June 1, 2018

Educators for Excellence-Los Angeles Releases Policy Paper Reimagining School Leadership

June 1 (Los Angeles) — Educators for Excellence-Los Angeles (E4E-Los Angeles), a teacher-led organization, released a teacher-written policy paper, “Rising Tide: Collective Leadership to Lift All Schools,” which outlines policy ideas to improve school leadership in the era of changes to school discipline, instruction and family engagement. The paper was released last night at an event that brought together over 100 educators and community leaders to explore how schools can create teacher leadership opportunities that better support students and honored five teacher-leaders and community members for their work advocating for students outside for the classroom.

"From discipline to curriculum, teachers are often asked to implement large shifts in our practice without first asking our input or providing the proper supports to make those shifts,” said E4E-Los Angeles member Roger Dreger, sixth-grade teacher at Van Deene Elementary School. “My colleagues and I authored these recommendations to give teachers the platform in decision-making to ensure our voices are heard throughout the process. I’m particularly excited about our recommendation to create hybrid leadership roles, which will give teachers like me the flexibility and autonomy we need for for instructional leadership opportunities.”

“Over the last decade, teachers have seen a dizzying number of changes to education policy--changes to how students are engaged, disciplined, educated and assessed,” said Ama Nyamekye, Executive Director of E4E-Los Angeles. “But school leadership structure has not adapted to fit these shifts. These teacher-crafted recommendations offer insight into how decision-makers can create policies that leverage the expertise of teachers to ensure schools implement these changes correctly and with fidelity.”

Written by 17 current classroom educators, “Rising Tide: Collective Leadership to Lift All Schools” recommendations include:

  • Investing in restorative justice and socio-emotional learning practices in order for our students to feel safe and welcomed on campus.
  • Ensuring equitable access to high-quality instructional coaches in order for our students to feel challenged and supported in the classroom.
  • Increasing family and community engagement opportunities in order for our students to receive support and resources at home.

The full policy paper and all recommendations can be found at e4e.org/risingtide

E4E-Los Angeles also recognized three teachers and two community partners with their Rebel with a Cause award to celebrate those who have been challenging and changing the system for students. This year’s winners were:

Lyeah Granderson, Teacher at Forty-Second Street Elementary, South Los Angeles

As an elected leader in her union, Lyeah has been working tirelessly to advocate for policies at the district and union level that invest in capacity-building, parent engagement and professional development for schools across Los Angeles. Lyeah has a deep passion for elevating the voices of teachers and firmly believes in fighting for a more equitable education system that improves outcomes for our most vulnerable students.

Dharini Kumarasiri, Teacher at Sunrise Elementary, Boyle Heights

Dharini has been working to recruit more special-education teachers and women of color to run for union leadership where they can be a voice for the diverse needs of teachers and students. She has also been working with her E4E colleagues across the district to encourage district leaders to prioritize safe and welcoming schools by creating a cabinet-level position focused on school climate. She wholeheartedly believes that in order to close achievement and opportunity gaps, we need to make achievement and opportunities accessible for all students.

Phylis Hoffman, Teacher at Harry Bridges Span School, Wilmington

As a 25-year veteran of the teaching profession and an elected leader in her union, Phylis has been advocating for students and her profession in her school, union and state legislature. Whether she is writing union policy or rewriting state laws on education, Phylis places our most vulnerable students at the center of all her work.

Ryan J. Smith, Executive Director of The Education Trust–West

After seeing far too few boys and men of color in school honor rolls, college-ready courses and university lecture halls, Ryan Smith was tired of being the exception to bleak statistics. Working to empower families, students and community leaders with research and policy tools, Ryan Smith remains committed to building an education movement in California that empowers those most affected by inequity.

Dr. John B. King, Jr., President and CEO of The Education Trust

Serving as the first black U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. John B. King boldly ensured our federal government prioritized addressing school climate, discipline disparities and opportunity gaps. Still relentless in prioritizing justice and equity for students, Dr. John B. King advances the legacy and unfinished work of Brown v. Board of Education. Dr. King was not in attendence.