Superintendents Meet with Ed. Sec. Betsy DeVos

large county consortium devos meeting

 July 25, 2017

Superintendents and other school district leaders from across the country who are members of the Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium recently met with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The June 29-30 meeting in Washington, D.C., was part of one of the Consortium’s three annual meetings.

“I thought we had a very good meeting,” said J. Alvin Wilbanks, chief executive officer and superintendent of Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools. “We wanted to let her know who we (the Consortium) were and that we wanted to be part of the solution. We believe that message resonated with her. I believe we made some significant inroads.”

During the 30-minute meeting, a key topic focused on equity, one of the most critical issues in education today. “It centered around the understanding that equity does not mean equal,” said Burke Royster, superintendent, Greenville County (S.C.) Schools.

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“We introduced her to the Consortium and our work around equity, performance-based assessments and professional learning communities that we’re currently engaged in,” added Tony Sanders, chief executive officers, School District U-46, Elgin, Ill.

AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and EducationCounsel provide policy, advocacy and organizational support to the Consortium and its members. The Consortium is an invitational network of large, diverse, innovative, and leading suburban and countywide school districts dedicated to dramatically improving public education through collaboration, leadership, and advocacy.

“(The Consortium) is of great importance to us because it provides an opportunity to come together with other school districts of similar size and populations that face many of the same challenges that we do,” said Royster.

“Being part of a large Consortium like this gives us, as leaders in our organizations, the opportunity to share best practices, talk about our problems of practice and unpack those together. To hear what other districts are doing is such a valuable use of time,” said Verletta White, interim superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools.

Together, the nearly 20 consortium districts, which serve more than 1.8 million students, reflect the highly diverse makeup of communities across America. Of particular interest is the fact that these districts have had significant success raising achievement and closing gaps among subgroups of students.

Consortium members will next convene in Gwinnett County, Georgia later this year.

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