Uprooting Inequities in Schools - Online Summit

Free Online Event: Uprooting Inequities in Schools

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It remains all too common that a student’s race, neighborhood, or family income are strong predictors of the educational opportunities they can access in their K-12 years—the essence of inequity. Most K-12 leaders believe all children deserve an equitable education, no matter their background or circumstances, but most of them struggle to confront the range of inequities in their schools and districts—much less root them out.

In this virtual summit, Education Week reporters and expert guests discuss the hard work behind confronting inequities such as challenging educators’ longstanding biases and practices, re-allocating resources across schools to support opportunities for all students, and removing barriers to advanced coursework.

Thank you to those who joined us for this event, which took place on March 18, 2020.


March 18, 2020
1-2:30 p.m. ET*

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*Agenda and times subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

  • 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET | Discussions Open
    Education Week journalists and their special guests provide practical takeaways about uprooting inequities in K-12 education.

    Room 1: What Does a “Culture of Equity” Look Like and How Can Schools Achieve It?
    Moderator: Christina A. Samuels, Associate Editor, Education Week
    ‣ Before schools can break down barriers that block access to opportunity, leaders must first foster a learning environment that ensures that educators believe that all students can achieve at high levels. This often includes challenging people’s mindsets about race and bias and talking bluntly about longstanding practices that have kept students of color and students in poverty from accessing the same learning opportunities as their white and more affluent peers. Chief equity officers from two different school districts talk about the work they are undertaking to expose systemic racism, foster community conversations about equity, and adopt policies and practices that aim to eliminate longstanding gaps in access to high quality educational opportunities for students of color and low-income children.
    Dena Keeling, Chief Equity Officer, Orange County Schools, Hillsborough, N.C.
    Eric Moore, Chief of Accountability, Research, and Equity, Minneapolis Public Schools

    Room 2: What Equitable School Funding Looks Like and Why It’s So Hard for Districts to Get It Right
    Moderator: Daarel Burnette II, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ Many policymakers, researchers, district administrators, and teachers have taken up the cause of bringing “equity” among different groups of students—by race, income level, and disability status. At professional conferences, in school posters, at administrative headquarters, and in school boards’ vision statements, equity is usually defined as the eradication of disparities or achieving "equal" academic outcomes among all student groups. It has also come to mean equal access to gifted programming, high-quality teachers, and high-quality curriculum.
    But in the purely fiscal world, the word "equity" has a much muddier, complicated—and legally fraught—definition. And the issue is likely to come under renewed scrutiny with the Every Student Succeeds Act's new requirement for the public release of school-by-school spending data as an element of states' school report cards.
    We’ll talk with experts about why fiscal equity is so hard to accomplish and share success stories of states and districts that have made efforts to accomplish fiscal equity in recent years.
    Roberto Padilla, Superintendent, Newburgh Enlarged City Schools District, Newburgh, N.Y.
    Jonathan Travers, Partner, ERS

    Room 3: An Equity Issue You May Not Have Considered: Teachers’ Access to Professional Development Opportunities
    Moderator: Sarah Schwartz, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ Teachers often say they’re lifelong learners. But how much support they receive to seek out opportunities for professional development and continuing education can vary district by district. In this session, we’ll discuss what barriers exist for teachers seeking out professional growth, and how access—or lack thereof—can affect their students’ learning. We’ll also look at systems that have tried a different approach to ensuring equitable instruction for all students—by injecting more structure and less flexibility into teachers’ PD plans.
    Robin McClellan, Supervisor of Elementary Education, Pre-K, RTI, Teacher Leaders, Sullivan County Department of Education, Blountville, Tenn.

    Room 4: Remote Learning Under the Coronavirus: Grappling With Equity
    Moderator: Kevin Bushweller, Assistant Managing Editor and Executive Editor of Ed Tech Leader, Education Week
    ‣ The widespread closing of schools across the country is putting a bigger focus on the inequitable distribution of resources for students, especially regarding access to WiFi, digital learning devices, and quality online resources. What complicates matters is that some teachers are much more experienced in delivering online learning than others. Ultimately, schools need to find a way to navigate through these big equity concerns under very difficult circumstances. What can schools and districts do at this time? We want to hear your concerns, ideas, and solutions for addressing these challenges.
    Mark Lieberman, Staff Writer, Education Week
    Susan Patrick, President and CEO, Aurora Institute (formerly known as the International Association for K-12 Online Learning)

    Room 5: Why Representation Matters for Students, Teachers, and School Leaders
    Moderator: Jared Joiner, Senior Manager, Applied Learning Science
    ‣ As an educator, what do you find produces the best equitable outcomes for students in your schools? In our discussion, we’ll explore the importance of building an educator workforce with lived experiences representative of student historically marginalized by the education system. And we’ll also discuss partnering with students, communities, and families to create school environments responsive and affirming of all cultures.
    Travis Bristol, Assistant Professor, University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Education
    Nancy Gutierrez, President & CEO, NYC Leadership Academy

    Room 6: Empowering Families, Equipping Teachers, and Preparing Students
    Moderator: Dan Walker, Director of Product Marketing, Waterford.org
    ‣ Students don’t learn in a vacuum. Home, family, school, teacher, peers—all make a difference. While a teacher's influence is key, imagine the impact if teachers, parents, and students were all connected and engaged in the child’s learning! In this discussion, we’ll talk about the powerful change that is possible when teachers connect with parents to extend learning beyond the classroom. We'll explore the results of engaging students in their own learning path. And we’ll address how you can ensure teachers have the largest possible impact with instruction each day in the classroom.
    Angela Melnyk, Curriculum Designer, Waterford.org
    Candra Morris, Senior Implementation Specialist, Waterford.org

