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The African American Superintendent’s Advisory Council

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In September 2020, Superintendent of Public Instruction, James Lane appointed African American school leaders, teachers, parents and advocates to the African American Superintendent’s Advisory Council. This group is charged to develop recommendations to promote racial equity in the Commonwealth’s public schools.

Purpose

The African American Superintendent’s Advisory Council (AASAC) was formed in response to the acute equity issues that continue to stifle achievement and produce disparate academic outcomes for Black students across Virginia.

The Council’s purpose is to advise, inform, and provide professional insight on policy development and accountability for public education in Virginia. Additionally, the council provides counsel and recommendations to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and his leadership team, and may be called upon to inform and provide council to the Virginia Board of Education. The Council plays a unique role in bringing African American educational leaders, and the needs of African American students to the forefront of state discourse and decision making.

Student outcome data presented in Virginia’s roadmap to Equity, Navigating EdEquityVA, outline prevalent gaps in achievement for Black students. The unique historical events that served to systematically oppress Black students, including Massive Resistance, continue to have an effect on student success and necessitated the creation of this advisory Council. While many minoritized student groups in Virginia face barriers to success, data analysis on most achievement indicators communicate a grave need to increase support for Black students in the Commonwealth.

Members

The charter members of the African American Superintendent’s Advisory Council, which will provide ongoing advice to the state superintendent and the Virginia Department of Education, are as follows:

· Rosa Atkins, Charlottesville Public Schools

· Francine Boudlin, Henrico County Public Schools

· Regina Brown, Petersburg Public Schools

· Holly Coy, Virginia Department of Education

·  Andrew Daire, Virginia Commonwealth University

· James Dyke, McGuire Woods Consulting

· Crystal Edwards, Lynchburg Public Schools

· James J. Fedderman, Virginia Education Association

· Tyrone Foster, Bristol Public Schools

·  John B. Gordon III, Virginia Association of School Superintendents

· Ingrid Grant, Henrico County Public Schools

· Tameshia Grimes, Nottoway County Public Schools

· Penny Hairston, Alexandria Public Schools

· Genisus Holland, Girls for Change

· Naila Holmes, Virginia Education Association

· Myles Hunt, Portsmouth Public Schools

· Rodney Jordan, Norfolk School Board

·  James Lane, Virginia Department of Education

·  Makya Little, Thomas Jefferson Alumni Action Group

· Toney L. McNair Jr., Virginia Education Association

· Paula Robinson, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

· Rodney Robinson, Richmond Public Schools

· Clara Scott, NAACP

· Jeffrey Smith, Hampton Public Schools

· Anthony Swan, Virginia Teacher of the Year and Virginia Board of Education

· Dietra Trent, George Mason University

· Janice Underwood, Office of the Governor

· Leah Walker, Virginia Department of Education

· Willis Walter, Virginia State University

· Verletta White, Roanoke Public Schools

· David White, King William County Public Schools

· Van Wilson, Virginia Community College System

· Jamelle Wilson, Virginia Board of Education

· Rashard Wright, Newport News Public Schools

Recent News

African American Superintendent’s Advisory Council Issues Recommendations on Equity

At the March 17th, 2021 Board of Education meeting, the council presented a series of recommendations to address systemic inequities in Virginia’s public schools to the state Board of Education’s Special Committee to Review the Standards of Accreditation. The council’s recommendations for revising Virginia’s Standards of Quality, Standards of Accreditation, Standards of Learning and related school statutes and regulations were included the following:

  • -Inclusion of a teacher diversity index on the commonwealth’s School Quality Profiles expressing student-teacher racial ratios in the form of a single indicator or composite score related to teacher and student demographics;
  • -Revision of the Standards of Accreditation to address opportunity gaps reflected in available course options, and to provide equal emphasis on workforce readiness in accrediting schools;
  • -Inclusion of an indicator on disproportionality in disciplinary outcomes as a factor in school accreditation;
  • -Inclusion of demographic data on enrollment gifted programs and specialty centers on School Quality Profile reports;
  • -Establishment of Board of Education model guidance on equitable enrollment procedures for Governor’s schools and accelerated programs;
  • -Establishment a single indicator or composite score related to school climate that includes indicators related to antiracism and culturally responsive and inclusive learning environments;
  • -Incorporation of racism, racial equity and social justice in the Standards of Learning;
  • -Establishment by the Board of Education of model policies on equitable enrollment procedures for Governor’s Schools and other accelerated programs;
  • -Requirement for school divisions to adopt an equity plan and establish an equity advisory committee;
  • -Requirement for educator preparation programs to include programs of study and experiences that prepare teachers to be culturally responsive educators;
  • -Requirement for the equitable distribution of experienced teachers among high- and low-poverty schools; and
  • -Reconfiguration of school division boundaries and school attendance zones to promote integration and advance equitable opportunities for all students.

The full report of the African American Superintendent’s Advisory Council is available on the Virginia Department of Education website.

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