Creating Powerful Moments in Schools – Book Review – The Power of Moments

There are roughly 2,300 days of school throughout our K-12 education.2,300! We all can think of at least one moment that was extraordinary in our schooling experience. That chemistry project where you built an ecstasy molecule with toothpicks and foam balls. Your field trip to Lake Tahoe. And, the teacher who told you that you were ‘destined for greatness’. And, the crew of friends that made you feel invincible.  Or, that plaque you got in summer camp, back in 1993.

These are moments that matter, that stand out, and we will never forget them. The problem is that there are not enough of these moments, during our 2300 days of school. And our students are slowly being pushed out, checking out, and dropping out of school. But, it is possible to create these moments for our students and staff.

But how do we engineer them?

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Summer Reading for School Leaders to Level Up

Reading is fundamental to growth and leadership development. But it does matter what you read. If you pick the right books, make some plans to implement some of it, and connect with someone, you can level up your leadership. (I previously featured 10 books to breakthrough) But there’s always more books!

Summer was made for relaxation but there is no time more open for learning and reflection. Free from IEP meetings, compliance paperwork, and evaluations. You have nothing but space and opportunity.

So bust a move and read something!

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What I learned about Leading CRT – Build the Plane First!

What an amazing day! I was able to share space with my mentor/role model Zaretta Hammond and 100 of my SFUSD colleagues.

It was incredible.

Every time I get to speak about my learnings on leadership, I get closer to refining my framework for culturally responsive leadership. And I get a little better at understanding the process for giving students what they deserve.

See what I learned about CRT.

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10 things on every Equity Leader’s End of Year Checklist

The year is nearly done, or it already is for some lucky souls. Graduations, book collection, and classroom deep cleaning. But what about the equity? What should you do at the end of the school year, to make sure the equity officers don’t arrest you?

Seriously, what’s on the checklist of every leader trying to lead for equity? 

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Facebook Live Interview – What is Culturally Responsive Leadership?

This week I was lucky enough to talk about my thoughts on Culturally Responsive Leadership in an interview with Rachel Rosen. It was recorded live and uncut. We discussed PBL, equity, and finding the bright spots. Find out what I’d like to build a pile of and set on on fire. If you’d like a glimpse into my mind check out the full interview!

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7 Summer Conferences for Equity Leaders, that are better than vacay

Summer is coming. Thank the stars. Time is precious and we NEED to recharge during the summer, but it’s also a great time to reflect. It’s tempting to just unplug, but you could do a lil bit more.

If we are going to build new muscles and flex on the status quo, we need to grow. Leaders lead by modeling lifelonglearning. That is what we want our teachers to do as well.  But, there’s little time and so many options.

Why is it worth it and how do you choose?

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Breathe life back into your staff meetings

skeleton meetings

If we are ever to bridge the opportunity gap and eradicate educational disproportionality, we need to make big changes. Readers workshops, project-based learning, and technology integration. Culturally responsive teaching, social-emotional learning, and restorative justice. Those are big ole changes!

These shifts require us to build capacity through some form professional development. No one wants another meeting, but we need to learn to work smarter, not harder. Especially if we want different outcomes.

Our meeting spaces need to be high powered, collaborative, and flexible. But you only have so many minutes in the contractual workday.

So what do you do?

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9 times when leaders need to shut up and listen

Culturally Responsive Leadership 9 times when leaders need to shut up and listen

Leaders do a lot of talking.

Too much.

You may have the gospel pouring out of your mouth, but that doesn’t mean that you will automatically have disciples. But, great schools need great leaders in order to create focus, coherence, and align supports, especially for underserved students. A Malawian proverb reads, “If you are leading and no one is following, you are just taking a walk.” Many leaders are just talking, but want to be leading.

So what can you do about it?

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Help, my school’s courses are culturally irrelevant!

Students deserve to take courses that are interesting, relevant, and engaging. Sure, we can make all content more relevant and responsive, but you can also simply offer alternative classes. Better yet, you can make the alternative, mandatory. Ask yourself, what can happen when you make the interests of marginalized students central and essential?

What if?

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Interrupting patterns of participation in staff meetings

You want to disruptpatriarchy and white supremacy in the curriculum and in our learning outcomes. But, these patterns of oppression start in our adult interactions, and boy does it show up in meetings. Although difficult, it is possible to take action with some critical reading, radical norms, and the use of process checks.

In order to change outcomes, your staff needs to talk about teaching and learning in different ways. This requires new mindsets, tools, and ways of being.

Many times, white male staff feel very comfortable speaking up, speaking first, and filling the time. Sometimes, this gets disguised as “the voice of experience” because many staff of color tends to be younger, newer to teaching, and more transient in large urban school districts. But, the result is that people of color and women are often quieted and marginalized.

Silenced.

It’s time to turn up the volume. But how?

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