Sonia D. Hurd

Clemens Crossing Elementary School
Columbia, Maryland

Best Practices

1) Standard 2. Ethics and Professional Norm
“Effective educational leaders act ethically and according to professional norms to promote each student’s academic success and weil-being.” As part of my Leadership Fellows project, I created a virtual community outreach opportunity for parents. After creating an interest survey for parents and asking for input regarding topics to discuss, I communicated with community members in various ways. Phone calls, emails, weekly announcements, and postcards were sent to families inviting them to participate. My collaboration with the school psychologist, counselor, diversity, equity, and inclusion representative, and my school’s performance director have been crucial in implementing the outreach program. My goal was to create partnerships between families and help expand our community connections.

On a monthly basis, we meet to discuss topics such as well-being, incorporating mindfulness, how to support children through virtual learning, and uplifting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. I am working with a small group of diverse staff members: the guidance counselor, three grade level teachers, two special educators, the teacher’s secretary, music teacher, and the speech pathologist. We meet monthly as a book club to plan the community outreach sessions. This year 39% of our population are new students. My goal is aligned with the HCPSS Strategic Call to Action. I want to ensure “collaboration with families and the greater community prepares all students to be ready to learn. “Open and accessible communication is key to ensure the parents, guardians, and community members trust in the school and are active and valued partners.

2) Standard 3. Equity and Cultural Responsiveness
“Effective educational leaders strive for equity of educational opportunity and culturally responsive practices to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.” As the point of contact for HCPSS evening school, I have been working with staff and families to determine student academic needs. The county-wide program takes place weekly. Students may attend one to three sessions per week. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday at 6:00 or 7:00, evening school is in session virtually. Students receive thirty minutes of language arts or math support and thirty minutes of support with asynchronous work. The CCES student support team (SST), staff, or parents can recommend students. Once I receive names from staff or the SST, families are contacted and an invitation is sent. Once the family accepts, a confirmation email is sent indicating the session, time, teacher name, and Google Meet code. Following the session, I track student attendance and share my findings with the SST on a weekly basis. This year HCPSS is incorporating monthly Dialogic conversations. Every Wednesday during the first semester, instructional staff will participate in professional learning designed by Central Office Programs and capture their learnings in a Reflection Log. The Reflection Log is a tool for staff to use to encourage their thinking around transformation of practice. The log will support the completion of tasks \vi thin the Racial Equity and Culturally Proficient Practices asynchronous modules, and prepare and support the Dialogic Conversations. The topics for Wednesday Professional Learning include Digital Tools, Racial Equity, and Culturally Responsive Teaching.

Every fourth Wednesday, staff engages in school-based Dialogic Conversations to process, reflect, and discuss the implications of what they have learned and applied to their practice. I have been working collaboratively with the school leaders of the Dialogic Conversations. Each 1nonth, our team creates a presentation to share with small groups of staff. After each small group discussion, we set aside time to debrief as a leadership team and whole staff. The ongoing reflection focused on best practices for students, is beneficial to all stakeholders.