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Leading for Equity: Are All the Children Well? How One School District Is Using a Social Justice Lens to Respond to That Question
Thursday, March 4, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST
Presented by Dr. Baron R. Davis, Superintendent, Richland School District Two (SC); Dr. Helen Grant, Chief Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion Officer, Richland School District Two (SC); and Dr. Sabina Mosso-Taylor, Principal, Jackson Creek Elementary School (SC)
Moderated by Dr. Valerie Truesdale, Assistant Executive Director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association
The recording will be posted on this page after the live session. Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.
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Utilizing a social justice lens, Dr. Baron R. Davis, Superintendent of Richland School District Two, offers a response to the question, “Are all the children well?” that addresses the philosophy, research, and intentionality necessary to ensure premier learning experiences and outcomes that illuminate, validate, and celebrate the capabilities of all children. Through this work, the teachers and administrators in Richland Two are truly preparing students for their chosen pathways to live and work in a global society.
This vision and mission are amplified by the work of Dr. Helen Grant, Chief Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion Officer, who shares specific examples of how Richland School District Two works to ensure systemic change through district-wide education, development, and outreach. Dr. Sabina Mosso-Taylor, a Richland School District Two principal, shares insights into how she and her teachers foster and support social justice issues through systematic and ongoing professional development, culturally relevant practices, and authentic teacher/student/family engagements at the elementary level.
This presentation will be of particular value to school superintendents, K-12 school and district leaders, and aspiring leaders.
About the Presenters
An educator for more than 20 years, Dr. Baron R. Davis is Richland School District Two’s Superintendent, and the first African American to hold this position in the district’s 90-plus-year history. Dr. Davis served a transition year as the superintendent-elect prior to assuming leadership of the district in 2017. In one of his first tasks as Superintendent, the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, Dr. Davis lays out his vision for partnering with families, staff, and the community to make Richland Two the premier school district.
Dr. Davis has advanced the district’s long-standing commitment to providing superior learning experiences in top-notch facilities. Under his leadership, voters in Richland Two approved a request to borrow $468 million to address district facility needs in the areas of safety and security, academic learning spaces, transportation, technology, and arts/athletics. The bond referendum projects are part of a 10-year facility plan that provides a pathway to premier facilities across the district. Dr. Davis has opened doors for small and minority vendors to do business with Richland Two by hosting vendor fairs specifically for them.
Dr. Davis’s inclusionary practices led Richland Two to become one of only three districts in South Carolina and 250 nationwide to be placed on the 10th Annual AP® District Honor Roll by the College Board. To earn this distinction, Richland Two had to, since 2017, increase the number of students participating in Advanced Placement while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.
Dr. Davis has made increasing recruitment and retention of male teachers of color a priority by launching the Premier 100 initiative. About six percent of Richland Two’s teachers are male and minority. However, nationwide that number drops to less than two percent, despite the fact that the percentage of students of color continues to rise. Premier 100 partners with the Call Me MISTER program to recruit and retain male educators of color.
In August 2015, Dr. Helen Nelson Grant became Richland Two’s first Chief Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion Officer. She is among the first to pioneer this work in K-12 public education in South Carolina.
In her role in the school district, Dr. Grant is responsible for recommending, developing, implementing, and managing programs and initiatives aimed at advancing diversity and multicultural inclusion. She serves as the chief advisor to the superintendent in the development and implementation of diversity and multicultural practices and initiatives and she is the district’s chief spokesperson and district representative for diversity and multicultural matters. Her work includes providing professional development to district staff, coordinating and implementing district-wide cultural celebrations, and advising administrators on issues or concerns regarding diversity and inclusion.
The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion facilitates Community Conversations, a series of events that bring together district families, employees, community members and business partners on a variety of topics impacting education. The Office also facilitates district-wide celebrations and recognitions including Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Kindness Month, and Inclusion Month.
Dr. Grant serves as the lead for Richland Two’s AASA 2020-2021 Equity in Action cohort and for the district’s Equity Work Group. She is a member of the district’s Opportunity/Knowledge Gap Task Force and she assists with the coordination of district initiatives to evaluate and promote more equitable systems, policies, and procedures.
Dr. Sabina Mosso-Taylor is an experienced principal with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. She is skilled in K-12 education, NBCT – EC Generalist, classroom management, lesson planning, differentiated instruction, culturally relevant teaching, and curriculum development. Dr. Mosso-Taylor is a strong education professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) focused on early childhood education – early literacy from the University of South Carolina-Columbia. Currently, she is the principal of Jackson Creek Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina.
About the Host
Dr. Valerie Truesdale joined AASA early in 2019 as the assistant executive director responsible for guiding leadership development services and programs. With years of experience in the superintendency and roles in instructional technology, she knows that AASA’s Leadership Network can be a substantial resource for school leaders trying to keep pace with the rapidly changing delivery of K-12 education.
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