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redefinED atlanta Announces Emily Castillo Leon as its New Senior Director of Schools

redefinED atlanta Announces Emily Castillo Leon as its New Senior Director of SchoolsredefinED atlanta, a nonprofit that engages communities, advocates for equity, and funds critical work to drive systemic level improvement in K-12 public education for students and families is pleased to announce that Emily Castillo Leon has joined the staff. 

“Our staff is committed to working with parents, educators, community leaders and philanthropists to ensure students have opportunity, well-being and self-determination,” said Ed Chang, executive director, redefinED atlanta. “Emily’s background as a school leader will help propel redefinED atlanta’s vision to transform Atlanta into a place where every student in every community receives a great K-12 public education.”

Emily Castillo León was the Founder and Head of School of Ethos Classical. As the Founder and Head of School, she led Ethos from concept inception to execution, with Ethos now serving over 450 scholars in southwest Atlanta.  She has a proven track record of transformative academic outcomes for scholars in district and charter schools. As the founding assistant principal of KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School, she led the humanities team to the highest scores in KIPP network history on the NWEA MAP Reading Assessment and scholars demonstrating growth in the 99th percentile on the Tennessee English I End of Course Exam.

Emily began her career in education as a high school English teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina. As Lead English II Teacher, she led her scholars, and her team to a 92% overall pass rate on the state writing assessment, positioning her school as the third-highest achieving of 21 high schools in the district. Emily has also served as Manager and then Director of Teacher Leadership Development with Teach For America where she modeled best practices with managers and teachers and led a cohort of first-year English teachers to “significantly exceed growth” on Common Core-aligned state assessments. Before founding Ethos, she was a fellow with the highly selective Building Excellent Schools Fellowship. Emily received a bachelor’s degree in English and communications from Wake Forest University.

In her new role, Emily will support the execution of redefinED atlanta’s school growth strategy. This position will play a vital role in the start-up of new schools, and school expansion and provide resources and guidance to school and district leaders and governance entities. As the senior director of schools, she will foster collaboration and accountability and stand with the community to hold the bar for quality and excellence.

About redefinED atlanta:

Every student in Atlanta needs access to a great K-12 public education. Together with parents, educators, community leaders, and philanthropists, redefinED atlanta is transforming Atlanta into a place where every student in every community has opportunity, well-being and self-determination. For more information, please visit www.redefinEDatlanta.org.

redefinED Atlanta Is Investing Up to $150,000 in Grant Funds To Support Schools’ Family and Community Engagement Efforts

redefinED atlanta, a nonprofit that engages communities, advocates for equity, and funds critical work to drive systemic level improvement in K-12 public education for students and families, announced today it is investing up to $150,000 to launch the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) grant. This fund will support schools in being able to establish, build, and strengthen their family and community engagement efforts throughout the 2022-2023 school year.

“The best school leaders and teachers understand their students’ and communities’ unique needs. They work best when given the trust, freedom, flexibility, resources and support to serve those needs,” said Ed Chang, executive director, redefinED atlanta. “ Active parent and community engagement are essential to establish levers of support for every student.”

Who is Eligible?

  • Any Atlanta-based Title 1 school is eligible to apply for funding.  
  • Eligible schools can apply for up to $15,000 in funding.

How it Works:

  • The application window will open on June 15, 2022, and remain open through July 15, 2022. 
  • This is not a rolling application. 
  • redefinED atlanta will review all applications after July 15, 2022, with interviews taking place through the first week of August, and we will notify schools of their grant status by Aug. 12, 2022.
  • redefinED atlanta will provide technical support for schools that are awarded funding. This technical support will include planning to support engagement efforts beyond the 2022-2023 school year. 

 

“Unlike our previous event-based microgrants, we are investing these funds to support engagement strategies across the entire ’22-’23 school year. We know it will take our entire community to support the needs of children in public schools,” said Adah Pittman-DeLancey, vice president of impact & external relations, redefinED atlanta.  “Ideally, the efforts launched in the coming school year will ignite our broader community to help identify when, where and how they can be in service to schools–especially with pandemic’s impact on children’s learning.”

redefinED atlanta believes parent and community engagement is one factor that will help advance our mission of every child in every community receiving a great K-12 public education.

About redefinED atlanta:

Every student in Atlanta needs access to a great K-12 public education. Together with parents, educators, community leaders, and philanthropists, redefinED atlanta is transforming Atlanta into a place where every student in every community has: opportunity, well-being and self-determination. For more information, please visit www.redefinEDatlanta.org.

June 2022 Newsletter

The best school leaders and teachers understand their students’ and communities’ unique needs. They work best when given the trust, freedom, flexibility, and support to serve those needs. Active parent and community engagement are essential to establish levers of support for every student.

To aid schools in serving all students, we are launching our Family and Community Engagement Grant (FACE). We believe parent and community engagement is one factor that will help advance our mission of every child in every community receiving a great K-12 public education.

Click the link to read the full June newsletter and learn more about the FACE grant!

Reimagining and Redesigning Education Through School Autonomy

Last month we focused on the pressing need for more school autonomy in public schools–or as we like to call it, freedom and flexibility. We understand communities have different needs. Covid uncovered and amplified existing inequities and forced schools to rethink the delivery system for children in weeks and months instead of years. It also showcased the need to reinvent and reimagine how we think about schools and how they can meet the specific needs of their students and community. 

As a part of the campaign, we sat down with Emily Castillo Leon, founder and head of Ethos Classical, to share how Ethos’ school leaders have exercised freedom and flexibility to rise to the challenges of a pandemic and endemic world.

More than ever, we feel that increasing schools’ autonomy and flexibility will enable schools to develop and implement approaches to teaching and learning that better build on our strengths and address the needs of students than if policymakers or others outside schools made those decisions.

Every child is different, and we get to see where they soar and when they need support firsthand because teachers and school leaders are in schools and classrooms with them nearly half of every calendar year. School leaders and educators can best do their work when they can adjust and tailor learning to students’ needs in real-time or adjust the next day’s lesson based on what happens in a school day. 

Statistics have shown an increase in freedom and flexibility in the most-needed high-risk school systems can enable schools to develop and implement approaches to teaching and learning that better build on their strengths and address the needs of their students than if policymakers or others outside schools made those decisions.

School empowerment can show up by allowing a school leader to adjust a school’s schedule, make changes to the staff, allocate their entire budget and select curricula that provides every student in their school excellent public education. 

Giving school leaders room to redesign their neighborhood school in partnership with their community or even allowing for new schools to open in response to students’ needs is a way to ensure every child can attend the school that’s a right fit for their unique needs. 

Like our children, schools are different too, which calls for our school leaders to be able to employ teacher autonomy to support and help design the best programs that meet the needs of all children, regardless of their zip code.

Collectively, the support and trust from our community, civic leaders and educational collaborators are needed more than ever so that we can have the freedom and flexibility to create solutions and make the best decisions based on the needs of our students. We can only achieve this mission by working together.

redefinED recognizes that to ensure every student in every community has opportunity, well-being, and self-determination, there must be resources for organizations to work and thrive. Watch the video to learn more about school freedom and flexibility!