Inclusionary Practices to Achieve ALL with Historically Excluded Students in the AC-Stage of Education

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Dr. Renae Bryant is the Director of Plurilingual Services at Anaheim Union High School District. Her philosophy of education is it must be student centered. Student needs are the essential priority. Education must provide a secure, supportive, and safe environment for children to learn.

Dr. Michael Conner

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening and welcome to another episode of Voices for Excellence. I am your host, Dr. Michael Conner, CEO and founder of the Agile Evolutionary Group. But proud host of VFE. And today’s guest. Yes, she is one of the brilliant minds and, she’s waving hi, one of the brilliant minds in education. And this is just going to be a complete geek out session. A good, good, good friend whenever we get together is just a pure sessions. We start out saying, Hey, how are you doing? I was everything and then we just go right into education theory, education research. I mean, it’s just back and forth. And I am proud to have Dr. Renae Bryant. She is the Director of Plural Lingual Services for the Anaheim Union High School District in Anaheim, California, and also one of the proud host of, you will see her background, The Ed Branding podcast. It is a new podcast that just came out. Her as well as Miss Lynette White are the hosts. It’s such a divergent contrast. Albeit, it’s such an informational podcast for you from a professional learning standpoint and also just learning about branding. But I can go on and on and on about Dr. Renae Bryant. But Dr. Bryant, it is good to have you on VFE. Welcome.

Dr. Renae Bryant

Thank you so much, Dr. Conner, for having me here on your Voices for Excellence podcast series. It is a great honor to be here with you and I appreciate you having me early on this I’m gonna call it Tuesday morning California time. So thank you so much. So excited to be here.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely. Now to my audience out there, just to give you a context with Dr. Bryant. Right now, it is 10:11 a.m.. Okay, she is recording this at 7:11 a.m. California time. I tell you, that is a first for VFE to have some knowledge now at 7:00, just walking in. But you know what? I’m glad to have you on. It’s going to be a semi giggle session, right? We’re going to talk about the podcast, but also we’re going to talk about education. We’re going to talk about historically excluded student groups. But it’s just going to be fine. I’m my audience will get to hear the brilliance of Dr. Renae Bryant, but just go right into our first question. And I am completely interested in this because Dr. Bryant, I know, I know how you are. I know who you are. So I am looking forward to hearing your response to this. But when leaders. Right. Leaders across the country, when they listen to your podcast, what Miss Lynette White or education stakeholder was in the Anaheim Youth Union High School School district when they unwrap right your leadership signature of who you are as a director and excel as agent. Right? What are these change makers when they engage with you and when they see your publications that you have generated? And I tell you, you know, the stuff that you have generated, Dr. Bryant, is absolutely amazing and to the point, right. But what song would they say would buy you and your equity stance within the education ecosystem?

Dr. Renae Bryant

Well, I have to tell you, Dr. Conner, I think this is the most difficult question you asked me because I’m obsessed with music, as you can tell from our little free talk with Serena Reynolds and dropping some oh Serena on her. So, yes, I actually think I took the most time to really think about this because I always challenge the these scholars, the doctoral candidates in my doctoral course to have a walk on song. Right. And it’s that song that like like a baseball player walks onto the field, right, with their walk on song. And so, yeah, I really had to think about this. And I’m going to be honest, I couldn’t choose why. So here we go. Depending on the day this rap that all songs could be my equity songs, I definitely had to call out Nina Simone and a billion Good, because we have to in this walk that we’re doing for equity and excellence, we have to keep a positive attitude. So feeling good? Sam Cooke A change is going to come because we have to keep that positive attitude and then when it gets hard, definitely some public enemy by the power, some Bikini kill with a remarkable girl Songs I went to the Labyrinth with all for us because really we have to lead with love. And to do this work, we have to be filled with love. And then the walk on song that I always choose is either Bikini Kill, Rebel Girl or Celia Cruz videos Carnival and I love services. I hadn’t heard this song. I guess it was in one of those episodes with our coach and our soccer, you know, what is that show? I’m like, Gosh, I’m like, I’ve watched it forever, but nevertheless, super, super positive. A song called Sunday Based. And so that like, gives me totally hives. And then I was like, okay, I can leave Beyoncé out. So I called out bigger and I feel like really like getting a ciggie in the car. It’s going to be spent with Cupid. So I have like ten songs. But I think that really encapsulates how we feel a daily basis, right? We have all the feels from the love that we have to lead with to getting angry sometimes, but then having to back up and center ourselves and ground ourselves in a place of love again. So yeah, those are my 20 day awkwardness. Odds. Yeah, but probably no one would think everyone’s going to think of this other cruise because I always plans and probably bikini kill for those college students that I teach.

