ISA Presents at the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) Conference: The Women of Color Education Collaborative

In December, the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) was invited to present at the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) 50th annual convention in National Harbor, MD.

The first presentation by ISA President Dr. Stephanie Wood-Garnett and former District Superintendents Dr. Constance Evelyn and Dr. Denise Lowe focused on the lack of diversity in K-12 leadership. Titled Collaborative Holistic Approaches to Supporting Women of Color District Leaders, the session shared that women of color comprise only 2.5% of all superintendents nationwide and that women of color superintendents often experience unique challenges in the job that affect them differently from their male and White peers and contribute to high turnover and attrition. The presentation highlighted ISA’s Women of Color Education Collaborative (WOCEC), whose funders include NewSchools Venture Fund’s Diverse Leaders portfolio and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Dr. Wood-Garnett shared that a key reason behind WOCEC’s development is to increase the number of women of color in the leadership pipeline who advance to and strive in school/state system level leadership positions. In addition, the program is intended to support women of color leaders to

  • prioritize their own self-care and wellness
  • strengthen their leadership skills and capacities
  • transform their leadership practices
  • plan for and accelerate their career advancement
  • expand their professional network

Women leaders from across the country and Canada attended the workshop; the room was packed and diverse and included men. Many of the women openly identified with the unique struggles that women of color leaders manage, and they shared comments that promoted acceptance, understanding, and camaraderie.

Each participant filled out an exit ticket as a closing reflection, which asked them to identify what he or she was taking from the session. They were powerful, and responses included, “I must prioritize myself and we need a community,” “There is space for all to win,” and “I am going to prioritize being a mother this year!”

Visit our WOCEC webpage and sign up at our WOCEC email list.

More from the NABSE Conference: ISA’s School Climate Assessment

In addition to the session on ISA’s WOCEC, the ISA team also presented at NABSE on its School Climate Assessment.

This NABSE session was by ISA Director of Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research Dr. Fenot Aklog along with ETS Senior Research Scientist Dr. Sam Rikoon and ISA Leadership Coach Dr. LaShawnna Harris. Titled Centering Multiple Stakeholder Perspectives on School Climate to Inform Decision-Making, this workshop highlighted ISA’s School Climate Assessment and coaching services. The assessment consists of student, school staff, and parent/guardian surveys that assess several dimensions of school climate including:

  • sense of connectedness to the school and wider community
  • quality and inclusiveness of teaching and classroom learning environments
  • caring relationships
  • safety
  • leadership
  • family communication and engagement

The session provided participants with an overview of the research on school climate, an introduction to the ISA school climate surveys, and highlights from one district’s experiences with using ISA school climate assessment data and working with an ISA leadership coach to plan and implement strategies for improving school climate. The session participants also had an opportunity to analyze and interpret sample data from the ISA school climate surveys and brainstorm strategies for using these data to identify areas of need and set and monitor school climate improvement goals and priorities. Participants also discussed the importance of having monitoring, evaluation, and research (MER) experts to support districts and schools with this work.

Read more about ISA’s measurement, evaluation, and research work here.

From the Hunt Institute: Identifying Barriers to Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Teacher Workforce

Across the United States, student populations are becoming more and more racially and ethnically diverse, while educator diversity lags behind. Research has clearly shown that a diverse teacher workforce positively impacts achievement of all students, particularly students of color, and this diversity gap presents a barrier to improving student outcomes.

The North Carolina-based Hunt Institute and Dr. Kisha N. Daniels, assistant professor of the practice of education at Duke University, have partnered on a brief that examines the broader impacts of this issue and recommendations for addressing this diversity gap. While focused on North Carolina, Dr. Daniels’  brief Teacher Workforce Diversity: Why It Matters for Student Outcomes is relevant to all.

Click here to read the brief.