MSAA Matters

September 2022

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"There is no passive path to ensuring equity." Ken Williams author of the book, Ruthless Equity

September 12, 2022

Dear MSAA Leaders,

The first milestone of the school year is now a week behind you, and our hope at MSAA is that each of you had a successful school opening! As noted in the August 29th Matters we wish you a happy, healthy school year that exceeds your expectations!

I want to highlight our annual Convocation at MSAA on September 20th. It kicks off our year for MSAA and we want our membership to be there to celebrate with us. The day begins at 8 AM with a continental breakfast and our program begins at 8:30 AM. We begin with opening remarks by our new President Liz Garden and Executive Director Bob Baldwin. Dr. Katie Novak is the keynote and her topic is is Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers. Katie Katie is an internationally renowned education consultant, an author, adjunct professor at UPenn, and a former Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Massachusetts. It will be a great day and we will cap it off with a delicious barbecue!

Soul of leadership

Deadline Extended! Register up to September 21, 2022.

Announcing a New Cohort of:

The Soul of Leadership:

Courage, Presence, and Integrity

A yearlong personal & leadership renewal program for PreK-12 school leaders.

We lead who we are. As school leaders, we cultivate the culture in our schools. This culture reflects who we are and what we do. Research clearly shows that school leaders have a strong impact on student achievement, school climate and equity work. At the same time, leaders are experiencing substantial stress that can compromise their personal well-being and leadership. The challenges of leading today underscore the need for school leaders who can handle stress, build trust, and develop caring and culturally responsive schools.

We invite you to deepen your own development as a leader. The Soul of Leadership develops your capacity for self-awareness, listening, and reflection. We offer school leaders the time, space, and facilitation to do what Parker Palmer calls “the work before the work.” Principals are invited to reflect on their lives and work through contemplative practices drawn from the Center for Courage & Renewal and the fields of mindfulness, social-emotional learning, neuroscience, poetry, and the arts. The program provides a lived experience of the process of building relational trust and offers strategies to help principals strengthen wellbeing in their adult school community. Read more about Soul of Leadership in this Education Week article.

As a result of participating in Soul of Leadership, principals develop:

• A stronger sense of purpose and integrity and the courage to live and lead authentically

• Expanded capacity to be fully present and listen in ways that affirm and heal

• Enhanced understanding, appreciation and respect for diversity based on a deeper awareness of identity.

• Greater capacity to build the relational trust that helps schools pursue their aspirations and goals and promote an equitable, anti-racist school community

• Mindfulness and compassion practices essential to well-being

• Increased awareness of how to balance school leadership work and personal life in a way that is sustainable

Over the past four years, MSAA, with ongoing grant support from the Angell Foundation, has provided this role-alike experience to over 120 school leaders from a diverse cross-section of districts across Massachusetts, including many who opt to continue in our active alumni network.

“If it is true that everything rises and falls on leadership, then the leader must be healthy and whole from the inside out. The Soul of Leadership program provides the school leader with a thoughtful, nourishing approach to the healing of mind, body and soul. Without attention to this dimension, successful school and personal transformation cannot be sustained.”

Ron Walker, Executive Director

Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color

Format: This year’s program will begin and end with full-day in-person retreats in October and May. Two additional half-day virtual retreats will be offered in January and March. Three virtual small group sessions in November, February and April provide the ongoing support of a smaller group and an opportunity to check in and keep the momentum of your experience moving forward.

Schedule for Cohort 5

Full Day In-Person Retreats: Wednesdays - 8:30-3:30, October 12 and May 24

Half Day Virtual Retreats: (2.5 hours) Wednesdays - 8:00-10:30 am, January 11 and March 15

Virtual Small Group Sessions: (75 minutes) Wednesdays - Choice of 7:30 am or 3:30 pm times

November 30, February 8 and April 26

MSAA FEE: $795 Members / $995 Non-Members 20 PDPs

To Register and Apply: Our deadline has been extended!

  1. Register Here by August 31, 2022. Now September 21, 2022.

a. For registration questions, contact Vickie Ellison at

2. Please email to a brief statement describing why you are interested in participating in this program at this time and your hopes for participation. Enrollment is limited to 30.


MSAA Leadership Licensure Program uses the Cohort model which truly make our program unique as our focus is on collaborative and reflective learning together. I am including the link to our Information Packet which will give you a deeper look at the program. Also worth highlighting is that it is a year long program and teachers can be licensed administrators at the end of the school year! Click here for the Information Packet.

Current Articles/Videos/Podcasts/Resources

I am very excited about this month's articles the first resource is from Learning for Justice. It is an excellent article on why Black Visibility Matters: The Inconvenient Truths of Bias and Erasure.

The next four articles are from a series of opinion pieces that were published in the New York Times. The NYT posed the question to twelve folks from writers, to educators, to economists "What is school for?" I chose four that resonated with me, Schools is for Learning How to Read, for hope, care and everyone. They are powerful reads! All of the links are below.

Massachusetts Partnership for Youth

See the link below, they have a new website and some great course, webinar offerings!

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Please join the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) for the 2022 National Summit on K-12 School Safety and Security on November 1-3, 2022. This three-day, virtual event will convene school safety experts, practitioners, and leaders from across the country to discuss current threats in school safety and explore research-informed strategies for addressing security challenges and risks in K-12 schools.

Registration is now open for the Summit and attendance is free of charge. Sessions are planned for all members of the K-12 community and will include keynote remarks, one-on-one interviews, and panel discussions on issues such as targeted violence, violence prevention, cybersecurity, emergency planning, and physical security. The event is designed to foster a nationwide dialogue on school safety, as well as equip school stakeholders and personnel with resources, training, and expertise to apply in their local school settings and communities.


ABOUT THE SUMMIT: The Summit is a free, virtual event that combines discussion, education, networking, and knowledge-sharing among federal, state, and local school safety stakeholders. Through the event, attendees will hear from government, private sector, and community leaders in the field, who will speak about current and critical school safety issues, threats, and solutions.

EVENT DETAILS: The Summit will be held virtually over the course of three days in November. Each day will consist of a two-hour session centered around the themes of violence prevention (Day 1); cybersecurity and online safety (Day 2); and physical security (Day 3). Additional event details include:

· Dates: November 1-3, 2022

· Time: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET each day

· Location: Held virtually via Microsoft Teams

· Registration: The Summit is open to all interested participants and there is no cost to attend. Registration is required. To register, please visit

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: The Summit is open to anyone with a passion for improving school safety. K-12 educators, administrators, principals, school-based law enforcement, mental health professionals, policymakers, cybersecurity experts, community liaisons, and other school safety and security professionals are especially encouraged to attend.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Additional details, including confirmed speakers and a final agenda, will be shared when available. To learn more about the Summit, please visit You can also download a one-page overview here. If you have any questions, please contact the CISA School Safety Task Force at

Horace Mann Student Loan Solutions

Closing Message from Bob Baldwin

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of ALL children. You are making a difference!

On a final note I am stepping back from penning MSAA Matters with my new role as the Leadership Licensure Coordinator. Please note that I am always available for you as is the entire MSAA staff.

Warm Regards,


Beth Wittcoff

MSAA LLP Coordinator

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Current Articles/Videos

Joint MSAA DESE Position Paper on Play







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Franklin Covey Leader in Me Program and Unconscious Bias Program

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