Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Guest On District Leader, Superintendent Diann Kitamura

"I really believe that a s a leader. . . to be able to inspire, we have to have the belief that we can achieve whatever it is we set our minds to. If we have that belief, then the people around us will have that belief . . . no matter how hard it is, no matter how tough it is, you continue to work toward what's in your heart - in this case, for kids."- Diann Kitamura

   My guest this week on District Leader is Diann Kitamura, Superintendent of the Santa Rosa City Schools.  Diann has worked in public education for the past 32 years.  Since February, 2016, she has served as superintendent of the Santa Rosa City School District, where she also served as the associate and assistant superintendent.  
     Diann is the daughter of immigrants.  In fact, her parents were in Japanese internment camps during WWII.  That experience really influenced her world view, and served as a driver in her life.  More importantly, it has inspired her work as an educator and as an artist.   As a result, Diann has a deep interest in addressing the achievement gap, as well as the disenfranchisement of students.   Diann is committed to serving students and their families by ensuring that quality educational opportunities are provided for all students.  She believes that "sense-making learning experiences" and "support systems that engage students" will inspire them to dream big, to persevere, and to thrive.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

My Guest This Week on District Leader Is Superintendent Rich Merlo

"So we made a commitment several days ago, that our kids are going to have the same access and opportunity that other kids throughout the world are having, because they are going to be behind in knowing and realizing and accessing information that is incredible... "     - Rich Merlo

Rich Merlo is the Superintendent of the Corcoran Unified School District.  He began his career in education in 1977 as a biology and physical education instructor and coach.  He became an assistant principal in 1994, and subsequently served as principal for the next eight years.  Rich also taught at Kings River Community College and is currently an online instructor for the University of Phoenix.

In the podcast, Rich shares about his journey as superintendent, including the "hard knocks" he experienced in his professional career, but also the powerful lessons learned.  He reflects upon these lessons and the influence they had in focusing him on important aspects of his role as an educational leader, including life-long learning, leadership,  and others.  He has applied these lessons in his daily work.

Catch the conversation at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/district-leader/id1132944041?mt=2

Monday, October 3, 2016

CLEAR and ACSA Equity Institute

The Center for Leadership, Equity, and Research (CLEAR) strongly believes that leadership plays a critical role in addressing issues of social justice and educational equity. At a time when state demographics continue to change at a rapid pace, it is essential that leaders in the Central Valley meet together to discuss and plan for our area and its specific needs. These sessions will include an examination of Central Valley needs and strategies for "praxis, the to do...or the act of implementing." - Dr. Ken Magdaleno
CLEAR has teamed up with the ACSA Association of California School Administrators in the second series of Equity Institutes. Our Executive Director, Dr. Ken Magdaleno will be keynote for this series.  To register to participate in this series, register here.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Technology Integration In Education Requires Clarity of Purpose

The integration of technology in K - 12 education is not an easy proposition.  The complexities that
teachers and administrators navigate create challenges that make it difficult to identify, create and implement practices that sustain a comprehensive and integrated educational technology strategy.

According to a recent article in Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, any effort requires "deep and reflective thinking about the whys behind such integration as well as  the learning outcomes expected from such integration."  Greater clarity of purpose will lead to greater success in technology integration.

Additional Resources:

7 Benefits Οf Technology Integration Ιn Τhe Education Sphere

Integrating Technology in the Classroom: It Takes More Than Just Having Computers

Monday, September 26, 2016

Higher Education: Hiring Faculty of Color

“The reason we don’t have more faculty of color among college faculty is that we don’t want them. We simply don’t want them.” - Marybeth Gasman

When I was working in the Bay area, common refrains when it came to the hiring of people of color and women in the tech industry were, “we can’t find qualified candidates”, “they aren’t well prepared”, “they don’t make it through our rigorous hiring process”.

And unfortunately, the institution of higher education shares the same belief when it comes to the hiring of faculty of color.  The difference is, they do it in back rooms, and speak it quietly.  Fortunately, Marybeth Gasman, professor at U of Penn, was candid about the racist attitudes expressed by colleges and universities across the country when selecting their faculty colleagues.

Marybeth Gasman, professor at the University of Pennsylvania, candidly sheds light on this important issue in her article,  An Ivy League Professor on Why Colleges Don’t Hire More Faculty of Color: ‘We Don’t Want Them’.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A recent study by Institute of for Education Policy at Johns Hopkins University finds that at each grade-level, there are students who are outperforming the average on grade-level standards. While these findings are not surprising, they do confirm what we have always known about standardized testing -  by design, there are clusters of students above and below the mean. 

Traditionally, our reaction to this information has been to provide intervention programs to students who are not meeting the grade-level expectations, while the students who are performing at higher levels participate in enrichment or advanced studies.  Unfortunately, the study also finds these efforts offer limited results for students who are already at the top of their game.  So what can be done?

Anya Kametez tracks this story for NPR, Getting Restless At The Head Of The Class, and delves more deeply into the study, describing efforts by school districts to find better options of support.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mentor Teacher Tips

Each fall, thousands of students teachers make their way into America’s classrooms, eager and ready to learn their craft. But student teaching can be one of the most exciting, and most terrifying, experiences any future educator can experience.  After the safety of the college course, where professors and students debate the philosophies and theories of education, teachers-to-be are assigned to real classrooms, with real students, facing real challenges.   The realization of the complexities of the teachership becomes clear very quickly, and for many, knowing that they have a mentor teacher at arm’s reach is a real lifeline.

For mentor teachers, the experience can be just as exciting, and just as terrifying.  There is a responsibility not only to the students assigned to the mentor teacher, but the idea that an intelligent and eager, yet inexperienced person will be practicing on their students is a scary thought.  And, of course, there is also the anxiety of helping to prepare the next generation of teachers.  But, for both individuals, there is the opportunity to learn, and to grow from the experience.  

What is needed is a good strategy. In a recent article Howard Pitler, writes 10 Tips for Mentoring a Student Teacher, offering his advice on how be successful in their mentoring experience.