A Note from the Executive Director Hello MSAN Educators, What a joy it was to connect with MSAN's Superintendents and members of our Research Practitioner Council last month as we met to discuss a topic that is on everyone’s minds right now: teacher well-being, especially for our teachers of color. Dr. Doris Santoro and Dr. Olga Acosta Price joined us to discuss their recent research brief, Structural Supports to Promote Teacher Well-Being. We learned about a specific form of teacher burnout, demoralization, and took away many practical strategies for supporting staff.

MSAN's programming for our youngest equity leaders will continue online via the MSAN Intersectional Social Justice Collaborative. To learn more about what your middle and high school students are talking about, take a look at our Equity Leadership section below. (Ask them how their Q&A with Dr. Bettina Love was in November! I know you won’t be surprised... It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!)

For adults in MSAN, we will head back to in-person events starting in February for our winter community of practice meetings. The annual MSAN Institute will also be in-person. It is scheduled for April 19-20, 2022 and will be held in Madison, WI. The MSAN office continues to build our online resource library for you, including a list of resources I compiled for district leaders to assist as you navigate current conversations happening in your communities about Critical Race Theory.

As fall turns to winter, my hope for each of you is that you add blocks of time to your busy schedule of caring for others to focus specifically on caring for yourself. Your health matters. Your joy matters. You matter in this moment. YOU matter to our MSAN community.

As always, I am thankful for all you do,
Madeline Hafner, Ph.D.
MSAN Executive Director


Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District (NC)

Racial Justice Demands More Than a Lawn Sign

Two student leaders at Carrboro High School, part of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District (NC), provided important insight for all of our MSAN district leaders. Julian Taylor and Phoenix Garayùa-Tudryn, leaders of the Black and Brown Student Coalition, emphasized the importance of equity in action in their op-ed for EdWeek , “There are significant racial disparities in our progressive university town… We need genuine changes to be moving closer to and not further from what renowned equity-in-education scholar Gloria Ladson-Billings advocates: "dismantling the entire system in a hard reset."  That fight requires action. Our coalition has focused on just that: adding an “equity lead” position to student government, creating school wide curricula in response to national events, actively working to put more students of color in Advanced Placement and honors courses, producing a podcast called “Student Voices of the Pandemic” to give students of color a platform to address the district’s faculty directly, and more.” To listen to their podcast “Student Voices of the Pandemic” or read more, click here.  Thank you CHCCS for listening to and supporting these amazing student leaders.


Perspectives on Critical Race Theory in Public Education

This fall, MSAN hosted the first of two professional learning opportunities for school board members in MSAN districts to talk about a topic that has become the center of fierce political debate: Critical Race Theory. Percy Brown Jr., longtime member of MSAN’s Research Practitioner Council and Director of Equity & Student Achievement in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District (WI), provided a space of learning and reflection. If you couldn’t join us in person, take a look at the recorded webinar on the MSAN website. A second webinar for board members, superintendents, and RPC members is scheduled for February 3, 2022.

Dr. Dena Simmons

Equity-Focused SEL & Radical Self-Care

In a recent LiberatED newsletter, activist and educator Dr. Dena Simmons asked, “How are you building in time for caring for yourselves and loved ones? What will you do for yourself today?” Simmons, founder of LiberatED, “a collective at the intersection of racial justice, social emotional learning (SEL) and healing in education rooted in radical love,” shares her insight on what it means to instill culturally responsive SEL, what it means to prioritize safety and healing, and more in a Q&A with Learning for Justice: Humanity, Healing and Doing the Work.



The Black Education Research Collective (BERC) at Teachers College, Columbia University published a report entitled, Black Education in the Wake of COVID and Systemic Racism: Toward a Theory of Change and Action. Study findings revealed significant consensus across participant experiences and views, and the authors outline six recommendations that are key to building trust between educational systems and Black families and communities and necessary to support student safety, learning, and success.


Look at our Youth SHINE

Throughout this fall and next spring middle and high school students and their advisors will be participating in the MSAN Intersectional Student Justice Collaborative. This monthly experience works to develop participants in an integrated social justice youth leadership development experience. Keynote speakers include Dr. Bettina Love,  Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm, and Dr. Dave Stovall. Your students will network with other youth from across MSAN’s national network of school districts while developing a district/school specific action plan for change. Equity actions plans will be presented at a spring social justice poster fair on April 6, 2022 via Zoom.

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