Lile presents the state address of the district

Wendy Alexander / The Madera Tribune

Todd Lile speaks during the District State Address on October 19 at Matilda Torres High School.

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

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

Through it all, Lile and the District remain positive to move forward, as noted in the District State Address on October 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 anguish,” 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 have struggled to consistently meet our own expectations,” said Lile. “This is even truer today as we assess the severity 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 on Education and Economy to initiate its executive development program based on best practices studied in top performing school systems around the world. .

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

Lile also explained that the students’ perspective has to change.

“The traditional view of our students as full of deficits is still lurking prominently in our culture,” he said. “Like a bad habit, it always makes us think we’re doing pretty well. This view has become comfortable and practical. When we don’t recognize it and face it, we sometimes mistakenly believe that we have a good relationship with our teachers and students. Their comfort equals our convenient existence.

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

“Every teacher and school in the world was forced to adapt, but Madera’s staff had new intellectual tools and most leaders could see new results in the future,” said Lile. “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 healthcare staff have been placed to support our students like never before, just when we need it most,” said Lile.

He also highlighted the partnerships with the Camarena health centers and the Madera County Public Health Department to take care of the school community. The MUSD was one of the first districts to offer staff vaccinations and tests, tracing and community clinics established themselves as a model of state.

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

Lile also said that 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 essential,” he said. “Stories remind us that student behaviors do not come from a hard-wired brain, but from an emotional being who needs to be seen and understood. Hearing these personal stories reminds us that students want to see how to successfully integrate into our school and into their own future lives.

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

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

Going forward, Lile hopes the new classroom will help all children, regardless of race.

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

However, as class expectations have risen, Lile says teachers’ expectations have also risen.

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

“One size has never been suitable for all students and it has never been suitable for all educators either. Inspired students come from inspired and energetic adults. Conditions are improving. The phoenix rises.

Although the district has faced many obstacles over the past year, Lile said the future looks bright and sees a positive future.

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

Daniel E. Murphy