In case you missed the first #suptchat of 2021 on Twitter last night, the Paper team is here to provide you with a comprehensive wrap-up.
The dawn of a new year, especially one following a historic one such as 2020, brings with it hope, inspiration and resolutions for the future. Superintendents Michael Lubelfeld & Nick Polyak facilitated this month's conversation between school leaders about being limitless in their work.
Tweeters from all over the USA including - but not limited to, IL, KY, CA, MI, NE, CO, PA, AZ, NW, NY - wow! Thank you for sharing, inspiring, leading and being limitless!! #suptchat https://t.co/BaLmjX2OSq— Michael Lubelfeld (@mikelubelfeld) January 7, 2021
Q1: What limits have you overcome in your life to be where you are today?
The first question prompted recognition of how far we have collectively come to be here in 2021. It was inspiring to read the personal challenges these school leaders have tackled.
A1: I am a first generation Mexican-American who has overcome racism & prejudice. However, I do not let that define who I am nor what I can accomplish in life. I have worked really hard to be where I am right now and hope to be a role model to many Latinas out there! #suptchat pic.twitter.com/qP4tgI4foI— Mariana Nicasio (@mariana_nicasio) January 7, 2021
A1- being a first generation college student...starting my first superintendency 9 months pregnant...people not believing I could do a job that is typically for men...but we overcome these obstacles and RISE ABOVE! #suptchat— Dr. Courtney Orzel (@drorzel) January 7, 2021
A1: I was a single mom of three young kids when I decided to get my Type 75 and move into administration. Later, I had two in college when I started pursuing my doctorate and finished it as my youngest was graduating college. #suptchat— Dr. Mary Henderson (@lead_learner12) January 7, 2021
#suptchat A1: The limits I have overcome to reach where I am today are the same equity gaps I've dedicated myself to disrupting for many public school students: rural poverty and working class parents, first generation college, and lack of awareness of middle class culture— Todd Dugan (@tdugan75) January 7, 2021
#suptchat Q1: Similar to many others my limits from early in life and my career really ended up being strengths. I was/am ADHD well before it became a diagnosis. I'm sure I drove many of my teachers crazy. It was a limitation that gave me a lot of energy for the required work.— Fred Bouchard (@BouchardFred) January 7, 2021
Q2: Who do you admire for breaking through limits and why?
#Suptchat participants gave credit where it was due in response to this question, from fellow educators, to students, to loved ones.
A2:I admire @CUSD10 educators for finding a way 2 meet our students academic & social emotional needs despite living in a pandemic both face to face & via a 1 to 1 device. It has been taxing, but they have risen to the occasion while navigating a pandemic. #theKahokway #suptchat pic.twitter.com/McrhpmJE2f— Brad Skertich (@ozark6662) January 7, 2021
A2 All students who speak languages other than English in their homes #SuptChat— Thomas Van Soelen (@tvansoelen) January 7, 2021
#suptchat A2: For breaking through limits, I admire those who have defied expectations not for personal gain, but to make the world a better place, like @AndyManar and his work getting IL school funding fixed FAIRLY to help those who need the most! #Fixedtheformula #inspiration pic.twitter.com/RQK0c8olaI— Todd Dugan (@tdugan75) January 7, 2021
A2: When I was 15 my father had a stroke & lost his ability to speak. I watched him over the course of 3 months as he learned to speak and write again. It was I is the greatest accomplishment I've ever witnessed. So I truly know what's possible despite adversity. #suptchat— MrJoeMcCauley (@CauleyMr) January 7, 2021
Q3: What are you doing to help individual leaders in your organization know they are capable of more than they imagine?
Being limitless in a leadership role involves empowering those you lead to break through their own limits as well. School leaders described how they go about this.
A3: I have watched 2 of our staffers grow a TON this year. Encouraging them to work harder and knowing it’s ok when things go wrong has helped a ton. It’s good to see them climb higher every day! #suptchat pic.twitter.com/U13i1PZuOr— Ry Heavner (@Heavner7) January 7, 2021
A3: You need to encourage and empower your people to try new things and dream big. Even if they move on to new opportunities and different districts - the district next door might just be preparing your next leader. #BetterTogether #suptchat— Nick Polyak (@npolyak) January 7, 2021
A3, I hope I’m making them feel that they are valued, have a true voice, and are part of the TEAM that will guide our district. Proud to be a small part of it #suptchat— Dr. David M. Mouser (@MowZ13) January 7, 2021
Q4: More importantly, what is your school/district doing to help kids know they are capable of more than they imagine?
#Suptchat participants also described how they approach their primary responsibility of empowering students to realize their full potential.
