Relevant Read / An Essential Guide for Equity Leadership - ASCD
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March 1, 2021

Relevant Read / An Essential Guide for Equity Leadership

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      Five Practices for Equity-Focused School Leadership by Sharon I. Radd, Gretchen Givens Generett, Mark Anthony Gooden, and George Theoharis (ASCD, 2021)

      'Equity leadership is not for the faint of heart.'

      Are you ready to do the 'emotional and intellectual work' that is required to lead for equity and to develop your individual and team's capacity to achieve systemic change in your school or district? If you are ready, read this book. If you aren't ready, read this book.

      Equity work is messy and uncomfortable, the authors of Five Practices for Equity-Focused School Leadership admit. There will never be an ideal time to start or a path of least resistance to take. With that in mind, the book guides leaders through skillful ways to engage staff in constructive dialogue and work through resistance.

      The authors share an actionable framework—five 'meta-practices' that build on one another—to cultivate equity-focused schools and districts:

      1. Prioritizing equity leadership (adopting a transformative approach).

      2. Preparing for equity (the ongoing emotional and intellectual work of equity leadership).

      3. Developing equity leadership teams (essentials for leading toward equity collectively).

      4. Building equity-focused systems (identifying needs and planning systemic change).

      5. Sustaining equity (preparing for the long haul).

      Leaders will learn, for example, to name and reframe deficit-based narratives that stifle equity work—'These kids don't want to learn,' 'Their parents don't care,' 'My colleagues aren't capable/cooperative/invested.' They will explore how identities—race, disability, socioeconomics, language, gender and sexual identity, and religion—impact school experiences, and how 'disruptive practices' can lay the groundwork for a more equitable learning environment.

      Using tools like a sample equity audit, 'pause and reflect' questions, and team activities, leaders can immediately put new learning into action.

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