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August 2018: A Back to School Letter from Ron Walker

August 2018: A Back to School Letter from Ron Walker

Greetings Friends of COSEBOC,

The annual rite of passage that we call “Back to School” is well underway. Some of our nation’s schools have been open since early August and others will start after the Labor Day Holiday. It has been my tradition for the past few years to send a back to school message to our friends who parent or educate students returning to school. 

I must admit that as a former principal and teacher, I wax nostalgically about the return to school and in the hopes and anticipation for a successful year of teaching and learning beneficial to every student.

Equity Gaps: Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), every state and school district in America must identify and confront with action disparities that result in any historically disadvantaged group being educated at higher rates by underprepared, inexperienced, out of their teaching area or poorly rated teachers. These situations and disparities result in what we call equity gaps.

Achievement Gaps: Furthermore, these equity gaps exacerbate what we traditionally call achievement gaps that have hinder the educational growth of our most marginalized and vulnerable students. The Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color believes that equitable and quality education for all students, and in specific boys and young men of color, will advance their affirmative, social, emotional, cultural and academic development. 

Equitable Learning Environments: In order to achieve this goal, COSEBOC is dedicated to working with educators, families, advocates and community members who remain committed to the building of common sense, strong, robust, thoughtful equitable learning environments that afford opportunity for all learners to soar and exceed expectations.

Educational Progress: As a former principal, part of my back to school ritual was to remind faculty, staff and myself that from the first day of school to the last, we are here to serve our learners and communicate regularly with their parents or guardians about their educational progress. I also informed my parent community that they also had an important responsibility, to consistently support and encourage their children’s learning within the home. Additionally, it was their responsibility at parent-teacher conferences to ask this important question: what will my son know, do and understand by the time he leaves your class at the conclusion of the school year? 

Learning as a Collaborative Affair: In closing, let’s remember that learning is a collaborative affair. We must all become active collaborators in the education of our children and youth. Students who are educated to think, create, innovate and reflect on their work will never fall into the achievement gap. Students who are educated in environments where equity and excellence coexist will become the next generation of positive contributors to their community and society. They will become boys and young men who are honored to serve and destined to lead.

In closing, please continue to follow COSEBOC and its upcoming announcements and programs scheduled for this new school year. If you are an individual, school, or district please consider becoming a COSEBOC member. Lastly, a boy or young man that you know the gift of a new book. I am pleased to be the author of Solomon’s Plan: The Gift of Education from a Father to his Son. Go to ronwalkereducates.com for details. I think anyone who reads it will find it enlightening and a source of inspiration in this new school year.

Sincerely,

Ron walker