School Leaders Program

School Leaders Faculty Statement of Support and Action

The faculty of the School Leaders Program at Florida Atlantic University believes that it is our ethical, moral, and professional responsibility to address the issues of systemic racism that have been brought to the forefront with the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests and demonstrations.

The COVID-19 pandemic had already placed a renewed spotlight on how racism has caused deep inequities in our schools, communities, and society. In our specific field, multiple inequities and new challenges have been revealed or magnified, including the inequities of student access to the internet and individual technology, variation in teachers’ abilities to facilitate learning through on-line instruction, the role of school leaders and teachers in terms of providing teacher, student, and parent/guardian social and emotional support, student nutrition, parental support, and the need to deal with trauma that is experienced by everyone. Our current context reinforces that we take an urgent and deliberate focus on the importance of leadership to ensure equity, inclusion, cultural competency, and social justice for all members of our developing democratic society.

Our Department’s vision is “We strive for a transparent, caring, and ethical environment that cultivates educational leadership pioneers who through integrity, social justice and knowledge, shape a better world that promotes human dignity.” Within the Department’s values, an important value that we must emphasize is our value of “Social Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: We strive to promote a society where individuals and cultures are valued, where all have equitable opportunities, and where all inhabit an inclusive environment that is safe physically, emotionally, and socially.”

Instead of making a statement of support, we feel that this situation requires action. We have asked for feedback from our students, and based on their feedback and our own discussion, we will proceed with the following:

  • The School Leaders program faculty will undergo professional learning concerning their own personal awareness and consciousness of racial inequities, their understanding of institutional racism, and how to facilitate the difficult conversations and learning around racial and social injustice.
  • We are going to ask the College of Education to create an “Equity Liaison” position to facilitate an exchange concerning equity programs and projects with the districts we serve.
  • The School Leaders Coordinator will host a special meeting with our district partners, faculty and students to revisit the Master’s Degree Program’s FAU 5 values and consider revisions to give greater placement of social justice and racial equity.
  • The faculty is undergoing a process of PhD redesign and has determined that social justice and equity will be incorporated as cross-curricular themes.
  • Through our faculty’s involvement with professional organizations and policy with the State Department of Education, we will re-double our efforts to privilege an emphasis on social justice and racial equity through a revision of professional standards for educational leaders and educational leadership programs.
  • We will create more opportunities for student engagement in advocacy through a collaboration with the Florida Association of Professors of Educational Leadership (FAPEL)’s Policy Committee.

As aspiring or current school leaders, you too have a responsibility to action. Important choices will be made this November concerning the direction that public education will take on the local, state, and national level. In terms of elected positions that have a direct influence on Florida’s public education system: local district school board members, all 120 Florida House seats and 20 of the 40 Florida Senate seats are up for election in 2020. Educator turn-out will have a direct effect on the outcomes of these elections. It is important for you to be informed, and as educational leaders to inform others, concerning the choices we are facing and how they can impact these very significant issues.