Professional Learning for Advancing Equity


Professional Learning Programs and

Resources for Advancing Equity








The NYC Leadership Academy (NYCLA) is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization

with a clear mission: to build the capacity of educational leaders, at every level of the system,

to confront inequities and create the conditions necessary for all students to thrive.

Since 2003, NYCLA has worked with more than 185 public school districts, charter and

parochial schools, state departments of education, universities, foundations, and nonprofit

organizations across 35 states, Washington, D.C., and internationally. We prepare and

support high-quality leaders who can transform schools and ensure all students have access

to effective instruction and are nurtured socially, emotionally, and academically. Reform

leaders and funders such as The Wallace Foundation and The George W. Bush Institute

have chosen us to support their educational leadership initiatives.

Every child in America has the right to a quality education.

We support district and school leaders to deliver

on that commitment.

Equity for us means that each student and educator has access to the resources and

opportunities they need to fulfill their potential, and that their race, culture, and other

characteristics of their identity should not stand in the way of that access. We are

committed to eliminating inequities in educational systems by supporting and developing

school and school system leaders to build culturally responsive, equitable learning

environments that serve all students. We focus on leaders because they are the lead

learners in a school. They set and guide the implementation of the school vision. A strong

leader will courageously model behaviors, mindsets, and expectations, in turn encouraging

staff to do the same.

NYCLA has always worked at the nexus of leadership and equity. We were created 16 years

ago to help recruit and develop exceptional leaders — particularly women and people of

color — for New York City’s lowest-performing schools. Since then, we have worked with

hundreds of school systems and educational organizations to build the capacity of leaders

who help raise expectations and increase learning for underserved kids.

Our Services and Resources

We design and deliver professional learning and coaching for leaders at every level of the school system, from

instructional coaches to school board members. In all of our work, we aim to help build their capacity to identify and

address inequities and create the conditions and culture necessary to transform their school systems. All of our

services and resources are designed to help educational leaders develop the will, skill, knowledge, and capacity to:

Eliminate inequitable systems, policies, and practices that are embedded in districts, schools, classrooms,

and communities served.

Promote each student’s well-being and academic success.

Create the conditions for students, school staff, educators, and communities to realize equitable school


Establish equitable, intellectually rigorous, and culturally responsive learning environments and

experiences that draw on students’ unique cultural assets, needs, and backgrounds.

Our portfolio includes a diverse mix of professional learning opportunities to meet the unique needs of our partners,

taking into account role, learning style, preference for in-person vs. online, time intensity and availability, and budget.

“I applaud NYCLA's focus on equity. Sometimes in education we give equity lip service. NYCLA is setting the

national pace that equity needs to be part of the conversation. It's not a nice-to-have or if-you-can-fit-it-in.

It's a must-have.”

- Jean Walker, Visiting Assistant Professor for Educational Leadership, Mercer University

Services and Resources At a Glance

If your district/system needs professional learning to...

Dismantle and redesign inequitable policies, practices, structures, and systems. Provide a culturally relevant school


Teach your leaders to develop coaching strategies that deepen their ability to help school and system leaders name,

reflect on, and take action to pursue racial equity.

Build the capacity of your leaders to:

• Self-reflect and examine their behaviors, biases, and assumptions related to race and their impact on others.

• Identify and confront issues of race and equity.

If your district/system wants to acquire a resource to...

Build the capacity of your leaders to:

• Self-reflect and examine their behaviors, biases, and assumptions related to race and their impact on others.

• Identify and confront issues of race and equity.

• Create space to have an open dialogue about race and address hard-to-discuss topics.

Implement a planning and inquiry process to:

• Identify and prioritize opportunities to advance equity.

• Leverage evidence-based best practices to develop an action plan.

Establish a common approach for district leaders who supervise principals to calibrate and improve the practice of

principals as equity leaders.

Assess the state of equity in your system using a research-based framework and receive a customized policy or practice

NYCLA Offers... Commitment Learning Mode Location

Sharpening Your Equity Lens 3-4 days In-person workshop Your district/system

Coaching for Equitable


2 days In-person workshop

Your district/system or

NYCLA office

Leading for Racial Equity:

A Virtual Workshop for School


Less than

1/2 day

Virtual Workshop


NYCLA Offers... Commitment Learning Mode Location

You own and use this

Equity Simulations

1/2 day

resource with optional

support from NYCLA

Your district/system

Equity at Work

4 months of elapsed


You own and use this

resource with support from


Your district/system

You own and use this

Equity Walk Protocol


resource with optional

Your district/system

support from NYCLA

Equity Assessment Approximately 30 min Online Your district/system






Our programs are held at

our office in New York City or

co-hosted by our regional

partners (districts, states,

charter networks, and

universities). Over the last year,

leaders from the NYC

Department of

Education, Long Beach (CA)

Unified School District,

Denver Public Schools, Gwinnett

County (GA) Public Schools,

Chicago Public Schools, and the

School District of Palm Beach

County (FL) have participated in

these programs.

