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Setting goals that target inequities

By the end of the summer, we graduated several more of our male students. The mere awareness of the graduation gender gap had produced a different sense of urgency in my staff and in myself.

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El Ascensor: A tribute to CEO Irma Zardoya

Leaders like Irma show other women of color that it is possible, that we can be true to our identities while developing and expanding mission-driven organizations that support our communities.

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Learning how to develop lead learners: Lessons from our first 15 years

Fifteen years ago, many of New York City’s schools were struggling with rapid principal turnover. On top of that, the city was expecting to lose half of its principals to retirement in the next few years, creating a system of potentially “leaderless” schools. The NYC Leadership Academy launched in 2003 to fill this gap…

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Let’s lead

On June 20, I had the honor of being a keynote speaker at the Hillsborough County Public Schools’ Leadership Learning Tour. I spoke to a room full of principals and district leaders about four questions critical to educational leadership…

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The secret to a strong plan: Making it doable

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” These words are as true today as when poet Robert Burns wrote them hundreds of years ago. In schools, good planning articulates a vision for student success. Throughout my career as an educator, I have engaged in strategic planning.

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Leaders must be allies for undocumented students

The fear in the town of Morristown, Tennessee, was palpable. A day after immigration agents raided a meatpacking plant there a few weeks ago, more than 500 young people stayed home from school. For many, they thought they would be safer at home than in school.

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How do you take on bias in your school? Practice.

Veteran principal Rodney Moore had an important decision to make. After hearing that English language learners were feeling marginalized and unwelcome, he wondered if he should dedicate a staff meeting to discussing their experiences; provide cultural proficiency training to the entire staff; or reach out to parents for help.

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CEO Irma Zardoya on the National School Walkout

Something beautiful and inspirational happened yesterday in schools across America. Students were given a voice, and the world listened.

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Don’t let fear interfere with equity

Becoming the superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools several years ago put me on a racial equity journey that forever changed who I am as an educational leader.

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Keeping schools calm and carrying on despite threats

Since the Parkland shooting, threats to schools across the country have increased exponentially. According to the Educators School Safety Network, threats have risen from the typical 10 a day to more than 70 a day.

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Black history is not a month, it’s a key to dismantling inequities

It’s Black History Month. 28 short days. We also need to celebrate Groundhog’s Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and Ash Wednesday. It’s a set-up. It’s not possible for anyone to learn the long, painful, complicated, beautiful, resilient and magical history of being Black in the United States in 28 days.

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Every school system needs an equity guardian

Intentionality. Without it, you’ll never make sure every child has access to the resources they need to learn and grow. It is what drives my position as Executive Director of Equity and Access for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District in New York State.

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Equity takes time, and a leadership pipeline

It doesn’t matter where your school is in this country, we can guarantee you that inequities exist. Take a look at your data and classroom practices – are there an equitable number of children of color in your honors and AP classes, do they have access to your best teachers? Who has been identified for special education?

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#EquityReads2017

At the NYC Leadership Academy, we continuously seek to improve our work by learning from the experiences and insights of others. #EquityReads 2017 offers a list of some of the books, articles, speeches, and films about racial equity that our staff members found compelling and useful in our work in 2017.

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How high school almost held me back

On September 3, 1985, all that I believed about myself as a learner was shattered. It was my first day as a student at Bernard M. Baruch College. ...

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Using mentors to raise students’ expectations of themselves

We recently shared the work that Principal Doris Lee of Village Academy in Queens has been doing with her staff to improve their relationships with ...

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Leading a trauma-sensitive school: Supporting our students in challenging times

My first year as a principal in Cambridge, MA, I kept a pair of running shoes under my desk.  While I was known for the ...

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Teachers learn to see their students, and expect more of them

It’s the million-dollar question: What can principals do in their schools to make sure all students, regardless of race, culture, background, are given opportunities to ...

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Celebrating the power of leaders

I recently had the pleasure to spend a morning at the Bronx Little School, an elementary school in my hometown of the Bronx, where I ...

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Secret to my success: How I defied expectations and teach leaders to do the same

I didn’t know I was supposed to be a failure until I was in college, and at that point it was too late for them ...

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Taking time to trouble whiteness

You need to find in your heart that small spark of accountability.  What is there that I can do to make the world a better ...

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How to be an anti-racism school system leader

“We live in an age in which silence is not only criminal but suicidal… for if they take you in the morning, they will be ...

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Building principal pipelines is worth the price – and might cost less than you think

Over the last few weeks in Lexington, South Carolina, NYC Leadership Academy facilitators have been working with district staff and aspiring principals to talk about ...

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The Power of Leaders

Anyone who works in education knows that great principals can have a significant impact on their students. Yet, in Washington right now, school leadership preparation ...

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Executive coaching can transform principals into system-level leaders

As the school year winds down, this is a time of transition not only for students, but for some school leaders who are moving into ...

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Thoughtfully designing meetings for school leaders

The end of the school year is quickly approaching, and for those who support school leaders, it's time to figure out what kind of professional ...

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Working together, researchers and practitioners can address education’s intractable challenges

Tough questions come up every day in education: What do I need to do as a principal to compel my teachers to stick around for ...

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Teaching our kids to talk about race takes strong leadership

"It’s okay to be uncomfortable, it’s okay to take risks. You have the power to do something about the injustice you see." I recently heard ...

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Washington Plays Critical Role in Improving School Leadership: An Open Letter to Secretary DeVos and Congress

Dear Secretary DeVos, Sen. Blunt, Sen. Murray, Sen. Alexander, Rep. Cole, Rep. DeLauro, Rep. Foxx, and Rep. Scott, To transform schools, you need strong school ...

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Leading with courage, ensuring demography is not destiny

A fellow principal once called me “brave” for accepting the call to lead a school in East San Jose, California. Not because of the academic ...

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Making every child visible

No child deserves to be seen as a statistic, to be known simply for the color of her skin or her country of origin. At ...

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Talking About Race

Much of coaching is about surfacing what might be difficult to take in or hard to say. To coach is often to voice feedback, observing ...

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#EquityReads2016

From the presidential debate podiums to city streets across America, 2016 was a year of heated discussion and protest about race and culture and the ...

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The Self I Bring: Leading for Racial Equity is Personal

My work in school leadership is personal. When I moved to the U.S. from Ghana at age 10, I came with messaging from my family ...

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Increasing the equity divide, one low expectation at a time

District leaders, how are you ensuring that low expectations for student outcomes are not plaguing the school system and the stakeholders you are charged with ...

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No more missed opportunities

I was presenting at a conference on NYCLA’s recent work around equity when, part way through my presentation, a woman raised her hand and said, ...

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School District Leaders – Say Something

Your school leaders need to hear your voice. The results of our presidential election have created tension in communities across the country. There are likely ...

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Educational equity: Turning passion into action

It is impossible to begin any dialogue today around racial equity without addressing the recent senseless mass shooting at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South ...

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Beyond diversity to equity and opportunity

The events this year in Baltimore, New York City and Ferguson have strengthened my firm belief that schools are one of the most important places ...

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