EdCal EdCalv46.18

Education California | The official newspaper of the Association of California School Administrators Volume 46 | Number 18 | February 15, 2016 Reflecting on equity leadership journey ACSA’s Diversity and Equal Access Exec­ utive Nicole Anderson wrote the following article for EdCal. Black History Month brings about many thoughts and feelings each year in February. It reminds us of the importance of acknowledging the great accomplishments of African Americans within the history of the United States. We often find ourselves participating in cultural celebrations, classroom lessons, school assemblies and other activities honoring those who achieved extraordinary feats and overcame obstacles in their quest for equality for African Americans, as well as all people of color. This includes “African American firsts” in the area of inventions, sports, music, education and many other arenas – Barack Obama, Jesse M. Bethel, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Marcus Garvey, Carter G. Woodson, Fanny Jackson Coppin, and the list goes on. Black History Month also sparks moments of unity among the African American community, as well as teachable moments for students and adults alike. It also brings about a focus on the harsh reality that history in the United States includes some detrimental effects for African Americans that stem from past oppression and ongoing micro aggressions. It even reminds us of the ongoing difficult context of how this beautiful group of See HISTORY, page 5 Beth Cusimano’s running family Garden Grove principal and Paralympian teacher inspire can-do attitude See CUSIMANO, page 2 Shortfall review. A Legislative s You might say Beth Cusimano is responsible for creating a running culture at Eisenhower Elementary in Garden Grove. “It’s all Beth,” Eisenhower teacher Roben Alarcon said. “Beth started it here. Wherever she goes, she meets more people and gets them involved with running.” Alarcon is one of the many teachers who credits the principal for introducing her to the sport. “What’s kind of fun is when she’s training you, she’ll run what she has to,” teacher Bernadette Halter said. “And then she’ll be finished. So she’ll come back and find you. And then she’ll run alongside you, being so chipper at your pace and just encouraging you along the way. So there was never a time when you thought, ‘I’m just going to stop’ because there she was.” Cusimano has run nearly 30 full marathons, and she has the medals to prove it. While she still remains an avid runner, Cusimano is now encouraging others by training them. “I’ve trained people to run now for about 15 years,” Cusimano said. “I trained a lot of people to run marathons, and I just mention it. People enjoy it, and I think it’s because it’s enjoyable and people realize that they can do it – that they want to keep doing it. I don’t think it’s me. I think it’s once they realize they can do it, that’s what it is.” While Principal Cusimano is the driving force behind the influx of runners at Eisenhower Elementary, teachers say Jami Marseilles provides extra motivation. Marseilles joined the Eisenhower staff in 2013 as a kindergarten teacher, and her story is nothing short of inspiring. In 1987, Marseilles was trapped in a car in Arizona during a blizzard following a ski Click here for video Principal Beth Cusimano, left, and teacher Jami Marseille, a bilateral amputee Paralympian, lead a schoolwide running culture. Supt. leads district turnaround in staffing, achievement The Alisal Union School District turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous over the past six years under the leadership of Superintendent John Ramirez Jr. At a time in California when more and more school districts are struggling to find enough teachers, Ramirez is proud of the fact that Alisal – a K-6 district of about 9,000 students in Salinas – entered 2016-17 fully staffed. That is unfortunately not the case statewide, where the number of potential educators in credentialing programs and credentials being issued have dropped alarmingly. The Commission on Teacher Credentialing has reported that 2013-14 marked the 10th straight year of declining numbers, and in the past five years there has been an overall decrease of 26 percent in new teaching credentials issued. Ramirez credits Alisal’s success in the face of these numbers to aggressive recruit- ing efforts. The district also focused on promoting from within, and succeeded in hiring 50 teachers, with 15 of those currently enrolled in a credentialing program, for a total of 372 teachers. Alisal Assistant Superin­ tendent-HR Ricardo Cabrera told the Monterey Herald that the district managed this despite the additional challenge of finding a sufficient Ramirez number of bilingual teachers for a district in which two of every three students is an English learner. Ramirez and his staff are energized by the results of these efforts, as well as efforts to increase student achievement and lead the district back to a strong fiscal position. Ramirez arrived in 2010 to help lead the district out of a significantly challenging period. Alisal USD was taken over by the state for academic failure. The State Board Schools to Watch. The California Department of Education has announced that 13 high-performing California middle schools have been newly designated as model middle grades schools in the 2015-16 Schools to Watch – Taking Center Stage program. In addition, the sustained progress of 20 previously chosen STW – TCS schools will allow them to retain their designation. All of the schools will be recognized in Sacramento at the California Middle Grades Alliance annual luncheon Feb. 25, during the California League of Schools’ Annua