Dr. Michael Conner

Yeah. Dr. Bryant, that is awesome. And I can tell you this is a first for VFE where we had I counted 30678. Not many different songs. But you know what? I love that because each of those songs, they bring their independent theme to make this integrated or this conglomerate of a domain where we have to keep moving forward. Right. Despite pitfalls, despite barriers, despite, you know, whether it be systems or or or a bottleneck within the education model. We still have to continue to move forward. But I love the public enemy, fight the power. Right. And contrast we, you know, the love that we need to lead. But then also we got to fight the power for our kids from an equity and excellence standpoint. So, again, like I said, this was a first for VFE and small in one, but that overarching macro theme is so important it and Dr. Bryant that just kind of unwraps your expertise, right your intellectual property and this in this work and in this film because you’ve participated in many different high level and executive leadership programs across the country. Right. One that we share in common. Yes. The AASA Urban Supes Academy, extraordinary theory, extraordinary methods of implementation, extraordinary leadership. Just a leadership program, Right, that you and I both are proudly proud graduates of. But with the collection of leadership programs that you have graduated from in the recent years. Right. What are the major leadership themes you have learned and apply during these polarized, polarized times in the stage of education? Right. How can leaders, how can they successfully navigate these turbulent times with strategies that you learned from some of the most prestigious programs here in the United States?

Dr. Renae Bryant

Thank you for this question. And when when I read it, I was like, oh my God, it’s like I’ve been in some academy. Is that how I like to reflect? And, you know, I’m a really firm believer in this, the concept of learning organizations, right? And they have to be made up of people who are continuously learning at all levels. So kind of people think like once you have a doctorate, you know, people that don’t have a doctorate, maybe that’s the end of your learning, your don. You have, you know, reached the pinnacle. But really it is just the beginning. I think you would agree with me that you learn a lot from a doctorate. And one of the things you learn for certain is that how little you know right? Right. That what you don’t know that the dogs know, Right? So. So attending academies is the way of forcing myself to stay a student, right. To keep learning, expand my capacity of professional learning that work really for the benefit of my scholars, our fellow staff families and our community. So some major themes that I’ve learned of this. You know, number one, I think we learn every day, but it’s emphasized in all the academies and I think you would agree is are the three RS right and not the three R’s that maybe people think of, but the three R’s of relationships, relationships, relationships. Right. And then I think a second thing that’s been common through all the academies, which really is a reason why I want to speak to it, speak it out loud right now, is this idea of defining your core values and not just the words, but actually writing definitions of what they mean to you? And what does that look like in practice if you are actually practicing those core values on a daily basis and then really considering those to be your North Star, whichever way you look at it, right, the core of your being, and then this idea that if we want to make a larger difference systemically, we really need to be policy advocates. And so right now I’m at another academy and this is what I was recommended for. I didn’t actually apply as was recommended by a board member from another district. And it is the Asia Pacific University next generation superintendent’s academy put on by some of the guys from Leadership Associates. And so I was just attending this on Friday and they really over emphasize this idea of, you know, all of us, not just when you get to the superintendents level, but even the superintendent. He said, hey, I wish I really would have integrated myself earlier in this work. And that is the legislative work around education and really keeping up on policies and staying current, working with policy advocates and knowing what policies are up for vote and working with the groups to see this policy all the way through the pledge process. And I was really fortunate. This past spring, Californians together contacted me. They are a California based, obviously from the name El Elizabeth Z Group that actually works all throughout the nation and Intercontinental also. And they asked me to go and testify and brought the legislator for the state syllabi literally, and changing some of the requirements. And so it was kind of a softball, easy one, but I still was getting up at you know, 3:00 in the morning, getting to the airport, flying to Sacramento for one day and then flying home the same day. But it was amazing. And so I do highly recommend for people to get involved in policymaking. And then I think you would agree with this, this idea of keep working on your emotional intelligence daily. We all have quote unquote, triggers. Right? And we all have varying degrees of trauma in our background. None of us are free from that. And so I think it’s really important for all of us to work on our emotional intelligence. And that is a daily thing. And then with rapidly changing technology, we don’t only have our IQ, but just in that superintendent seminar on Friday, they talked about the AQ, right? The adaptability quotient and how we have to be open to changing quickly and being able to adapt. And then I would say practicing mindfulness, the pause principle and something the Harvard Business Review talked about in an article about adaptability quotient, and that is the deliberate calm, right? And that goes along with emotional intelligence and goes along with pausing. And so I know, you know, I just finished a Stanford at leaders program, so I thought I better mention that one. And so I highly recommend that the first professor I had actually the privilege of learning from was like the High Rebbe a.k.a Huggy Rao, right from Stanford Graduate School of Business. He’s the author of Market Rebels and Scaling Up Excellence Getting More Without Settling for Less. His class was extremely useful. I mean, it was right during the pandemic and he was taking us through how major corporations navigate huge change successfully and sometimes from point of failure going to success. And so we looked at a case study, the Blue Jack case study, and what I really got from that was something that was learning and other ways to watch this idea of liberty design, right? So we need to be going to those people who are most affected by the decisions that we are going to make to get their input. And so that case study was really great at how they JetBlue had a crisis, they failed. They were on cloud nine, then had crisis, and had to go back and actually asked everyone from the people who put the luggage in the plane, you know, to the stewardesses or flight attendants, to the pilots, every single person that they touched in the operations they got input from, and then how to navigate that. And, you know, from the early adopters to people who may be pushing back. And that was really, really useful because it was kind of like a floor relax, something that I think educators can learn from. So a Google Blue Jet case study and I learned read all about it. Read all about it, people. So yeah, I highly recommend the program as well as the AASA National Superintendent’s Academy programs like the Urban Supes Academy that both of us tended to use under the Howard. I attended the USC AXA here in California. We had the Association for California School Administrators, their academies, and obviously I just talked about the East Asia Pacific University Academy, but it’s a lot of academies. But you know, I do consider myself a like a lifelong learner and talking about the adaptability quotient, we have to keep learning if we are not learning, we are going to fall behind. And that’s going to hurt our scholars, our staff, our families and community. So keep learning people and modeling the ways for others to keep learning.

