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February 15, 2016 HISTORY Black History Month includes student celebrations and classroom lessons focusing on remarkable African Americans who have achieved extraordinary feats and overcome obstacles in their quest for the equality of all people of color. Continued from page 1 people were – and still are – portrayed as a result of ugly hatred and misunderstanding that has been fundamentally rooted in the fabric of our society. As history has unfolded, the mistruths of African Americans have been passed down from generation to generation, and most specifically, within the school system. In history books and classroom lessons across the nation for centuries, lessons on African American history have neglected to include the rich culture and traditions that began long before the forced immigration of West Africans for the express purpose of labor exploitation. Between the middle passage experience and modern times, African history was rarely acknowledged, and essentially eliminated through hard punishment for use of cultural norms rooted in language, learning, dance, music and family connections. The travesty of this fact is that African American students have never had a legacy of learning about their own native culture at home or in schools. For example, although African American students’ native tongue traces back generations to thousands of African dialects, most do not connect to this. Thus, we often see African American students struggle, as other English language learners do, in acquiring the broad range of disciplines within the English language while also navigating the aspects of Black dialect in America. Teachers of African American students often find difficulty in helping them reach mastery of content standards, primarily due to the fact that they also are products of an educational system where native African dialect is not recognized nor understood. Black History Month can spark an opportunity to recognize these gaps and change our perspective when teaching African American students. It is crucial that our leaders and educators become aware of the reality that we operate in a system that was simply not designed to serve all students of diverse backgrounds. In 1779, one of our respected forefathers, Thomas Jefferson, proposed a two-track educational system, with different expectations for, in his words, “the laboring and the learned.” Scholarships would allow a select few of the laboring class to advance by “raking a few geniuses from the rubbish.” While we must believe that there were some positive intentions behind this idea, we must also realize there were some detrimental consequences that came out of it. We can identify some current educational tracks that exist representing this two-track thinking: college or career pathways, special education or general education, and many more that lead to disproportionate numbers of African American students being suspended, dropping out and going to prison. This unfortunate system of inequity and CPSEL Standard 5: Ethics and Integrity Education leaders make decisions, model and behave in ways that demonstrate profes­sionalism, ethics, integrity, justice and equity, and hold staff to the same standard. We must remind ourselves of this ugly truth in order to build and infuse compassion and empathy within our current educational communities and society alike. With this being said, we must remember that knowledge is truly powerful. As educators, we all have some level of cultural power that we can responsibly use to become advocates for African American students who consistently are underserved by an tional, physical, and economic assets and needs and promote equitable practices and access appropriate resources. • Continuously improve cultural proficiency and competency in curriculum, instruction, and assessment for all learners. EDCAL  5 ize and experience high quality educational outcomes. We have great examples within our own ranks who have been champions for African American students within the public education system. We have leaders such as superintendents, principals, school boards and parents who have advocated and ensured that African American students are served equitably. Within current educational initiatives in California, the Local Control Funding Formula’s spirit and intention is to provide equitable outcomes for students, specifically English learners, foster youth and students living in poverty. And while African American students are not specifically named, districts have the opportunity to utilize their Local Control and Accountability Plans to fundamentally change the outcomes for African American students. It will require education leaders to address their belief systems and look at their journey as culturally proficient leaders in order to act with an equity lens. Leaders can use the leadership standard in California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders No. 5 to focus o n support through professional development, as well as evaluation for optimal equity leadership. During Black History Month, and • Commit to making difficult decisions in service of equitable outcomes for students, staff and the school community. Reflective Practice Leaders act upon a personal code of ethics that requires continuous reflection and learning: • Examine personal assumptions, values, and beliefs to address students’ various academic, linguistic, cultural, social-emo- Ethical Decision-Making Leaders guide and support personal and collective actions that use relevant evidence and available research to make fair and ethical decisions: •  Review multiple measures of data on effective teaching and learning, leadership, management practices, equity and other pertinent areas to inform decision making. Ethical Action Leaders recognize and use their professional influence with staff and the community to develop a climate of trust, mutual respect and honest communication necessary to consistently make fair and equitable decisions on behalf of all students: •  Communicate expectations and support for professional behavior reflecting ethics, integrity, justice and equity. Excerpted from CTC document adopted February 2014: www.ctc.ca.gov. inequality has led us to the reality of educational gaps throughout our state and nation. These include achievement, access, opportunity, service, and even acknowledgement gaps. And with all of the educational initiatives that have supported the advancement of opportunities for African Americans throughout the course of history, it is still very apparent that even our African American babies come into the world with foreseeable hardships based on their ethnicity alone. educational system that wasn’t designed to serve them in the first place. When looking through a historical lens, we know that African American students have been targets of oppression that has manifested itself to this very day. As educators, who are products of this system, we often are agents of oppression, where we perpetuate inequities daily; when we often don’t fundamentally agree. When we recognize our own agency, we can become advocates who will empower African American students to self actual- through­out the year, let’s empower ourselves to become advocates for African American students through learning more about their culture and empowering them to be agents of change for themselves and others. As educational leaders, we can close the educational gaps that exist in our schools, but we must first close the ones in our minds. Nicole Anderson is a former principal, assis­ tant principal/dean and teacher in Vallejo City USD, serving as an advocate for equity and civil rights for all students of color. professional development calendar WWW.ACSA.ORG • 800.608.ACSA february 16 Having Hard Conversations 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Burlingame 17 Having Hard Conversations 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Burlingame 22 LCAP Urban Team Development begins . . . . . . . . . Vallejo City USD 23 Meetings Master. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . San Diego 24-25 Coaching Leaders to Attain Student Success. . . . . . . . . . Bakersfield 25-26 Classified Educational Leaders Institute . . . . . . . . . . Redondo Beach http://www.acsa.org/Conferences.html#Page-Item march 1 9 14 15 24 Meetings Master. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ontario Co-Administrators Workshop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tustin Having Hard Conversations 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ontario Having Hard Conversations 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ontario Co-Administrators Workshop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fairfield Register Today! Register Now! april 14-16 Leadership 3.0 Symposium. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Redondo Beach may 14 Aspiring CA Educators (CPACE prep) Workshop 1. . . . . . Sacramento 21 Aspiring CA Educators (CPACE prep) Workshop 2. . . . . . Sacramento 28 Aspiring CA Educators (CPACE prep) Workshop 1. . . . . . . . . Ontario june 4 Aspiring CA Educators (CPACE prep) Workshop 2. . . . . . . . . Ontario 25 Innovative Technology Academy begins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fullerton April 14-16, 2016 Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach Hotel www.lead3.org SirKen KenRobinson Robinson brings views on creativity Sir brings his his views on creativity and asas keynote speaker Feb. Feb. 15. #lead3 andinnovation innovation keynote speaker 15.