Courageous or comfortable: Administrators asked to decide

The 2019-2020 school year officially kicked off on Thursday, July 25, when Lincoln Public Schools leaders and administrators gathered at Lincoln Southwest High School for the annual Leadership Day. This year’s theme: “Equity: All means all.”

Lincoln Board of Education President Lanny Boswell welcomed LPS administrators and described the two major goals set forth by the Board for the upcoming school year:  Moving forward with recommendations for top-priority facility needs for the school district, and working toward equity and accessibility for all students. 

“To support academic success, we have asked for a common definition of equity to be developed and the framework to work towards this goal by April 15,” Boswell said. “We understand that this will not be achieved overnight or in one year’s work. To truly make progress we must be intentional in our definitions and our process. We will do this in partnership with our students, staff and community. In a district where all mean alls we would expect no less.”

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel added this is work that never ends:  “We know all means all. We know that we don’t ask kids how they got here. We don’t even ask them why they got here. We don’t ask them how they express themselves. When they show up we give them all we have, and we can’t ever lose sight of that.”

Keynote speaker Toni Robinson from Discovery Education reminded the group this requires a human solution, not a technical solution.

“Equity is about identifying, recognizing, appreciating and valuing the humanness in me as I value it in you,” Robinson explained. “And if we approach it in that way, then we can’t lose. Every child that comes through that door deserves to be valued.  Period.”

She also said this work was going to require some cost and a whole lot of courage.

“You will face things you don’t know, but you’ve got to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You have to be courageous to take some risks,” Robinson said. “Leaders can be courageous or comfortable, but not both. So what are you going to be?”

Joel added that if there was a district and a community anywhere in America that could pull this off, it was LPS - and Lincoln.

“When you think about what we are going to be doing, there are going to be a lot of dimensions to this. But at the end of the day we have to be leaders of change. We have to be inspirers of doing things differently if we want to get different outcomes,” Joel said.

Published: July 26, 2019, Updated: August 2, 2019

“Leaders can be courageous or comfortable, but not both. So what are you going to be?”

Keynote speaker Toni Robinson from Discovery Education