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A Pathway to Equity: Resources for Administrators

By Alina O'Donnell
 | Feb 01, 2018

administratorsMore than ever, administrators who are passionate, knowledgeable, and advocates for literacy are needed in our schools and districts. According to ILA’s 2018 What’s Hot in Literacy Report, more than 81% of literacy/instructional coaches and 76% of reading/literacy specialists said the topic of Administrators as Literacy Leaders is extremely or very important to them. Results show a desire for more preparation and knowledge for wider support and involvement across communities.

Principals and administrators provide direction and guidance in communities worldwide, setting both the standards to which teachers aspire and the goals for students to meet. They influence curriculum and instruction, hiring and training practices, resource allocations, discipline policies, and more—elements of school culture that promote literacy and educational equity. Without their support, even the most competent and ambitious educators will find it difficult—if not impossible—to bring about meaningful change.

ILA West 2018 attendees will participate in focused, hands-on, workshop-style sessions to address issues of equity in education and discuss how to bridge the opportunity gap for historically underserved students. As we count down to the event, administrators can gear up with the free online resources below:

  • Last April, ILA conducted an #ILAchat on “Literacy Begins With Leadership.” Hosted by superintendents Glenn Robbins and Randy Ziegenfus, participants discussed the value of administrators as literacy leaders in communities and schools. The conversation is archived on Storify.
  • The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development compiled a list of articles, webinars, and other online learning resources that school leaders can use to promote a positive school climate and school culture.
  • Launched by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the Digital Equity Action Toolkit for district leaders aims to help district leaders develop thoughtful and measured strategies to narrow the digital divide in their communities.
  • Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning, a report published by the Education Trust, describes the urgency of making low-income, low-performing schools attractive workplaces, and how some schools and districts are doing it.
  • Responding to Hate and Bias at School and Speak Up at School, two free booklets published by Teaching Tolerance, provide direction for administrators and educators trying to build an inclusive, affirming school climate.
  • Closing the Gap: Creating Equity in the Classroom, a report by Hanover Research, provides strategies, resources, and tools to help district leaders craft schoolwide reform efforts that address academic expectations, access to learning opportunities, high-quality instruction, resource allocation, and accountability to achieve educational equity.
  • Chris Lehmann, founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy, wrote an article for Edutopia on “How Leaders Can Improve Their Schools’ Cultural Competence.”
  • Last December, ILA and the National Association of Secondary School Principals cosponsored a briefing titled “Improving Student Literacy: Leadership Needed at Every Level” in Washington, DC. The briefing brought together a group of literacy leaders, policymakers, advocates, and educators who spoke to Congressional staffers from key Senate and House education committees about the critical importance of effective leadership at all levels. A recap of the event is available here.

Themed “Literacy: A Pathway to Equity,” the inaugural ILA West 2018 will take place March 16–17 in San Diego, CAWithin the strand for administrators, participants will hear from students, teachers, principals, and district leaders about what is most important when leading literacy in schools and communities. Breakout sessions will focus on learning, sharing, and discussing key concepts around equity and student language support when reviewing your literacy program, including pedagogy and materials. Learn more and register here.

Alina O’Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.

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