron R. Davis, Superintendent of Richland School District Two (SC), starts every meeting. He isn’t just asking, though, if they are physically well. Like the traditional Maasai greeting, he’s asking if the people in his district are making the children their priority every day and making sure they are doing everything to take care of the children on every level.
Using data to determine the needs of economically disadvantaged students and make good decisions about them has helped one school district provide more equitable outcomes, meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and increase opportunities for high school graduates to succeed in college and their careers.
When many schools and districts address equity problems, they tend to look at the big picture and overall outcomes. But according to the presenters in an edWebinar, hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, the more effective approach is to identify specific problems for specific groups of students and make key changes that address those individual needs. By combining the small group focus with short cycles of improvement, schools can truly create a system where every child is receiving the best possible education.
How can school districts provide more equitable outcomes for their full range of students, while also implementing anti-racist policies and procedures? The hard work and “authentic journey” required to achieve these sorts of outcomes were discussed during a recent edWebinar, hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network. The presentation featured Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent of the Ithaca City School District (NY), Lily Talcott, Deputy Superintendent of the district, and Deborah Ptak, Principal of the district’s Lehman Alternative Community School.
Presented by Dr. Mark Benigni, Superintendent, Meriden Public Schools (CT); Dr. Alan Seibert, Superintendent, Salem City Schools (VA); Dr. Jason Van Heukelum, Superintendent, Winchester Public Schools (VA); and Diane W. Doersch, Technical Project Director for Digital Promise and the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (#VILs) Program
Moderated by Ann McMullan, Project Director, EmpowerED Superintendent Initiative, CoSN (Consortium for School Networking)
Edtech is no longer a one-time purchase or a luxury item—it’s integrated across every system in school districts from the central office to classrooms to school buses. But for district leaders, the active support of the board and community stakeholders is just as important as the strategic tech plan and budget. In the edWebinar, “Strategic Technology Planning and Investment: Priorities, Cost and Impacts in Today’s Learning Environments,” sponsored by ClassLink and co-hosted by CoSN and AASA, three superintendents shared how they turn their stakeholders into advocates for a sustainable technology system in their districts.
Leaders in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools have been working on their equity agenda since 2015. But while their first two iterations focused more on achievement gaps and access to rigorous classes for all students, the plans didn’t address systemic inequities or really move the needle forward. During a recent edWebinar, hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, Dr. Aaron Spence, Superintendent, and Dr. LaQuiche R. Parrott, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, explained why their Compass 2025 plan emphasizes equity throughout and how they keep equity front and center in their work.
For students in Jacksonville, FL and surrounding Duval County, where non-academic barriers often interfered with success in school, the implementation of mental health programs and other wellness initiatives has been accompanied by significant improvements in graduation rates and other important metrics.
As school districts have become more diverse and focused on the importance of providing an equitable education for students from different cultures, the need has grown for a consistent and effective approach to improving the achievement of all learners and engaging their families in the process.
Of course, there are technical aspects to protecting data, and as many schools have learned during the pandemic, district IT staff need to stay on top of evolving efforts to compromise systems. But that’s just one part of guarding student information. During a recent edWebinar, sponsored by ClassLink and co-hosted by CoSN and AASA, the presenters discussed the policies and practices that also keep data safe in a digital education environment.