Dear MSAN Colleagues and Friends,

This back to school time resembles nothing we have ever seen before. While living amid a global pandemic our schools have worked tirelessly to meet the basic needs of our families including healthy food, consistent internet, and stable housing just to name a few. Our educators have pivoted their instructional practice. We have adjusted to online everything all while sifting through and enacting massive policies and protocols to keep our children and communities safe. THANK YOU ALL for stepping into the demands of this most tenuous time in our lives.

While at the same time, we are living through a time of racial reckoning that has brought thousands of people to the streets and many of us to our knees. A deeply entrenched culture of anti-Blackness in the United States continues to permit the murder our brothers and sisters. And we continue to say their names: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor. A deeply entrenched culture of xenophobia allows immigrant children seeking safety to be heartlessly separated from their families and kept in cages. Every day the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism take their toll.

And in response to this hate, each and every day, of you fight. You fight white supremacy culture in big and small ways: in your classrooms, in your team meetings, in your training sessions, in your lobbying efforts, in your advocacy work, and in your policy debates. Each of you, as members and friends of MSAN, fight for racial equity and social justice. I am proud of MSAN’s mission and our persistent efforts to combat racism in all of its forms. While we cannot physically engage in our shared work this year, MSAN will continue to support you and your districts through high quality online programming for the 2020-21 school year.

Our shared mission continues to drive the content of our programs just as our need to network with other anti-racist educators drives our format, which includes one-to-one technical assistance sessions, small group conversations, large group learning seminars, online newsletters, webinars, and more. The MSAN office continues to build our online resource library which includes findings from high quality research and district-based promising practices. More about MSAN’s programs for the 2020-21 school year can be found at the MSAN website.

As we move into fall, my hope is that each of you add 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, and to this movement. You matter to our MSAN community.

With much appreciation for all you do,
Madeline Hafner, Ph.D.
MSAN Executive Director




All things Abolitionist Teaching Network!!!
MSAN is working with Dr. Bettina Love to harness the power of both networks to support our students in powerful ways! We will keep you updated. Until we are able to meet in person, keep connecting virtually with ATN! 

Webinar: Abolitionist Teaching and the Future of Our Schools
Watch Dr. Bettina Love, Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, and Dr. Dena Simmons discuss the need to question and dismantle our education system in partnership with students and families in order to design equitable learning environments. 

ATN Podcast: Teaching to Thrive 
Teaching to Thrive is a podcast committed to sharing ideas that strengthen the everyday lives of Black and Brown students within our schools and communities. Each episode is aimed at empowering our knowledge for collective liberation. Episode 1: SEL expert Rosalynne Duff discusses racial justice & SEL. 

Grants for Abolitionists 
Learn more about ATN grants for educators, single moms, youth, early care educators, and formerly incarcerated youth development mentors. Deadline for submission is October 23!

Dr. Dena Simmons


MSAN’s annual research and development focus area for the 2019-20 school year was coaching for rigor and high expectations. While we are wrapping up our study this fall and collecting the different resources shared and promising practices highlighted over the course of the year, we invite you to begin thinking about how your district can contribute to our collective knowledge base about our annual focus area for the 2020-21 school year: equity-centered social emotional learning and radical self-care. 

Previewing some of the topics we will be sharing, take a look at the ASCD article by Dr. Dena Simmons, Assistant Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, “Why We Can’t Afford Whitewashed Social Emotional Learning.” During our MSAN meetings in June, members of MSAN’s Governing Board of Superintendents and Research Practitioner Council discussed Dr. Simmons reminder to be vigilant against allowing our focus on social-emotional learning to become “white supremacy with a hug.”

Annenberg Institute


Identifying and Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness 
This research brief outlines how to better serve students experiencing homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic. Aimed at K-12 decision makers, the researchers remind us of the power of students’ relationships. “Regular communication to build relationships with student-identified networks of trusted adults allows schools to tailor practices and supports in ways that meet individual needs.”



Supporting Multilingual Learners
Micro-Offerings from WIDA Professional Learning 
To help navigate the unique challenges of teaching during the pandemic, our amazing colleagues at the WIDA Consortium have created a new series of micro-offerings. The 30-45 minute courses are open to anyone and are designed for educators who work with multilingual children and youth across a variety of settings. WIDA’s Director of Professional Learning, and former MSAN RPC member, Dr. Diep Nguyen, shares, “As we prepare our classrooms to welcome students, whether in a school building or virtually, or a hybrid model, we worry about reconnecting with students we have known from last year and finding, identifying and welcoming new students who might need language assistance in the coming school year.”

student working with teacher


Dr. Kristi Wilson (formerly Sandvik), superintendent of the Buckeye Elementary School District in Buckeye, AZ is the 2020-21 president of AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

Dr. Wilson shared, "Regardless of the role I take on, viewing the work through an equity lens influences every conversation, every advocacy effort, and every detail. Quite simply, serving as AASA President gives me an opportunity to demonstrate this way of thinking, working, and engaging on a national scale that will hopefully benefit students from coast to coast."

AASA advocates for equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education, and develops and supports school system leaders. For more information and resources, please visit the AASA Equity page.

Equity Leadership through the COVID-19 Pandemic: Resources for MSAN Districts

MSAN has created a list of resources that focuses squarely on issues aligned with our core practices and values and are impacting equity-focused school leaders at this time. These resources are divided by different topics, including culturally responsive online learning, fighting racism, supporting multilingual learners and students receiving special education services, and critical self-care. This list will continue to be updated. The most recent resources will always be listed at the top of each section.

thank you in a variety of languages


Thanks to all of our MSAN educators: teachers, counselors, principals, assistant principals, educational assistants, bus drivers, tech support, custodians, administrative assistants, school board members, school nutrition staff, etc.... every single person who made the first day of school possible for our students! MSAN is honored to work with you and we see the results of your work in every conversation we have had with district staff, families, and community members.

©2024 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System