Black History Month 2020

Hello MSAN Community!

It has been a few months since we sent out the last MSAN Minute. Our first newsletter of 2020 is one full of information to support you and your colleagues as you continue dismantling racism in your schools and communities! Thank you for all you do!

In this month's Minute we celebrate Black History Month by lifting up the voices of Black MSAN student leaders as they share how educators can best support students on their journey to postsecondary education: embrace culturally responsive education, communicate high expectations, and develop strong student-teacher relationships.

We highlight several district-based equity initiatives, including lesson plans and other resources in support of Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, and professional learning resources that offer school board and district leaders concrete strategies for working better together as they lead equity efforts.

Also, note important announcements about the MSAN Institute taking place April 23-24, 2020:

  • The deadline for submitting a breakout session proposal has been extended to Wednesday, February 19.
  • The planning team hopes to include a few more breakout sessions on our current MSAN focus area, coaching for high expectations and rigor. Breakout sessions are the backbone of the Institute and an impactful way we share promising practices.
  • Registration closes Wednesday, March 18.


Finally, we take a few minutes to celebrate the success of our annual MSAN Student Conference held this fall. The conference brought over 200 high school student equity leaders and educators from 19 MSAN districts to Madison, WI for three days of inspiration and celebration. Your students, and the adults who support them, are truly transformational change agents!

Black Lives Matter At Shool logo


Promoting Racial Equity Work and Centering Black Lives in Teaching and Learning
MSAN is a network of districts committed to learning from one another. Our colleagues in the Evanston Skokie School District 65 (IL) share the resources and lesson plans they recently used during “Black Lives Matter at School Week.” Additionally, they thoughtfully remind us that the Black Lives Matter At School initiative is more than seven days of events but “an important opportunity for districts educators to promote racial equity work, center Black lives in our teaching and learning, and connect to a global network of individuals striving to make the world more just.” Thank you for showing us what equity in action looks like every day of the year, D65!

Attendees at MSAN Insititute


Submit a proposal for a breakout session at the annual MSAN Institute!
The Call for Proposals for the 2020 MSAN Institute is now open! 75-minute MSAN Institute breakout sessions are led by teachers, principals, and other school and district leaders, as well as by researchers and community partners. A student panel featuring student equity leaders from MSAN districts and keynote addresses round out the program. Please share this Institute save-the-date flyer far and wide, and please consider presenting your work at this year's conference, either on your own or with a team!

The MSAN Institute is our network's hallmark professional learning event and is open to MSAN members as well as to the wider educational community. Registration closes March 18.

Dr. Yvette Jackson


Coaching and Evaluation for Rigor and High Expectations
MSAN's annual research and development focus area for the 2019-20 school year is coaching and evaluation for rigor and high expectations. In her recent "Equity for All Students" webinar, long-time friend of MSAN, Dr. Yvette Jackson, provides an overview of how high expectations, mindfulness practices, and positivity can help students THRIVE across educational settings. The webinar is full of useful take-aways for classroom teachers. Here's one...think AIM. When we work to ensure student success and connection in our classrooms, how do we:

Affirm: How do I affirm students' strengths, their culture, and their belonging?

Inspire: How do I inspire students to set goals and be self-determined?

Mediate: How do I mediate students through this idea of personal agency and give them the prerequisites they need to so they can go into learning saying "I got this!"?

WPT, REL Midwest


High Hopes and Higher Education: Honoring Black Students' Higher Education Aspirations

Recently, MSAN Scholars from the Madison Metropolitan School District (WI), University of Wisconsin-Madison administrators, researchers in the field of higher education, and MSAN Executive Director Dr. Madeline Hafner, worked with REL Midwest staff to create a documentary about evidence-based programs focused on supporting Black students' higher education aspirations.

In the documentary High Hopes and Higher Education: Honoring Black Students' Aspirations, promising practices that educators can use to support Black students on their journey to postsecondary education are highlighted, including embracing culturally responsive education, communicating high expectations, and developing strong student-teacher relationships.

Use the documentary viewing guide as a starting point for discussion.

MSAN Student Conference leaders from Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District


Thank you to Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District for an incredible student conference!
The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District hosted the 2019 MSAN Student Conference, and what an amazing conference it was! The conference theme was "The Roses that Grew from Concrete." MSAN Scholars and high school equity leaders from across 19 network districts gathered in Madison, WI in October to hear from speakers, hone their equity leadership skills, create action plans for change in their districts, and tour the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Check out the conference video and think about how you will support your district's MSAN Scholars in implementing the action plan that they created at the conference!

Learn more here: MSAN Student Conference Aims to Empower Next Generation of Equity Leaders.

Pat Savage-Williams


Equity-focused school boards are the key to transforming our districts!
In her article 10 Ways School Boards Can Champion Racial Equity, Pat Savage-Williams, Board President of MSAN's founding district, Evanston Township High School District 202, offers boards and district leaders concrete strategies for working better together as they lead equity efforts.

Centering Equity Together in Critical Collaborative Partnership: School Boards and District LeadersRESEARCH BRIEF

Barriers and opportunities in equity policy

In their research brief, Centering Equity Together in Critical Collaborative Partnership: School Boards and District Leaders, our colleagues at the Great Lakes Equity Center identify different barriers as well as opportunities that surface when district leaders and school board members center their policy work on equity. Read more about how district teams worked to respond to two key findings:

  1. Communication and engagement with diverse stakeholders is crucial to success, and
  2. Addressing intra-group conflict requires skill development and practice.

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