Sharpening Your Equity Lens: A Professional Learning

Series for District and School Leaders

This course builds the capacity of district/network and school leaders to identify,

confront, and address the inequities in our schools. The foundation for this

program are the five leadership dispositions that we believe are required to lead

for equity. Through discussions, readings, role plays, and simulations, participants

acquire a broad array of foundational equity knowledge (e.g. vocabulary, history

of race and education in the U.S.) and skills (e.g. leading race-based discussions;

diagnosing, identifying, and resolving inequitable policies, practices, and

programs) with the opportunity to practice and refine them.

Coaching for Equitable Practice

In this two-day workshop, NYCLA provides participants with the language, skills,

and tools to coach others effectively toward leadership practices that advance

equity for all students. Participants self-assess against NYCLA's five equity

leadership dispositions and develop awareness of their own blind spots,

assumptions, and biases when it comes to race. They unpack equitable practice

and learn what it looks like and entails, and they apply fundamental coaching

competencies and skills to help leaders shift their practice.

"The program gave us a new voice and has already rippled

out into every one of our LBUSD schools. In fact, we have

already witnessed some amazing conversations and

interactions between adults and between adults and kids.”

- Jill Baker, Deputy Superintendent of Schools,

Long Beach Unified School District, CA

Leading for Racial Equity: A Virtual Workshop for

School Leaders

This workshop allows school leaders to practice confronting inequities in a safe,

risk-free setting. Participants engage with a NYCLA Equity Simulation (see page 8)

that casts them in the role of principal where they interact with a variety of

stakeholders, make leadership decisions, and deal with consequences. They then

debrief the experience in a two-hour session, exploring the leadership

dispositions required to lead for equity and unpacking the impact of their racial

identity, beliefs, and assumptions on their decisions.







In addition to our established

programs, we develop and

deliver customized professional

learning experiences with an

explicit focus on equity to

meet the specific needs of

individual clients.

Hillsborough County Public Schools (FL) – In support of the district’s

development of an equity plan, NYCLA engaged with school board members and

senior district leaders around the current and future states of equity at HCPS and

helped to build their capacity to recognize, discuss, navigate, and address issues

related to racial equity.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District (OH) – In

an effort to help the district support its lowest-performing

schools, NYCLA embedded equity as a major thread in the

launch of an aspiring principals program, the building of

leadership coaching capacity, and the development of tools

for principal supervisors.

Richland One School District (SC) – We are in the second year of working with

the district’s principal supervisors to build the capacity of principals and assistant

principals to lead improvements in their schools with a specific focus on race and equity.

Fort Wayne Community Schools (IN) – To

support the district’s focus on disproportionality in

discipline referrals, NYCLA provided training and coaching

to help principal supervisors and school leadership teams

address this issue through school data analysis, goal

setting, and strategy implementation.

Lexington County School District One (SC) – NYCLA is helping to build the

capacity of the district’s 40-person instructional services team to drive changes in

instructional practice in support of greater equity in schools.

Des Moines Public Schools (IA) – To support the

implementation of this district’s equity plan, we are

developing and delivering a professional learning

program (including guided job-embedded work and

small group coaching) to build the capacity of the

district’s school-based equity coaches to facilitate

difficult conversations about race with their colleagues.

Somerville Public Schools (MA) – To support the district’s development

and implementation of an equity policy, NYCLA provided professional learning for

the School Committee and key district leaders to define purpose in leadership for

equity and to identify the conditions necessary to achieve their equity goals. We

also worked with district and school staff on key equity leadership dispositions and

explored topics such as implicit bias as they began to assess their learning needs.





We have invested in the

development of a number of

resources and tools to help our

clients and teams advance


Equity at Work Strategic Action Planning Guide

Our free Equity at Work guide supports school system leaders in developing and

implementing strategic action plans for closing persistent achievement and

opportunity gaps. Our guide helps leaders and their teams prioritize the highest

leverage opportunities for short– and long-term improvement. It includes stories

from the field and a compendium of research-based effective school system leader

practices for advancing equity in schools. There is also the option of securing our

team of experts for support in using the guide and developing and implementing

equity-focused strategic plans. For example, we can:

Support your equity data collection efforts –

determine the types of data to collect; identify

the potential sources of that data; analyze,

synthesize, and interpret the data; etc.