A4: I am proud that our district is currently empowering student voices. Our past two institute days included students talking to our entire staff. This has signaled that students, too, can exceed what they might think is a limit. They have voice. #suptchat— Bob McBride (@PorterSup205) January 7, 2021
#suptchat A4: The advisory program we have at our school makes sure that every single student has an adult advocate for them. Building into the school schedule some regularly scheduled time puts some time and resources behind this program.— Fred Bouchard (@BouchardFred) January 7, 2021
A4: We are actively seeking out our students' voices to learn what has worked for them as they continue learning through a pandemic. What do we want to keep when we are all back together in person? They have great insight and ideas! #suptchat— Dr. Mary Henderson (@lead_learner12) January 7, 2021
A4: We have to continully strive to include & build upon student voice in our schools. When that happens great things occur for our students, schools and community. #suptchat— Dan_Cox (@Dan_Cox) January 7, 2021
Q5: How are you working to empower those that are typically marginalized by current institutions within education?
Equity, diversity, and inclusion are at the core of education. In response to this question, participants echoed just this:
#suptchat A5: Designing for student flexibility, choice, and voice. Specifically voice in leadership like co-facilitating the Sup Student Advisory Team with a student member. I have learned a lot from our Ss!— Dr. Kelley Gallt (@GalltKelley) January 7, 2021
A5: We have broadened our equity efforts beyond staff professional development to include parent equity action and student equity action. We have also made a commitment to provide information in languages that our families use and speak. #suptchat— Bob McBride (@PorterSup205) January 7, 2021
A5. It is our duty as leaders to create a culture of celebrating of diversity, inclusion, acceptance and tolerance. Making connections in a personal manner with those marginalized, validating their worth and creating opportunities to celebrate the individuality. #suptchat https://t.co/AMlV2M0W3H— Brett M Elliott (@BrettMElliott1) January 7, 2021
A5 Co-leading PD with a POC for educators to examine their implicit biases and explicit practices #SuptChat— Thomas Van Soelen (@tvansoelen) January 7, 2021
A5: The pandemic has shown all bets are off. No internet, we'll get you a hotspot, absent we will be there for wellness check, help to get your kid engaged in RL we're ready to help. If we remind each other that this is the norm, not the exception we can do great things #suptchat— Kate Kwasny (@KwasnyKate) January 7, 2021
Q6: What's the difference between a limit and an excuse?
This question provoked some thoughtful, quotable answers!
A.6 an excuse is something you tend to lean on to hold you back whereas a limit can be something you can overcome to reach a goal. 🤷♀️ great question ! #suptchat— Kristi Wilson (@KwilsonBESD33) January 7, 2021
A6: Excuses are mental traps that hold us back and avoid accountability. Limits however are meant to be pushed. If we're creative and courageous, we can find ways to work around those limits and find success. They spur drive and problem solving, not helplessness. #suptchat— MrJoeMcCauley (@CauleyMr) January 7, 2021
A6: Limits are made to be overcome and validate our contribution to our world -excuses are made for us to never realize what we created for. #suptchat— Chris Collins (@CkCollins67) January 7, 2021
Q7: What dream are you not allowing yourself to dream because the perceived risk is too high?
As educators continue to seize the current opportunity to reimagine our education system, the #suptchat moderators dared participants to share their visions — both personal and systemic — for a brighter future.
A7. Finishing my doctorate while leading a district is a dream that the risk isn't too high, but not finishing something I start presents the risk of failure of not achieving such a large goal. #Humility #Adversity #PHEARCE #PrideandExcellence #suptchat— Brett M Elliott (@BrettMElliott1) January 7, 2021
#suptchat A7: My dream would be to rethink obstacles that we have in education that takes away from students. Battles with unions, funding and outsiders without a knowledge of the profession are not as much about perceived risk but the time and energy required to tackle these.— Fred Bouchard (@BouchardFred) January 7, 2021
A7: A dream I am holding back... writing a book. I have about a thousand ideas plus so many inspirations like @npolyak and @mikelubelfeld I tell myself the risk is time, but really the risk is just taking the risk! #suptchat— Bob McBride (@PorterSup205) January 7, 2021
A7 I’ve never seen my work as a leader as risky. What’s best for kids is never a risk. Expanding equitable opportunity is never endangering, finding a way to say yes to a new idea is never Periless #suptchat— Randy Squier (@randysquier) January 7, 2021
#SuptChat A7 - I believe our children have tremendous challenges ahead of them in their lives. My dream is to have a school that addresses them head-on in collaboration with experts in the field and where the accountability lies in our ability to create solutions.— Dr. Lisa Leali (she, her, hers) (@LisaLeali) January 7, 2021
Q8: Share a gif or an image that captures the idea of overcoming a limit or being limitless.
Some favorites included:
A8: A gif or an image that captures the idea of overcoming a limit or being limitless. #suptchat #112Leads We are 112 Video & student narrated story! Our District overcame limits! https://t.co/lthmrATTiA HT @nicholasdglenn pic.twitter.com/46L6J6M3RS— Michael Lubelfeld (@mikelubelfeld) January 7, 2021
Finally, some concluding remarks from the moderators:
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