Now is the time for Breakthrough Leadership
This book was borne out of urgency. We face the consequences of a raging pandemic, coupled with an unprecedented call to end racial injustice. COVID-19 has exposed longstanding structural inequities, while at the same time offering a rare “breakthrough” opportunity to dismantle inequitable systems that have harmed our most marginalized students for generations.
Breakthrough Leadership is rooted in moral courage and calls us to act upon a new discovery, or epiphany about a fundamental truth that challenges previous beliefs.
While this book offers examples of schools that were “beating the odds” pre-COVID-19 as well as strategies for changing those odds in the future. Breakthrough Leadership also spotlights professionals now leveraging crises like this to shape local and national priorities toward a more equitable and healthy society for our children in order to:
- Create and sustain Equitable Learning Communities (ELCs) that are grounded in relational trust
- Establish comprehensive systems to ensure that all students thrive
- Implement cutting-edge principles of effective curriculum, instruction, and assessment including culturally responsive teaching, trauma-informed practice, and blended learning
- Meaningfully engage families and community
Leadership from the classroom to the board room is needed to advance an agenda of equitable and successful outcomes for our students. The facts stakes couldn’t be starker. Good leadership saves lives both in pandemics, and in our profession.
“The critical variable that determines whether or not our schools can respond adequately to the numerous challenges that they and their children face is leadership. . . This book is about the work of such leaders. In big cities, small towns, and rural areas, a small number of principals and superintendents are showing that progress can be made when leaders have the resourcefulness and courage to address equity challenges directly.
The educational leaders profiled in this book have a clear sense of how to systematically build the capacity of teachers and schools to meet the needs of the students they serve. I urge other leaders to learn from them so that great schools that serve all children well, will be the norm, rather than the exception.”
"With all its devastation, COVID-19 also presents the opportunity of the century to transform the public education system that, to say the least, has become stalled and stagnant in the past 50 years. . . . Breakthrough Leadership makes a significant contribution to our next phase, which must be one of definable and targeted transformation of equity-based learning.
In this excerpt from Breakthrough Leadership by Alan M. Blankstein and Marcus J. Newsome, the authors provide recommendations for the first one hundred days of school in a pandemic re-entry plan.