Initial Priorities of Leadership through Management and Engagement

The beginning of each new school year has its initial priorities, beyond those required by the State with an emphasis on the safety and welfare of students and staff. Because education is a learning enterprise, its mission rests squarely on teaching, learning, and assessment. However, the effects of a pandemic continue to provide education with incredible challenges that link learning more strongly than ever to the social and emotional dimensions.

Social and Emotional Awareness

With a range of identified skills and competencies at both the State and national levels which brings a focus on whole-child development, current research is bent on clarifying this dimension of learning. For example, a shift in language is moving from Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) to Social-Emotional and Academic Learning (SEAL), as it should be. While there is significant research underway particularly by The Wallace Foundation to weave terms and perspective into a meaningful whole, school leaders may find it helpful to examine its research and sources as they prepare for a new school year. Clearly, there is the challenge of maintaining a positive school climate and the need for staff training and professional development. Parent involvement must be figured into the equation to be effective. To address this priority, now is the time to seek assistance to address these needs.

Status of Student Learning

Results from spring State testing for ELA, math, and science should be available soon to inform where individual students are academically and help teachers to identify necessary instructional treatments for improvement. A significant tool is the power of EdVistas’ DataMate Assessment Reporting System to redistribute student scores and make them available for teachers in their new grades in September. With teacher access to the most recent assessment data for their new students, DataMate provides a myriad number of reports to include individual and class reporting to distractor analysis and standards. NYS assessments are criterion-referenced; and, therefore, they provide insight into the learning level of each student at the moment of testing. Access to this student data at the beginning of a new school year has the power to identify student challenges and focus instruction.

We know enough to help our student to address and meet related challenges of SEAL. The key is to access and employ this knowledge as early in the new school year as possible.

Dr. Bruce H. Crowder is a senior researcher for Educational Vistas, Inc. His work is primarily focused on creating pathways for deeper learning for all students through student performance and a dynamic curriculum replete with strategic teaching. Dr. Crowder may be reached at