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Relay Graduate School of Education

4 Keys to Recovery and Beyond — and What They Look Like in Practice.

“This is my opportunity to really shift our focus towards developing our teachers and our content, and developing myself and our students.”

- TS Hoard, Principal, Excellence Boys Charter Middle School (EBCS-MA), Brooklyn, NY

As we plan for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have an unprecedented opportunity to create the kind of schools our students truly deserve — schools that fully honor their intellects and identities, make the most of their time, and that genuinely keep students on track towards future success. …


Featured Leaders:
Laura Garza, Elementary School Executive Director, Dallas ISD
Aaron Aguirre-Castillo, Network Coordinator, Dallas ISD

“You can’t say that you’re waiting because of the pandemic, right? We’ve been waiting and look where it’s gotten us. And so why not now?”

— Laura Garza

“It has to be talked about. We have to make time for it.”

— Aaron Aguirre-Castillo

The Pointed Problem: Making Sure All Students Feel Valued

Laura Garza says a crystalizing moment last spring came during a virtual end-of-the-year awards ceremony. …


Featured Leader: TS Hoard, Principal, Excellence Boys Charter Middle School (EBCS-MA), Brooklyn, NY

“I have to do the work and take part in the struggle with them.”

— TS Hoard

The Pointed Problem: Increasing Student Engagement and Depth of Learning

In planning for a new school year, TS Hoard had a vision for teaching and learning that was in many ways substantially different from what his school had emphasized up to that point. They were already outperforming the city as a whole, but he knew they could do even better at cultivating the intellects of the young men of color…


Featured Leader: TS Hoard, Principal, Excellence Boys Charter Middle School (EBCS-MA), Brooklyn, NY

The Pointed Problem: Bringing to Life a New Vision for Teaching and Learning

As he planned for a year he knew would be unlike any other, TS Hoard seized on the moment to re-imagine how his school served its students. The 2020–21 school year wouldn’t just be about doing online what they’d done in person, but a chance to build a stronger school culture — built on trust, relationships, and deep intellectual engagement. …


Featured Leader: TS Hoard, Principal, Excellence Boys Charter Middle School (EBCS-MA), Brooklyn, NY

“When they leave our building, what are they going to say about us?”

— TS Hoard

The Pointed Problem: Revisiting Mission When Everything’s in Flux

As the country wrestled with the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, Principal TS Hoard found himself deeply engaged in self-examination. As a Black male leading a school whose students are all young Black and brown men, he asked himself how the school could do even better at truly empowering and caring for all of its students.

Amid so much turbulence…


Featured Leader:
Jeanine Zitta, Network Superintendent, St. Louis Public Schools

I could visit nine schools, which would take me all week, and deliver the same message, or I could spend 90 minutes really crafting a well-written, succinct message and have it all happen the next day.

— Jeanine Zitta

The Pointed Problem: Providing More Guidance with Less Face Time

Jeanine Zitta has always treated the leaders she supports as a team — if not a family. Rather than use only 1:1 coaching to build their skills, she’s sought every opportunity to bring them together at each other’s schools to…


Featured Leader: Dr. Brandi Chin, Founding School Director, DSST Middle School at Noel Campus, Denver

“Our kids deserve nothing less than a world-class education. That’s deeply tied to our mission and our commitment to equity. And now even more… we can’t let up on that.”

— Dr. Brandi Chin

The Pointed Problem: Increasing Rigor Amid Myriad New Challenges

When the pandemic turned life upside down at her school, Dr. Brandi Chin refused to lower the bar for academics. Yes, she faced a host of new health and technology concerns. Yes, students had significant social-emotional needs. And she would strive to…


Featured Leader: Dr. Brandi Chin, Founding School Director, DSST Middle School at Noel Campus, Denver

“It’s not rigor for rigor’s sake. It’s not about test prep. It’s about engaging kids in critical thinking, so they can access positions of power in our society, and make changes in our country.”

— Dr. Brandi Chin

The Pointed Problem: Developing Adult and Student Capacities for Deeper Learning

Dr. Brandi Chin had set an ambitious but essential goal for the 2020–21 school year: to increase the rigor of teaching and learning at her school, despite all the complexities brought on by the pandemic. …


Featured Leader: Dr. Brandi Chin, Founding School Director, DSST Middle School at Noel Campus, Denver

“To me, it’s unacceptable to put anything in front of kids that’s low rigor — that’s injustice.”

— Dr. Brandi Chin

The Pointed Problem: Ensuring that Rigor is Happening for Every Student

Dr. Brand Chin was adamant that her school continue to raise learning expectations during the pandemic, even with all the new challenges. …


Featured Leader:
Jeanine Zitta
, Network Superintendent, St. Louis Public Schools

I saw teachers engage with virtual and in-person learners alike as they try to find a new balance between the two. Today was even better than I had imagined. Thank you to all of my strong, steadfast leaders who made today possible.

— Jeanine Zitta, writing in ZEN, her network newsletter, October 19, 2020, as her schools transitioned to hybrid learning.

The Pointed Problem: Engaging All Students Amid Increased Complexity

Jeanine Zitta knew her schools faced a daunting challenge as they looked to move from remote-only to hybrid instruction. She…

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