Help you assess the applicability of the equity

action areas as your strategic equity needs

emerge during the planning process.

Provide ongoing strategic coaching during the

different phases of the planning process.

Work with you to apply Equity at Work to your

specific needs and circumstances.

""NYCLA support was critical to our ability to move our racial

equity work forward.”

- Lawrence "Bo" Wright, former Deputy Superintendent of

Rochester City School District (which piloted Equity at Work)

and current Superintendent of

Rush-Henrietta Central School District (NY)

Equity Walk Protocol

Our Equity Walk Protocol provides a common approach for classroom observations

and a structure for principal supervisors to gather low-inference data, generate

questions for the principal, and think about next steps for the school community

with the goal of calibrating and improving the practice of principals as equity

leaders. The protocol includes a one-hour phone consultation with an experienced

NYCLA facilitator.

Equity Simulations

Simulations have long been used as a learning resource in

professions where the stakes are high and every decision matters.

They increase the authenticity of the learning experience and

provide a safe, low-risk environment for learners to practice

specific behaviors without fear of consequences. Our Equity Sims

engage educational leaders in reflection and decision-making

through interactive, video-based scenarios related to issues of

race and equity in schools. They are a flexible professional learning

resource to help district and school leaders build capacity to

identify and address issues of race and equity. We offer four

Equity Sims - two simulations cast the user in the role of a school

principal and two other simulations place the user in the role of a

district leader who supervises principals.

Equity Assessment

Our free, online Equity Assessment helps school systems understand

where they are currently in their efforts to advance equity, create a

vision for where they want to go, and develop a plan. It is based on

leading research on race and equity in school systems and reflects the

knowledge that the NYC Leadership Academy has gained over the last

16 years. Upon completing the assessment, participants receive a

customized recommended practice or policy to help them progress to

the next stage of development. All answers remain confidential.

Equity Leadership Instrument

(only available for use as part of a broader engagement)

The Equity Leadership Instrument is a tool to help leaders assess their skills and practices against the

equity leadership dispositions that NYCLA believes are critical for leading racially equitable schools.

It is primarily used to measure changes in behavior related to the leadership dispositions in equityfocused

engagements where the equity dispositions serve as the foundation for the work. The tool

serves as the basis for tracking leadership growth in all of our equity-focused programs and services.

Our Demonstrated Commitment

Our ability to help our clients advance equity in their organizations requires that our staff have the necessary

knowledge, skills, tools, and resources. To that end we have:

Identified the five leadership dispositions that we believe are required to lead for equity along with the

related behaviors that demonstrate each disposition. These dispositions and behaviors are the foundation

for many of our equity focused services.

Developed a framework for equitable school practices including culture, leadership, instruction, and

partnerships (CLIP).

Articulated our theory of action for advancing equity in schools and developed an equity logic model.

Named our first Chief Access & Equity Officer to oversee the development of our staff and tools and the

quality of our equity-related services.

Organized our first Leading for Equity convening in December 2016, which brought together 60 leaders from

28 districts, including 12 superintendents, to plan and collaborate around systemically addressing

inequities in schools.

Michelle Pierre-Farid, former Chief Academic Officer of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, said that the

conversations she had with other district leaders at the convening “helped nail down why we do this work every

day, and gave us the ability to have these conversations when we head back to our districts.”

Engaged in ongoing, multi-year staff development around racial equity to build our team’s personal and

professional capacity in this area. This includes the certification of some staff as Courageous Conversations

About Race (CCAR) Practitioners.

Produced “What it Takes: Leading Districts for Equity,” a short film that describes the systemic approach taken

by Newburgh Enlarged City School District (NY) to dismantle inequities in their schools.

How We Can Help You

There are several ways you can engage with our team of experts:

Send your staff to one of our programs in New York City

Co-host a regional version of one of our programs and receive discounts for your staff in return for helping

us invite neighboring districts, charters, etc.

Bring us to your site to deliver a professional learning program exclusively for your staff

Work with us to develop your own customized program

Purchase one of our resources and start putting it to use immediately

Join our growing community of education leaders committed to

preparing all students for success.

4,200 leaders

are leading for

equity with more

targeted skills and


5.5 million


are learning in

school systems

with stronger


185 systems

are transforming

student learning by

making systemic


To learn how we can support you, please contact Mary Jo Dunnington,

Chief of Strategic Communications and Partnerships, at 646-345-6748 or

Contact us for more information or to bring our workshops to your system. (718) 752-7365

Similar magazines