PSBA 2021 Bulletin November/December PSBA 2021 Bulletin November/December - Page 6

from the top

from the top

Equity is our common goal

By Dr . Art Levinowitz , president

On Wednesday , September 1 the remnants of Hurricane Ida spawned an EF2 tornado that did significant damage to my Upper Dublin community and school district . Hundreds of homes were damaged , and at least 80 have been condemned . One of our four elementary schools lost half of its roof and it rained in the building for hours . It will be months before we can return to that building . Our high school also suffered damage . The roof of the pool blew off . Our roof air-handlers shifted , which resulted in water in the building . Most of them are not repairable . We never thought a tornado would visit us in Southeastern PA , but it did . And we will survive ( as my musical reference , paying homage to Gloria Gaynor ’ s 1978 song , “ I Will Survive ”). And we will come out of this stronger . And so is the case with the difficulties so many of us have confronted locally in our districts over the last 18 months .

In the wake of these weather-related setbacks , my community has come together to provide needed donations and help neighbors rebuild . Likewise , all of us as school directors must come together and “ rebuild ” our districts . I know there is so much division and challenges we are dealing with , but we must focus on what is most important to all of us – the success of ALL students . Moreover , we must work harder than ever to create equity policies meant to ensure students from underprivileged backgrounds and students with disabilities have equitable access to resources and learning opportunities in our districts .
PSBA defines equity as the “ just and fair distribution of resources based upon each individual student ’ s needs .” School leaders have an obligation to work to remove barriers to learning to eliminate achievement and opportunity gaps and ensure every student has equal access to a high-quality education . Let ’ s make that our common goal .
Finally , this is my last “ From the Top ” column . My year serving as your president was an honor , but a highly unusual year . I missed meeting and interacting with you as I had planned . Despite the challenges , let ’ s continue to celebrate the amazing work we do every day to promote public education and equity for our students . I wish you the very best and hope to see you in person as soon as possible .
Please remain strong , and always be kind .

Prioritizing our purpose

By Nathan G . Mains , chief executive officer
Sometimes you come across a book that simply speaks to you – it makes sense , and it brings a challenge into focus . I recently was given a copy of Know What You ’ re For , by Jeff Henderson . While I ’ m sure it sounds like a typical self-improvement book , it didn ’ t read like one . I liked it so much that I gave copies to numerous PSBA colleagues . I think its insights can also be applied to school districts and other school entities , nonprofit organizations , private sector corporations and even individuals .
In the book , the questions are asked , “ What do we want to be known for ?” and “ What are we known for ?” The first question should be answered by you and your organization , your school district or company ; the second would be answered by your audience , community or customers . If the two responses match up , then you ’ re doing a good job delivering on your brand promise . And yes – even schools have a brand and a brand promise .
Asking , “ What do we want to be known for ?” will help your school entity to deliver on its purpose . Today ’ s schools and school leaders are taking a fair amount of heat and there are issues that may be muddying the waters . Perhaps it ’ s time to go back to the beginning and define or remind yourself of your purpose as a school district or school entity and then determine if you ’ ve been delivering on that promise . If not , what are the steps that will take you to that point of delivery ?
Public health concerns have caused a new layer of responsibilities and challenges for school districts , but at the core of your purpose there are students and an education , and readiness for post-graduation life that ’ s owed them . So , there ’ s your answer . What do you want to be known for ? Educating , preparing and nurturing the next generations . It ’ s always been there . Just return your focus , and that of your constituents and community members , to your “ what for ,” and the decisions necessary to that purpose will be clearer and more unifiable .
4 PSBA Bulletin November / December 2021