Superintendent Swanson Calls for Equity in Speech to School Leaders
As Colorado Superintendent of the Year, Westminster Public Schools (WPS) Superintendent Dr. Pamela Swanson has a bigger megaphone than usual and she is making the most of it, calling on education leaders from across the state to focus on equity for students.
During opening comments at the annual gathering of the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), Swanson was asked to speak about what she viewed as the big issues facing public education. She reached back in time to make a point.
“As leaders in public education, we have to work tirelessly to find a way to ensure that the needs of all of our students are being met. It goes to the core of what the American education system is all about,” she told the gathering. She then quoted the words of President John Kennedy.
“Not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or equal motivation, but they should have the equal right to develop their talent and their ability and their motivation to make something of themselves.”
Swanson is working with superintendents from across the state to revise the current school finance formula to provide more money for “at-risk” students. Students who live in poverty and are second language learners are, as a group, significantly behind their peers and at a much higher risk for dropping out of schools.
Swanson is also an advocate for changes in how schools are rated telling members of CASE, “In our competency based system we are working to find that appropriate balance between achievement scores and the other things that matter.”
She cited the value of academic growth, social and emotional development, student/teacher relationships, trauma-informed practices, trust between schools and families, and a student’s willingness to give back to their community.
“These are all things that are tough to measure but are increasingly important components of a successful school,” she said.