Slow down to move fast. Sounds counterintuitive, right? But knowing when to press pause is a critical decision that all leaders face. Here are some thoughts on why taking a break is the right thing for all leaders right now.
As leaders in expanded learning, we often evaluate our practices against a set of criteria, perhaps aligned with a specific grant, or internal goals and objectives. What if instead, we took a step back and really looked at how our efforts and decisions impact the very communities we represent? Will we see a disconnect between our practices and programs? What excuses will we make for not making change when our decisions instead run counter to what we know is the right thing to do?
For more than thirty years in education, both in expanded learning and traditional classrooms, I have seen change and reforms come and go. Unfortunately, those changes tend to focus on depth and breadth of content or curriculum and little, if any, attention is paid to ensuring that student voice, particularly those of black and brown students, are provided a safe and equitable environment for learning.
We must invest time into helping all students find their passions, give voice to their hopes and dreams, and lift their stories up as beacons for others to carve their own path. And most of all, we must stop stressing over strategy and instead realize that the only way to enact change is take steps to bring students, all students, back to the center of our discussions and prioritize their needs as we identify how we can support our local communities in important and enduring ways.
Our role in expanded learning places us in a unique position to reach kids in ways that are different than school and home. We must work with our partners in education, youth serving institutions, and beyond to do better. To be better.
This is a collective call to action for all of us to pause and ask ourselves some hard questions about our purpose, our goals, and how we can work with each other in pursuit of solutions to the many problems that these recent crises have highlighted.
Together we should rise and fight for equality and equity in our communities, across the nation, and around the world.
For breakfast, I had a banana berry protein shake and coffee.