Moving forward

Portrait of Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams

My time here in the City School District of Albany has been filled with love, advocacy and purpose.

There are many great things happening in our school district. 

Two initiatives on which we have made great progress over the past five years are our district-wide commitment to equity and our practice of empowering students to use their voices for social justice.

In 2018 – two years before a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd, sparking worldwide outrage and further galvanizing the Black Lives Matter movement – we began the challenging work of creating an Equity in Education Policy.

Scholars, faculty, staff, families and community partners worked together to craft a policy establishing a framework for the district to implement equitable, anti-racist, research-based educational practices designed to eliminate obstacles to opportunity and access. 

The Board of Education adopted our district’s first equity policy in 2019.

We have backed the policy’s words with action, working tirelessly over the past 3½ years to provide all administrators, teachers and support staff with the tools that manifest equity in action in their everyday work with students. 

We created a diverse committee to identify equity gaps and provide feedback on areas that need improvement, and equity teams composed of community members, employees and scholars at each school.

This school year, we are in the process of developing the metrics that will map our progress toward our equity goals, and the criteria to hold us accountable to that critically important work.

This IS equity in action.

The process of including our scholars in equity discussions was intentional and strategic.

Inasmuch as we educate our scholars, we can learn from them as well. 

We learn from them by listening. Truly listening to what our scholars say and considering their opinions on matters that directly affect them in the world they will inherit is an important part of what we do, how we live and what we believe, particularly when it comes to social justice concerns.

As we listen, we encourage our scholars to be conversant in issues that affect their lives, ranging from weighty social issues like equity, diversity, global warming and anti-racism to more immediate issues like school culture, school lunches and school safety.

When we embrace student voice, we empower our scholars to reach beyond those systemic, historical barriers that too often have limited and divided us. We equip our scholars with the critical-thinking skills that enable them to become advocates for themselves, their peers, their school, their community and their future.

It has been an honor to work alongside our families, faculty, staff, administrators and board members toward a shared vision of a school district with caring relationships and learning experiences that provide equitable opportunities for all scholars to reach their potential.

As we move forward, I truly believe the district is on the path to achieving our vision and accomplishing our mission. Our protocols and procedures are systemic and serve as the foundation for supporting the delivery of quality instruction and the social-emotional well-being of our scholars.

In addition, I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate to have worked with community partners, too numerous to list, that have supported our mission to engage every learner in education that provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary for success.

I thank all of you for entrusting me to serve our city’s children, their families and the Albany community. 

My final day as superintendent will be Jan. 6. Moving forward, I am excited to take on the challenge of being executive director for research and policy at the Conference of Big 5 School Districts. This will allow me to continue advocating for our scholars, families and community. 

I will forever be “All in for Albany!”

Yours in education,

Yours in education,

Kaweeda G. Adams