Leading in Crisis: Flexibility and Adaptability Under Rapidly Changing Conditions in New York

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In this webinar, leaders of the district-university partnership of the Bronx County New York School District, Yonkers Public Schools, and the Fordham University Graduate School of Education share how they used an improvement mindset to inform their crisis response to the pandemic. The crisis leadership frame highlights how district leaders maintained flexibility and adaptability in the face of the rapidly changing conditions precipitated by COVID-19. In Yonkers, for example, the focus on problem rather than program helped deepen partnerships and establish new ones to ensure the reliable distribution of meals and paper-based educational supplies to their students. Similarly, leaders in the Bronx initiated a virtual “Thinkubator-challenge” to engage students in the design of curricula that would attend to their social and emotional needs.

This webinar also illustrates how improvement structures such as networked improvement communities can support vitality and stability during the crisis. For example, these NICs allow for structured improvement conversations and activities focused on key challenges such as remote learning, instructional programming, and school reopening plans.

In addition to showcasing the work of existing district leaders, the webinar highlights opportunities to strengthen the leadership pipeline. Faculty from Fordham University will discuss how the pandemic has increased community-based interest in leadership developing programming, with a particular focus on strengthening students’ experiences and outcomes.

  • Andrea Coddett, Assistant Superintendent, Yonkers Public Schools
  • Kris DeFilippis, Academic Response Team Director, NYC Department of Education
  • Margaret Terry Orr, Associate Professor in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy, Fordham University
  • Meisha Ross-Porter, Bronx Executive Superintendent, NYC Department of Education
  • Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy, Fordham University
  • Ash Vasudeva, Vice President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Improvement Science in the Time of COVID-19

This video is part of the Carnegie Foundation webinar series, Improvement Science in the Time of COVID-19, which explores how K–12 leaders and their partners have leveraged improvement-based thinking and practice to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, particularly those related to coherence, equity, and engagement.

Much thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting this webinar series.