Lile presents district state address

Wendy Alexander / The Madera Tribune

Todd Lile speaks during the State of the District Address Oct. 19 at Matilda Torres High School.

After one of the toughest years imaginable, Madera Unified School District Superintendent Todd Lile is confident his district has solved many problems and looks to a positive future.

In early 2020, Lile and her team had to figure out how to educate the district’s many students through a global pandemic. Then the issues of Black Lives Matter and changing the way students are taught had to be addressed.

Through it all, Lile and the district remain positive moving forward, as outlined in the district’s state address Oct. 19 at Matilda Torres High School.

“As of Friday, March 13, 2020, our students and staff have been trapped in a maze of guidance documents, policies, mandates, technologies, tears and anxieties,” Lile said in her speech.

Lile said to use this setback as a moment to seize the opportunity.

“Everyone realizes that over the years we’ve struggled to consistently meet our own expectations,” Lile said. “This is all the more true today as we assess the seriousness of our students’ learning loss. We must take advantage of this moment to get up.

Lile explained that in the fall of 2017, the district began a relationship with the National Center for Education and Economics to engage their leadership development program based on best practices studied in high-performing school systems. of the whole world.

“This intense work has opened our minds to new possibilities,” he said.

Lile also explained that the perspective of students needs to change.

“The traditional view of our students as full of deficits still lurks in plain sight in our culture,” he said. “Like a bad habit, it always makes us imagine that we are doing quite well. This view has become comfortable and practical. When we don’t acknowledge it and confront it, we sometimes deceive ourselves into believing that we have good relationships with our teachers and students. Their comfort equals our convenient existence.

In spring 2020, nearly 80 site and district managers engaged in deep learning. The District Systems Design Partnership has remained a school system built over this decade to meet the modern needs of students and the community.

“Every teacher and every school in the world was forced to adapt, but Madera staff had new intellectual tools and most leaders phew could see new future results,” Lile said. “We challenged ourselves to set ourselves higher standards, even in times of crisis.”

Lile also addressed the mental health needs of students.

“Our behavioral health clinicians, psychologists and health staff have been positioned to support our students like never before, just when we need them most,” Lile said.

He also highlighted partnerships with Camarena Health Centers and the Madera County Public Health Department to care for the school community. MUSD was one of the first districts to offer vaccinations and testing to staff, tracing and community clinics remained a state model.

“The past year has taught us the value of focusing on the needs of others,” he said. “We listened, learned and adapted a lot by collaborating with adults.”

Lile also said this time in the pandemic has shown how valuable the bond between a student and a teacher is and emphasizes that going forward.

“Class-level connections are key,” he said. “The stories remind us that students’ behaviors do not come from a hard-wired brain, but from an emotional being that needs to be seen and understood. Hearing these personal stories reminds us that students want to see how to successfully fit into our school and in their own future lives.

Lile pointed out that last year the average age of onset for depression was 14.5. He hopes that getting students to interact with teachers will help.

“We have more engaged students than at any time in the district’s history,” he said. “We can resist the pressures that cause depression and anxiety with intentionality and leadership.”

In the future, Lile hopes the new classroom will help all children, regardless of race.

“We are actively working to add materials, resources and experiences into our education that reflect their family heritage,” he said.

However, as classroom expectations have increased, Lile says teacher expectations have also increased.

“Higher expectations in our classrooms begin with higher expectations of our instructional leaders and a greater emphasis on the value of our teacher leaders,” he said. “While COVID may have derailed our best efforts in the early weeks, we are now leveling off to a new, more manageable normal. It’s up to us to be in classrooms, to visit professional learning communities, to sponsor project-based learning, to find authentic phenomena and dilemmas to study, and to align our graduate profile. It is up to us to collaborate with our teacher leaders to keep our strategic action plans alive and provide the resources they need. We must commit to building a sense of trust and shared responsibility for quality lessons, solid first instruction, adequate classroom support, and multiple opportunities to learn and demonstrate mastery.

“One size has never been right for all students, nor has it ever been right for all educators. Inspired students come from inspired, energized adults. Conditions are improving. The phoenix rises.

Although the district has faced many hurdles over the past year, Lile said the future looks bright and envisions a positive aftermath.

“In yesterday’s student champions, I see reason to believe in tomorrow,” he said. “And I see the phoenix light rising.”

Daniel E. Murphy