    Room 7: Strategic Planning and Measuring Equity in Schools
    Moderator: Katharine Quigley, Digital Marketing Manager, Panorama Education
    ‣ How can district and school leaders set measurable goals around equity and inclusion to create school communities that value and serve all students? In this conversation, we’ll explore how educators track metrics around academic achievement gaps, discipline disproportionality, and gaps in student experience or social-emotional learning to identify priorities and take action.
    Join us to discuss topics such as how districts can use student voice data to track progress toward equity goals, support campus teams to examine data and create action plans, and organize staff around specific topics, such as implicit bias and culturally-responsive pedagogy. We’ll also highlight how one district in New Jersey increased ELA scores by 35 percent and 58 percent respectively for Hispanic students and for African American students and gain concrete ideas, strategies, and resources for your community.
    Samuel T. Moulton, Director of Research, Panorama Education

Guests, Speakers, and Moderators

Daarel Burnette II
Staff Writer, Education Week

Burnette II covers school funding and finance for Education Week. He joined EPE in 2015 as a state policy reporter. He previously served as the bureau chief of Chalkbeat Tennessee, a startup news organization based in Memphis. He has worked as an education reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Louisville Courier-Journal. He also worked as a general assignment reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He received his undergraduate degree in print journalism from Hampton University and an M.A. in politics and journalism from Columbia University.

Kevin Bushweller
Assistant Managing Editor and Executive Editor of Ed Tech Leader, Education Week

Bushweller is an assistant managing editor for Education Week who oversees coverage of educational technology, learning environments, and the K-12 marketplace. Bushweller, the executive editor of EdWeek Tech Leader, a news service for ed-tech leaders in K-12 education, is also the executive project editor of Technology Counts, Education Week’s annual report about the state of educational technology in U.S. schools. Earlier in his career, he was a senior editor for American School Board Journal and Electronic School magazines.

Dena Keeling
Chief Equity Officer, Orange County Schools, Hillsborough, N.C.

Keeling works to create an environment ready to embrace equitable change. She formerly served Guilford County Schools where she worked as a guidance counselor for 14 years. Her professional experience in direct service to students and families is rooted in a career focused on engaging diverse groups of learners, both adult and school-age. Additionally, Keeling has served as an adjunct professor at Davidson County Community College, and she was an access therapist with Davidson County Mental Health.

Mark Lieberman
Staff Writer, Education Week

Lieberman is a reporter for Education Week covering technology and digital learning. He covers issues including cybersecurity, personalized learning, the future of work, e-learning, and virtual education. He previously covered digital learning and online education in the postsecondary world for the online publication Inside Higher Ed.

Robin McClellan
Supervisor of Elementary Education, Pre-K, RTI, Teacher Leaders, Sullivan County Department of Education, Blountville, Tenn.

McClellan leads the district as pre-K director, teacher leader facilitator, and K-12 library media services supervisor. Previously, she was principal at Emmett Elementary for over nine years and taught first, second, and third grades for nine years. She recently spearheaded the implementation of high-quality curriculum across eleven elementary schools and considers this the pinnacle of her career.

Eric Moore
Chief of Accountability, Research, and Equity, Minneapolis Public Schools

Moore oversees two departments responsible for ensuring that both academic and student supports are aligned to school needs, that equity is embedded in all academic divisional processes, and that identified district priorities (including equity, literacy, Multi-tiered Systems of Support and Social and Emotional Learning) are clearly articulated and monitored. He has been with Minneapolis Public Schools for 7 years and has served in many positions including director of research, evaluation and assessment, chief of accountability, innovation and research and interim chief of academics.

Roberto Padilla
Superintendent, Newburgh Enlarged City Schools District, Newburgh, N.Y.

Padilla is a life-long educator having been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, coach, professor, and leadership consultant. Even today, he considers himself a teacher who just happens to be a superintendent. He is widely recognized for his leadership in turning around failing schools and supporting school district leaders both nationally and internationally on change leadership. He was a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow, an Education Policy Fellow at Columbia University and served a four-year term as a Board Member for Harvard University’s Principal Center.

Padilla is the first-ever president of the New York State (NYS) Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, an executive committee member of the NYS Council of School Superintendents and is a graduate of the AASA National Superintendents Program and the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents Academy.

Padilla is a member of Education Week’s Class of 2019 Leaders to Learn From.

Susan Patrick
President and CEO, Aurora Institute (formerly known as the International Association for K-12 Online Learning)

Patrick is the president and CEO of Aurora Institute and co-founder of CompetencyWorks, providing policy advocacy, publishing research, developing quality standards, and driving the transformation to personalized, competency-based education forward. She is the former director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, and served as legislative liaison for Governor Hull from Arizona.

Christina A. Samuels
Associate Editor, Education Week

Samuels covers educational equity for Education Week. She explores how schools and districts meet their mandate to serve the needs of all students and establish fairness in opportunity regardless of a student’s racial or ethnic background, disability, or English learner status. She started working at Education Week in 2004, after stints at the Miami Herald and The Washington Post.

Sarah Schwartz
Staff Writer, Education Week

Schwartz is a reporter for Education Week who covers curriculum and instruction. Before joining the staff, she was as an Education Week intern, covering education technology. She has also worked at a middle school in East Harlem, New York.

Jonathan Travers
Partner, ERS

Travers leads the consulting practice area at ERS and works with districts to analyze and improve resource use across systems. He has led ERS teams supporting many districts across the country, including Oakland, Cleveland, Charlotte, Denver, and Washington, D.C. This work includes examining each district’s funding strategy, mapping current resource use, and advising on how to reallocate to support specific district goals. He also runs the ERS/Aspen Institute CFO Strategy Network, as well as ERS’s work supporting financial transparency in ESSA.