On Tuesday, March 24, the Center for the Study of Education Policy (CSEP) held a virtual check-in with participants of the Leadership for Equity (LFE) Micro-Credential (MC).  This pilot was launched at the Illinois Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) conference held on February 12, 2020. The Virtual Check-In was offered in partnership with BloomBoard and coordinators at the Regional Office of Education LEAD Hubs and was scheduled prior to the state mandated school closures as a result of COVID-19.

“Initially, we were going to postpone the virtual check-in, assuming that school leaders would be too distracted to participate due to the uncertainty and demands of COVID-19 on their schools. Instead, we noticed that our pilot participants were logged onto the BloomBoard micro-credential platform and making good progress with their micro-credential work. Participants communicated to us that they were taking advantage of this time to address their own professional needs,” said CESP Senior Policy Analyst and Researcher Erika Hunt.

Twenty-one people participated with Tuesday’s Virtual Check-In. The meeting was set up with multiple Zoom Rooms to provide differentiated support to school leaders and to allow school leaders to interact with one another. The meeting was recorded and shared with school leaders in the pilot who were not able to participate.

The LFE MCs were developed by a national design team made up of 25 professionals from Illinois, Tennessee, and other regions nationally, representing higher education, K-12 schools, and research organizations. The LFE MC series is based on the 7 Equity Commitments of  Tennessee Leaders for Equity Playbook but broken down into four individual micro-credentials.

  • Exploring and Deepening an Equity Mindset
  • Applying a Culturally Responsive Lens to a Data Cycle
  • Guiding Culturally Responsive Instructional Practice
  • Hiring and Retaining Culturally Responsive Staff

Content of the micro-credentials was reviewed through a national usability pilot of over 300 principals and assistant principals in Spring 2019 as well as focus groups with Tennessee and Illinois equity-focused principals. Successful program completers will receive some measure of in-service professional development credit and recognition of completion on their Illinois license. The series is designed specifically for principals and assistant principals, although complementary LFE MC for district leaders and aspiring principals are being developed.

The LFE MC series is possible through funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) TEAM Lead project and from the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation. Tennessee’s Leaders for Equity Playbook was developed through funding by The Wallace Foundation.