Courageous School Leadership – Administrator’s Corner

Link Lines – May 2021 Issue

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Read Educator’s Lesson

By Shelley Littleton M.Ed., Kara McCulloch M.S., & Donni Perry M.Ed.


Administrator's Corner 3

Courageous School Leadership

By Cathy Buyrn, M.Ed.

The 2020-2021 school year has posed leadership challenges like no other school year. School leaders have had to courageously build multiple solutions to unique challenges and pivot quickly when circumstances changed. To support you in meeting these unprecedented challenges, Link Lines has published a number of relevant articles in the past year. For example, in the July and September issues, we addressed the importance of social emotional learning (SEL) and self-care heading into an unprecedented year.

Social and Emotional Learning Strategies for Administrators

Responsive School Restarting Considerations for Administrators

In the November and February editions of Link Lines, we pointed school leaders towards literacy and math practices for closing the skill gap that align with High Leverage Practices (HLPs). These academically focused practices will go a long way towards closing skill gaps that may have widened during the 2020-2021 school year.

Literacy Leadership at the IEP Meeting

Supervising High-Quality Math Instruction

In the spring edition of Link Lines, we wanted to hear from essential school workers who faced down this school year with amazing courage and creativity both in person and virtually. We asked them to share what they have learned this year and what ideas and strategies they are excited about keeping in their toolboxes for next year. View their inspiring Flip Grid videos in the educators’ lesson at the link above.

Moving into the summer and the 2021-2022 school year, school leaders will need to continue to keep SEL and self-care an important part of their weekly routines and set up structures for school staff members to do the same. The VDOE I’m Determined project offers a variety of tools that can be used by leaders, school staff, and students. The Good Day Plan and Goal Plan templates can help set the stage for SEL and self-care reflection and planning in order to ensure success at all levels.

Good Day Plan Template

Goal Plan Template

While SEL and self-care should stay at the top of the priority list heading into the new school year, school leaders also need to prepare themselves to engage in the courageous leadership behaviors defined by the Virginia Department of Education’s Ed Equity 5Cs (i.e., culturally responsive, courageous leadership, curriculum reframing, compassionate student and family engagement, continuous reflection) (VDOE, 2020).

Courageous Leadership Behaviors

  • Make inequities visible
  • Disrupt discourse, practices, and policies that perpetuate inequities
  • Encourage programs that support multi-lingual language and literacy development
  • Normalize conversations about race, racism, and inequity
  • Support people and building level administrators in efforts to address equity and racism
  • Promote diversity and cultivate responsibility for equity
  • Establish and communicate antiracism and equity policies to all stakeholders
  • Establish and communicate clear equity goals
  • Allocate resources to advance equity goals

(VDOE, 2020, p. 24)

In addition to the overall impacts of COVID-19 on society and schools, the past year has brought into focus issues of equity. Much of the discussion has been focused on race, culture, ethnicity, and economic disparities. Inequities across diverse groups of students can be compounded by disabilities and result in poor outcomes for too many students.

Courageous school leaders will have to help school staff let go of low expectations for these vulnerable students. They will also need to intentionally funnel resources into programs designed to compassionately engage marginalized groups of students (including students with disabilities) in order to close critical skill gaps and improve long-term outcomes for ALL students.

School leaders will be ahead of the game going into the 2021-2022 school year if they continue to make SEL and self-care a priority for all school community stakeholders and develop a plan for building the VDOE Ed Equity 5Cs into the fabric of their vision and mission to create inclusive and equitable school communities.

Additional Resources

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Navigating EdEquityVA:  Virginia’s Road Map to Equity

Considerations for COVID Recovery Services for Students with Disabilities

Back to School Considerations:  Options for Ensuring FAPE (PEATC.Org)

9 Recommendations for Inclusive Learning Recovery for Students with Disabilities

References

Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Office of Equity & Community Engagement. (2020). Navigating EdEquityVA:  Virginia’s road map to equity. http://www.virginiaisforlearners.virginia.gov/edequityva/

Link Lines – November 2019 Issue

 Link Lines – Profile of a Graduate

Using Social-Emotional Learning to Cultivate the 5Cs in the Classroom

November, 2019 Issue

 

 

image of students

 

Link Lines-September 2019 Issue

Resource Spotlight: Restorative Practices

By Nick Kier, M.A.T., Daria Lorio-Barsten, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, and Kara McCulloch, M.S.

In the January 2019 edition of Link Lines, we addressed the impact of trauma on students and briefly discussed some examples of trauma-informed practices.  We also promised future articles that would provide additional information and resources for implementing these practices. This is one of those articles. [Read more…]

The Impact of Trauma in the Classroom

By Daria Lorio-Barsten, M.Ed., Kara McCulloch, M.S., and Nick Kier, M.A.T.

You begin your third period class like any other. The students come in, get out their materials, and start the warm-up activity. You notice that when Chelsea walks in, she does not interact with anyone else in the class. She gets out her materials but promptly puts her hood up and lays her head down across her arms. [Read more…]

Cohesive Collaboration for Co-Planning

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Abraham Lincoln

Importance of Co-Planning

The importance of planning cannot be overstated. When identifying 22 high-leverage practices for K-12 special education teachers, McLeskey et al. (2017) pointed to collaboration with professionals to increase student success as the very first. Collaboration calls for “use of effective collaboration behaviors (e.g., sharing ideas, active listening, questioning, planning, problem solving, negotiating) to develop and adjust instructional or behavioral plans based on student data, and the coordination of expectations, responsibilities, and resources to maximize student learning” (McLeskey et al., 2017, p. 17). [Read more…]

Planning For Success: Goal-Setting Resource

The I’m Determined (IMD) project, a state-directed project funded by the Virginia Department of Education, focuses on providing direct instruction, models, and opportunities to practice skills associated with self-determined behavior. This project facilitates youth, especially those with disabilities, to undertake a measure of control in their lives, helping to set and steer the course rather than remaining the silent passenger.  A wealth of resources and tools for educators, parents, and youth may be found on the IMD website (imdetermined.org).  The goal planning tool encourages students to plan while teaching them the connection between their goals and authentic implementation to reach those goals. [Read more…]

I’m Determined Youth and Parent Summit and MOVE Youth and Parent Conference

imdetermined2018

I’m Determined Youth and Parent Summit

June 12-14, 2019

 What:   The Youth and Parent Summit is a two-day event held each June and sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education and the Partnership for People with Disabilities. Youth with disabilities from across the Commonwealth meet to network and discuss issues of importance to youth and young adults with disabilities. [Read more…]