In Communities of Practice, Featured

A’Seret (left) is the Program Director of SELF’s Specialized Development Cohort. Aqua (right) is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of SELF.

Meet the facilitators!

Aqua Stovall and A’Seret Dokubo bring their expertise from the Special Education Leader Fellowship (SELF), an organization based in New Orleans that prepares teachers and administrators to provide quality education to students with exceptional learning needs.

Prior to co-founding SELF, Aqua served as Assistant Superintendent and a Teacher Quality Specialist for Newark Public Schools, directly managing 12 schools, including two with 100% of the student population qualifying for significant special education services.

Prior to joining SELF, A’Seret designed and taught a multi-age behavior resource room to support students with emotional disorders. On average, her students increased their GPAs from 0.8 to 2.3 points and achieved 91% of their academic, behavior, and social IEP goals.

We’re pleased to share notes from a conversation with Aqua and A’Seret about their Community of Practice during the 2020-2021 year!

Why this topic? Why now?

The traumatic impact of COVID-19 is reminiscent of what we experienced leading schools after Katrina. Except this time, generations of kids nationwide are experiencing the impacts in terms of stress and anxiety. We need to figure this out in Tier 1, honing in on trauma not as an add-on, but as part of the way we think about school as a whole in this new normal. We need to build systems and practices for adults to recognize that all kids are psychologically going to be different; otherwise, we will repeat the same mistakes following Katrina and have a lost generation of students falling through the cracks.

What do you hope to gain from working with DCSC members?

We look forward to engaging with folks from DCSC member schools that wield decision-making power, such as assistant principals and deans. Among this group of members, we can generate ideas for piloting practices within a specific context or grade level. As school leaders work through a hybrid or distance learning plan, we have a special opportunity to more strongly align current practices with a trauma-informed approach. We can’t wait to see DCSC members learning from each other’s pilot experiences, and building on the ‘glows’ and ‘grows’ that accompany an unpredictable year ahead.

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