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Monthly Digest with Coalition Updates, Must-Read News, and Upcoming Events

Coalition Updates

Spotlight on Valor Collegiate Academies

“Sharp minds. Big hearts. Noble purpose. With purpose like that, it’s no wonder Valor Collegiate Academies, located in Nashville, is positively soaring in developing students who are both academically-minded and compassionate toward all people, no matter their background or race….”

Valor Collegiate Academies

Valor Collegiate Academies was recently featured in Safal Partners’ “Ideas in Action,”  a weekly blog feature that spotlights innovative schools, leaders, and practices that advance educational outcomes. Learn about Valor’s Compass Learning Program and the full profile here.

The Coalition’s Statement of Purpose
Since its founding, the Coalition has grown from 14 members to 38 members representing over 100 individual schools. We are excited to continue to expand our membership and grow our community of diverse-by-design charter schools. As we begin the process of recruiting and vetting prospective members, we’d like to share with you the summary of our approval process and statement of purpose, shared earlier in a letter today by our Executive Director Sonia C. Park with all our member schools.  If you know of a school that would make a great addition to our Coalition, let us know. We’d love to connect with them!

From the Field: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Two recent reports put a spotlight on diversity, equity, and inclusion – or lack thereof. Many of the findings and conclusions may not be new to us, but they serve as a sobering reminder of the work still to be done.  Coalition members are leading the way, putting front and center issues of social justice and anti-bias (see below for Community Roots Institute) and cultural competency and culturally responsive curriculum (Blackstone Valley Prep will be leading a workshop at the upcoming NCSD Conference). We know there’s more work being done by our members to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations. Have a best practice or idea to share? A question or challenge you’ve been grappling with?  Connect directly with other member schools and fellow peers on our listserv:

Our field — especially at senior levels — is still not reflective of the students we serve. White leaders and staff members are overrepresented while other racial/ethnic groups are underrepresented. Staff diversity varies by organization type, with charter schools as the most racially diverse organizations in the sample and organizations that focus on policy, advocacy, and research as the least diverse in the sample. – NSVF 

NewSchools Venture Fund’s Unrealized Impact is a groundbreaking study of staff experience, workplace practices, and demographics across the education sector. The purpose of the study is to enhance knowledge in the field about the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in education organizations and includes data from more than 200 organizations on organizational demographics, policies, and structures and nearly 5,000 individual perspectives on lived staff experiences in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion with an intentional focus on race and ethnicity.

To increase the number of people of color leaders, those who oversee organizations need to recognize and take responsibility for addressing the racial leadership gap. – Race to Lead

In the broader non-profit world, the Building Movement Project launched Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap.  Studies show the percentage of people of color in the executive director/CEO role has remained under 20% for the last 15 years even as the country becomes more diverse. To understand the causes of this disparity, the Building Movement Project conducted the Nonprofits, Leadership, and Race survey with over 4,000 respondents. The study found few differences between white and people of color (POC) respondents in their aspirations or preparation for leadership roles—in fact people of color are more likely to be interested in becoming a nonprofit leader than whites. Survey respondents identified Boards of Directors and executive recruiters as key barriers to the hiring of more people of color executive directors/CEOs.

Make Your Voice Heard: USDoE Seeking Input
The U.S. Department of Education is asking the education community to identify specific guidance and regulations that are driving up costs, or creating too much extra work for states, districts, and educators. The deadline for comments is August 21, 2017. If you have specific recommendations, particularly with respect to CSP or IDEA, please email Jessica Morffi from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools at

Middle School Kindness Challenge
Spurred by the disturbing increase in meanness reported in schools across the country, Stand for Children is partnering with AASA, NASSP, AFT, AMLE, AVID, CCSSO, and a host of other leading education organizations on the Middle School Kindness Challenge. The goal of the Challenge, which launches in late August, is to help ensure kindness becomes commonplace and meanness rare in U.S. middle schools, and to help middle school teachers respond more empathetically to student misbehavior in order to reduce unnecessary suspensions. This short chalk motion video provides a helpful overview, and, for a deck with more detail, click here.

If the Middle School Kindness Challenge will help further your network or school’s goals, pre-register now at U.S. Department of Education is asking the education community to identify specific guidance and regulations that are driving up costs, or creating too much extra work for states, districts, and educators. The deadline for comments is August 21, 2017. If you have specific recommendations, particularly with respect to CSP or IDEA, please email Jessica Morffi from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools at

Upcoming Conferences & Events

A Struggle We Must Win: Advancing School Integration Through Activism, Youth Voice, & Policy Reform (National Coalition on School Diversity 4th Annual Conference)
October 19th to October 20th in New York, New York

The NCSD 4th national conference will bring together 400+ parents, students, educators, researchers, advocates, activists, policymakers (from federal, state and local levels), and other supporters from across the country to discuss & strengthen strategies for reducing racial & socioeconomic isolation in PK-12 public schools. The 2017 conference focuses on empowering communities and the next generation of leaders.

Members Blackstone Valley Prep and Community Roots will facilitate workshops. See here for a full list of workshops + agenda.

Anti-Bias and Social Justice Institute
November 8th to November 10th in New York, New York
Community Roots is offering Coalition member schools a 20% discount with code COALITION

The 3-day Anti-Bias and Social Justice Institute offers teams of up to 5 (five) educators and school leaders the opportunity to share in an exploration of the principles and strategies of the social justice work done at both the elementary and middle school level at Community Roots Charter School.  The Institute will focus both on building an anti-bias lens to curricula and how to develop staff to be leaders in this work.

Participants will be engaged in interactive learning through capacity building, classroom observations, sharing of resources, reflection, and planning time, as well as panel discussions with members of our school community.

10th Annual National Summit on Education Reform
November 29th to December 1st in Nashville Tennessee

Join national leaders, state policymakers, advocacy organizations and education stakeholders from across the country at the 10th annual National Summit on Education Reform to learn, network and share the latest strategies that are improving the quality of education for America’s children.

News Roundup

School Segregation Didn’t Go Away. It Just Evolved
Vox — July 27, 2017

In D.C., a Tale of Two School Systems by Andrew Marra
Education Writers Association — July 26, 2017

On School Segregation, Teachers Union President Randi Weingarten Is Projecting by Peter Cunningham
The 74 Million — July 23, 2017

Please Keep This Guy Away From Rousing Charter School Debate by Jay Mathews
Washington Post — July 23, 2017

When is advocating for a diversity of school models immoral? by Neerav Kingsland
Relinquishment — July 18, 2017

Editorial: It’s Time for State Budget
Providence Journal — July 17, 2017

Americans Oppose School Segregation in Theory. So Why Not in Practice? by Perpetual Baffour
Talk Poverty — July 11, 2017

Making School Integration Work For The 21st Century by Ulrich Boser And Perpetual Baffour
The 74 Million — July 5, 2017

Integrating Charter Schools and Choice-based Education Systems by Jon Valant
Brookings — June 23, 2017

ICYMIHigh Hopes and Harsh Realities: The Real Challenges to Building a Diverse Workforce by Hannah Putman, Michael Hansen, Kate Walsh, and Diana Quintero
Brookings — August 18, 2016

Career Opportunities

Community Roots Charter School
Physical Education Teacher (K-5)

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