Magazine article The Learning Professional

Go Deeper, Reach Higher

Magazine article The Learning Professional

Go Deeper, Reach Higher

Article excerpt

The term resilience is generally accepted as our capacity to recover from adversity, difficulties, or trauma. But in schools, resilience must be about rising above where we are and excelling to new heights - about thriving, not just surviving.

Over the past year, this has been a theme of my work as superintendent in Santa Fe, Texas. As our community recovers from a school shooting in 2018, our resilience goes beyond coping with the tragedy. Throughout our recovery, we have maintained a focus on rebuilding a stronger school system in every way. Focusing on students' learning is our core mission and one of the primary anchors we have used in building resilience in students, staff, and leaders.

The work of building trust and improving teaching and learning are not mutually exclusive. In our district, school leaders and teachers have engaged in a daily balancing act of leading the core work of instruction while overseeing enhanced security measures and procedures to ensure students' safety, health, and wellness.

All of our schools, for example, had to learn how to implement and manage metal detectors and alarms. Staff responded admirably and with incredible strength. But, impressively, they also were driven by a compelling purpose to achieve higher student outcomes than ever before.

Over the past year, we deepened our use of frameworks for learning designs, strengthened professional learning communities (PLCs) around core content, and focused on student performance data. …

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