ISA and New Leaders Partner to Support Educator Practice and Improve Student Outcomes

ISA and fellow nonprofit New Leaders have announced a new partnership to further enhance ISA’s coaching practice, expand its micro-credential efforts, and integrate new technologies to support ISA’s services to schools and districts.

For 20 years, New Leaders has built the capacity of equity-minded school leaders committed to the success of every child. It’s trained more than 8,000 equity-focused leaders—60% of whom identify as leaders of color. These leaders annually impact more than 2 million students in the U.S. K-12 system and serve as powerful and positive forces for change in their communities.

“We are facing a variety of challenges in our nation related to educator burnout and shortages along with sobering reports on the impact of lost learning opportunities on students,” says Stephanie Wood-Garnett, President of ISA. “Even with 30+ years of experience, ISA is always learning and innovating, and this collaboration with New Leaders will help us grow and be ready to better support educators and our nation’s schools.”

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Coaches’ Corner: ISA’s Catina Mason

Dr. Catina Mason began her educational career as a mathematics teacher in Detroit Public Schools Community District and continued to support districts nationwide for more than 20 years. Her work has been teaching and learning, with a focus on mathematics, data analysis, and coaching support to teachers and leaders. In her career, she’s been an instructional and leadership coach, academic administrator, state school grant monitor, project manager, and consultant. She teaches collegiate mathematics and teacher preparation courses to preservice teachers at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. Catina earned a B.S. in education and a master’s in mathematics education from Wayne State University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Michigan State University.

Which teacher of yours do you feel most impacted your coaching approach? Why?

There were several people and experiences that taught me to be a coach. When I was at Wayne State University, Dr. Sally Roberts fueled my passion for teaching and learning content along with my approach to problem solving and teaching problem solving to others; more specifically, she helped me understand through various experiences that individuals think differently and therefore need different strategies and opportunities to make sense of and apply their understanding to their work. Additionally, when I worked for the Michigan Department of Education, Dr. Carolyn McKanders, a consultant, worked with me for various educational entities and challenged my thinking for coaching and reflecting as a coach. Finally, in 2015, I undertook coaching certification from what was then known as the National Staff Development Council, now Learning Forward, and a few years later, Michigan State University’s Coaching 101 training. Both experiences helped me assist others through effective listening, paraphrasing, shifting conversations when necessary, and pushing others to be their best.

What do you enjoy most about your coaching work?

I really am inspired when teachers and administration that I have supported are empowered in ways that make them stronger as educators and leaders. I enjoy empowering others in the areas of knowledge and increased effectiveness in their role.

What was your most memorable moment with a student or students when you were teaching?

When I think back to when I was in the classroom, I taught middle school and loved my students. In the beginning, I empowered them academically by pushing them to be their best. When I think about what has impacted my coaching, though, it was how I built rapport with my students, by getting to know them and attending to their social and emotional needs. More specifically, I remember during my prep hour (without students) sharing my frustrations with a colleague that no matter how much I put into classroom management and lessons, my students did not seem to care about math like I did. It was one of many conversations that changed my outlook and mindset as an educator. This colleague told me that I play many other roles for my students—counselor, lawyer, nurse, social worker—and that tending to their social and emotional well being comes first. Once that happens, the math comes next. During my teaching tenure, I had a pregnant 6th grader in my classroom, a student using inappropriate substances, and another who dealt with neglect at home. I provided them—and others—a safe space to share. I listened and gave them support, no matter how they behaved. I asked questions to learn more about them and found available resources to help where I could, and they, in turn, saw me as more than their math teacher. I think about and share those experiences as I coach.

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Chocolate with almonds.

From New America: Grow Your Own Educators: A Toolkit for Program Design and Development

In this newsletter we highlight a recent report from New America called Grow Your Own Educators: A Toolkit for Program Design and Development.

As the team at New America wrote, “Grow Your Own (GYO) educator programs are an increasingly popular strategy to address local gaps in the teacher workforce. With the growth of the strategy, along with significant state and federal investments, there is a need for resources that can assist program planning, development, and advocacy. This GYO Toolkit is a collection of practice-oriented resources that offer guidance on key aspects of program development and implementation, including partnerships, candidate recruitment and retention, mentoring, funding, and advocacy.”

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