Center for School Improvement Leadership Institute
February 9, 2021—April 7, 2021
The AFT’s Center for School Improvement Leadership Institute 2021 has gone virtual! This year’s Institute will kick off on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 3:30 p.m. EST, with courses offered on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST starting Feb. 10 and running through April 7. CSI 2021 will focus on public education as a vehicle to social justice and democracy.
Rather than a few long, intense days, this year we will offer live sessions over the course of eight weeks. Teams will participate in the following courses: Setting the Stage for Restorative, Anti-Racist and Culturally Responsive Schools; Beyond the Pandemic: Re-Imagining Schools for the Future; Data to Support Collaboration and Diversity; Valuing Multiple Perspectives: Communication for an Inclusive Community—all with an eye toward social justice. Teams will have multiple opportunities each week to work among themselves, as well as connect with other teams from across the country, digging deeper into the issues that matter most to them, and together coming up with strategies to begin implementation back home.
For this experience to truly take root in your efforts back home, it is crucial to have key stakeholders be a part of your team. Your team of three to 10 people should include:
- School-level union representatives, parent leaders, principals, teachers, paraprofessionals, student leaders, members of school improvement teams, and staff responsible for day-to-day implementation of school-level redesign;
- District personnel responsible for facilitating transformation in schools;
- Union leadership or staff assigned to support redesign at the school and district levels;
- Parent leaders or liaisons, school board members, elected officials, student leaders, and/or community leaders on district-level school improvement teams; and
- A community partner whose efforts are connected to culturally responsive pedagogy and/or on improving school culture and climate (e.g., public and private agencies, community-based organizations, local government, colleges/universities, after-school providers, cultural institutions, faith-based organizations, civic organizations, and others). Note: If an elected official is selected as part of your team, an additional community partner is still required.
Principal Baruti Kafele, a seasoned and highly regarded urban educator, will take us through a deep examination focused on the question: “How will schools and classrooms embrace the various issues of social justice that are currently pervading American society—particularly schools within communities of historically marginalized populations?” You will leave the keynote with strategies for integrating social justice education into instruction that is both student-centered and interdisciplinary.
This two-session workshop brings together CSI teams to begin planning for restorative, anti-racist and culturally responsive learning environments. The facilitators will provide resources and guidance on how to implement practices and strategies for a school culture that embraces a spirit of belonging, trust and academic success. We will use resources—including books, articles, toolkits and videos—to inform participants’ learning and support them in building school structures and implementing policies that reflect the tenets of restorative practice, anti-racism and culturally responsive pedagogy.
These sessions will begin to develop a community of practice among the participating labor-management-community teams, focusing on “problems of practice” that impact student engagement and learning. In large and small groups, participants will identify and explore common areas of concern and collectively seek solutions in reimagining schools beyond this pandemic. A systems approach, defining and assessing the culture and structures necessary to build capacity to support collective responsibility, will allow teams to apply their knowledge to their local context in building a better future for students, families and communities.
In this two-part session, teams will use data to examine their attitudes, programs and processes in light of current events—especially equity and access. We will build a foundation of data literacy and provide tools and strategies to make data relatable and understandable for all stakeholders. With the focus area of school improvement as the core, participants will utilize multiple measures of data to support decision-making.
Communication is the key to impactful change. In the wake of current events, how we communicate with each other—virtually and in person—has never been more important. Our diversity is an asset; yet in our current climate, it is portrayed as a source of division. Our educational institutions are the integral vehicle for resolving this division. Communication and collaboration enable us to recognize the advantages of diversity to advance social justice and strengthen our democracy. In this session, attendees will learn how to communicate effectively to achieve a common goal when different perspectives are presented. Please join us as we explore communication styles and strategies that foster an inclusive community and a shared vision for social justice.
During this final event, teams will make brief presentations on their next steps, post CSI.
Special thanks to our planning partners
About the UFT Teacher Center
The UFT Teacher Center, for more than 38 years, has provided exemplary professional development programs that promote teacher excellence and student performance. The UFT Teacher Center operates throughout the five boroughs of New York City in more than 125 school-based sites and numerous outreach locations.
Toward its major goal—the increase of academic achievement for all students, including those in our lowest-performing schools—the UFT Teacher Center provides myriad professional learning opportunities to enable thousands of educators to address the diverse instructional needs of students.