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February 1, 2022
Vol. 79

Educational Leadership Themes for 2022-2023

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We are pleased to announce our issue themes for the 2022–2023 academic year. The selection is based on internal research as well as surveys of educators and ASCD community members. We are excited about the depth and timeliness of these topics. Guidelines for authors and submission information are available here.

Nurturing Well-Being in Schools

Summer 2022 (Online Only) 

Educators and students have faced a turbulent couple of years, and there are many signs that stress and frustration levels remain high. How can schools take a step back and put a greater focus on well-being in their communities? This issue will examine practices and institutional shifts that nurture mental and physical health, as well as belonging and safety, in schools. A central emphasis will be on how schools can use whole child and whole ­educator approaches, including social-emotional learning, to support positive learning environments.

Strengthening Family and Community Partnerships

September 2022

If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s that schools, families, and local community groups must work together. This issue will explore how schools can strengthen both school-family relationships and local community partnerships. What has changed since the pandemic in educators’ understanding of family engagement? How can schools better leverage these relationships to work through conflict, support student growth, strengthen curriculum, and sustain learning initiatives? And, going a step further, how can schools better integrate community resources and services—including health clinics, social service agencies, and local businesses—to expand supports and programming for students and families? A key focus will be on whole child support and development in the wake of the pandemic.

The Education Profession: Changing the Narrative

October 2022

After two years of disruption and difficult working conditions, the education profession is in the midst of a crisis of morale, leading to growing concerns about burnout and attrition among both teachers and school leaders. This issue of EL will explore the critical question of how this dire trajectory can be reversed. What viable steps can school communities, education leaders, and policymakers take to improve educators’ working conditions, job satisfaction, and professional status? How can schools better support a new generation of teachers and leaders and create more attractive career paths in the wake of the pandemic? ­Strategies for improving recruitment and retention of ­educators of color will also be a focus.

The Self-Directed Learner

November 2022

The prolonged period of remote learning in 2020–21 ­reinforced the value of self-directed learning—but ­educators have long seen independent learning as a hallmark of student engagement and intellectual growth. This issue will look at how schools can integrate ­instructional strategies that support self-directed work and exploration and help students take greater ownership of their own learning. Subtopics to be addressed include personalization, deeper learning, amplifying student voice and agency, academic self-monitoring, and problem-based learning.

Confronting Poverty in Schools

December 2022 / January 2023

Poverty has continued to rise in the United States and around the world, presenting a range of challenges for learners—and their teachers—and creating grave ­opportunity, performance, and resource gaps in school systems. This issue will explore key strategies, understandings, and resources educators can draw on to better support students and families living in economic instability and to reduce barriers to learning and achievement. Points of focus will include whole child approaches and academic-equity issues and initiatives.

Beyond the Textbook: Content and Curriculum

February 2023

This issue will look at the many facets of seeking out and developing effective educational content at a time when resources are multiplying and becoming increasingly decentralized. Given the centrality of sound curriculum to teaching and learning (and the potential for conflict around curricular issues), how can school leaders and educators better evaluate curriculum resources and ensure they support instructional goals and stakeholder expectations? How can teams of educators more effectively curate, create, and share impactful lesson materials? Who should be making decisions about curriculum content, anyway? And what policies or strategies are needed to ensure ­effectiveness and coherence?

Leading Through Change

March 2023

Change is inevitable, but often uncomfortable. Creating equitable, high-performing, and safe schools requires a strong leader willing to overcome adversity, stay persistent, and take smart risks. This has only become clearer in the past couple of years. So what are the traits of an effective change leader? How do you prioritize and sustain organizational change? This issue will look at practical ways to navigate through change—both positive and ­negative—offering guidance for education leaders on strategic planning, navigating conflict, harnessing innovation, and adapting to new realities. Let’s change the way we think about change.

Centering Thinking and Discussion Skills

April 2023

Knowing how to think critically and deeply and to share one’s ideas with others are essential life skills—and have become increasingly necessary in our complex, polarized times. How can schools create structures, curriculum, student work, and expectations that center students’ ability to think critically, apply effective thinking dispositions in various disciplines, and discuss ideas with others in probing yet respectful ways? Possible subtopics include deeper learning, deliberation skills, civic engagement, project-based learning, performance assessment, and ­creativity.

Social Justice in Schools

May 2023

As key formative institutions in our society, schools are responsible for embodying and instilling the principles of equity and social justice, especially in times of crisis and change. How can schools more actively promote social justice and fairness in their curricula as well as in their policies and structures? What skills, values, and knowledge do students need to tackle injustices, understand social issues, and advocate or create models for change? How can schools improve their own cultures and systems to support opportunity, inclusivity, and civic engagement?

EL’s experienced team of writers and editors produces Educational Leadership magazine, an award-winning publication that reaches hundreds of thousands of K-12 educators and leaders each year. Our work directly supports the mission of ASCD: To empower educators to achieve excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. 

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