Leading for Equity and Justice Certificate

This 36 contact hour certificate program offers a unique opportunity for educators to reimagine schools with practitioners across the country. Grounded in social justice leadership and culturally responsive leadership, educators receive 21st century online learning to build better relationships with students and families, rethink their policies and practices, and examine their mindsets and dispositions that impact student success. The certificate signals competence for leading personal, professional, and systems change. Upon completion of six modules co-constructed by practicing school administrators and researchers, educators will have new knowledge and strategies to engage school communities in equity work and create better schools, better communities, and ultimately, a better world. 

Each week-long module requires 4-6 hours of work.

  • Module 1: Culturally Responsive LeadershipExpand dropdown

    Culturally responsive leadership is anchored in community connections. These connections promote equity for our most marginalized students and their families. As you work through this module you will be exposed to material from Dr. Muhammed Khalifa's book entitled Culturally Responsive Leadership. Dr. Brene Brown's text, Dare to Lead, also informs this module. Participants will engage in several activities that will include a mini project, a threaded discussion around shared leadership and power, and a case study that focuses on a school that was facing closure. Participants can also expect to participate in a quiz and there is a video assignment.

    As you navigate through the research, the expectation is that you unearth your biases. You will be asked: (1) How does your deficit thinking show up in your work? (2) What are the impacts of your deficit thinking on institutional practices? (3) How might your deficit thinking have an adverse effect on how you lead and follow? One of the major tenets of culturally responsive leadership is making community connections. This concept will be analyzed in the module. After completing this module, you will gain a deeper understanding of the critical reflection required to be a culturally responsive leader that strives for equity for all.

  • Module 2: Reflexive Leadership - Deficit Thinking and Low ExpectationsExpand dropdown

    The Reflexive Leadership - Deficit Thinking and Low Expectations module will empower educators to (1) engage in exercises to better understand deficit thinking, racism, and stereotypes, (2) identify and challenge their own deficit thinking and low expectations that show up in practice and policy, (3) understand the differences between reflecting and being reflexive and (4), participate in activities that examine their five essential values.

    Throughout this module, participants will read & synthesize articles relating to deficit thinking, racial stereotyping, and critical race theory, and explore a novice principal’s connections between reflection, reflexivity, and school leadership. educators will view a video that depicts common stereotypes and negative thinking about marginalized students that permeates throughout a schools’ culture.   A case study is presented to illuminate a kindergarten teacher’s low expectations and deficit thinking of minoritized students and the parent’s reactions. This module concludes with educators beginning the work of knowing themselves as a school leader by creating on-line journal entries using Penzu.
  • Module 3: Servant LeadershipExpand dropdown

    Servant Leadership satisfies the natural feeling that one has to serve others. The purpose of this module  is for the participants to begin self-reflecting on the nine characteristics of a servant leader: (1) listening (2) empathy (3) healing (4) awareness) (5) persuasion (6) stewardship (7) conceptualization (8) building community and (9) commitment to the growth of others.  These nine characteristics of servant leadership are crucial to creating a positive school climate that will lead to higher student achievement, which will ultimately meet the goals of all stakeholders.

    During this module, educators will solicit the perspectives of two individuals who know their leadership capacity to complete a leadership survey. This survey data will help them identify the strong leadership behaviors and areas they may strive to improve.  Two articles are presented for educators to examine the attributes of being a servant leader and then engage in a threaded discussion. Participants will read a case study involving hard-to-staff schools and examine the importance of servant leadership characteristics.  By the conclusion of this module, educators will gain a deeper understanding of a servant leader and be on their way to leading for equity.

  • Module 4: Racially Responsive Leadership
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    We will define Social Justice Leadership as we reflect on your current leadership practice and how it reflects your sensitivity to the presence of racism in various schooling spaces. As a school leader, how will you promote equity and diversity in your educational or work setting for success? We will examine racist practices and policies that marginalize students. We will create equitable and just leadership responses to oppression in schools, think with other educators about strategies to dismantle systemic racism, and rethink schools with liberating structures that honor students of color and their communities.

  • Module 5: Transformative LeadershipExpand dropdown

    This module introduces educators to transformative leadership theory. Thoughtfully constructed assignments will support transformative leadership development. This module will help identify areas that need changing within an organization. As a transformative leader, you will need to create a vision to guide change while collaborating with others to meet the needs of your school community. During this module, you will have an opportunity to learn about the eight tenets of transformative leadership. Participants will interact with two articles, watch a video, and go on a transformative leadership hunt. The module concludes with an assessment to check your understanding. Take this opportunity to learn and engage with classmates. Delve into the topic of transformative leadership to create equitable learning conditions for students. 

  • Module 6: Social Justice LeadershipExpand dropdown

    This module will introduce educators to Social Justice Leadership Theory.  Educators will construct a working definition of the theory, critically reflect on its characteristics, and share how they are currently implementing this leadership theory into their current practice.  Educators will explore the role and responsibility of school leaders to ensure that equity and diversity are implemented so that individual educational needs are met and all students feel included within the learning environment. Participants will examine current curriculums and programs, share their own experiences, and think critically about how these entities lack diversity and inclusivity.

    Participants will also have an opportunity to explore their own values, beliefs, and assumptions about equity and diversity. As a result, educators will create a virtual presentation that depicts their personal philosophy about leadership and how it relates to leadership for social justice. A Case Study allows educators practice with developing an action plan for implementing social justice leadership for a student with some academic and behavioral challenges. Educators will engage in writing S.M.A.R.T goals to address academics, behavior, supports, and resources for the student, her family, and the school staff that must provide educational programming that meets her needs and ensures justice and her success.