Dr. Michael Conner

Dr. Bryant, I could tell you this right, and to my audience now, you can see why I love Dr. Renae Bryant right? Is the ultimate, ultimate lifelong learner. When you talk about lifelong learning, when you talk about trying to be able to bring in different industry practices. Right. You heard the whole the liberatory design. That aspect is from the business science world where when they heard the case study she unwrapped in this very high level manner, if you think about that you can draw on the alignment or simulations to design thinking, right? That first step of design thinking is empathy. When you talk about laboratory design and put from that people at JetBlue very, very well known and well we’re now a case study, right. With regards to that unwrap that and I think that you touched upon a very, very critical point, and I apologize for looking down Dr. Bryant as I’m in notes from you learning organizations. Right. And I think that when we talk about this in education, we see the we we bring in the teaching, right, because we’re so operationalized to, say, teacher learning organizations. However, when we look at it, right, that continuous learning, that lifelong learning that you model on a consistent basis, Dr. Bryant is truly education entities, and the education model is a continuous aspect or this continuous domain of new learning. And that’s where we have to be able to challenge ourselves to. And I always say this nationally, we have the children serve ourselves to learn to re learn to learn, to unlearn, to relearn, right? I’m probably using those in interchangeable manner. However, we have to be able to have this continuous aspect of learning. And I really love how you brought in the eight you. Now that’s new for a lot of people, right? Because we always talk about AQ and BQ. Then there’s that element, BQ. I like to bring in behavior quotient and then now the I’m so glad you brought that in, which is so needed in the stage of education, which is the AQ is that adaptability quotient. I want to be able to expand on that for my audience, right? Because when we talk about scaling best practices, when we talk about looking at, you know, different nodes, I like to say within the educational organizational design for continuous learning and testing, we have to be able to acquire this level of adaptability within our practices and expect the uncertainty and expect the volatility with our designs that there’s not going to be or there’s a high degree or high chance that there won’t be a binary answer when we talk about AQ Right. What does that look like, Dr. Bryant, especially now if we really truly want to concretize equity within our learning organizations.

Dr. Renae Bryant

Yeah. So I think that just like the pandemic, you know, shone a light on inequities that already existed and showed a greater light for, you know, the necessity for emotional intelligence as people have heightened emotions around the pandemic. And now the board wars and culture wars, it’s really important that we think of those two things and that also the adaptability quotient. And it is looking at, one, are we going to be continuous learners? That really adaptability is about continuously learning and it is about stopping and pausing. It is about that deliberate calm that I mentioned before, and it is about, you know, being open, right? So how open are we to to the change? That’s really what is it is about. So and we know that most people that the fear of change just comes from like loss. Right. Those stages of loss. And so helping people to navigate that and grow their adaptability quotient, I think it was. Jerry Elmendorf is on the Ed Branding podcast. He is the Superintendent of Santa Anna Unified School District. He came on and talked about the hockey stick effect and how change is going to happen even more rapidly every ten years. And so I think that’s why this adaptability quotient, along with emotional intelligence, is so important right now, because we have to help our people. And maybe it’s not so much our scholars because our scholars are so used to it, but the staff around us and the families who are used to maybe slower progress, like if you think about the progress, because we’re around the same age, you know, the the changed from like a landline existed when we both were alive right to the cell phone that was a long change. But now, you know, I just saw this little meme of like everything from The Jetsons has come true. And it’s like that happened very rapidly. Right? So for those of you that are very young, The Jetsons were a cartoon that had like Zoom before Zoom existed and had all these like Skyping and all these things, you know, like they were so futuristic and they lived in houses in the sky and they flew airplanes as cars. And so, yeah, this idea that change is happening, happening rapidly and helping people to navigate that and to build. So just like our emotional intelligence can be built on a daily basis, our adaptability quotient can be also so where some people, their first instinct is to become rigid, maybe one change is going to happen or to push back. That idea of deliberate calm is to stop and pause and then pick in that emotional intelligence and kick in an attitude of openness from the universe. Right? Because we don’t know what we don’t know. And to come with a state of curiosity and humility towards the change. So in a nutshell, that is what I consider adaptability quotient to be and why it’s so important right now.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely. And Dr. Bryant, perfectly contextualized right about the adaptability quotient. I was thinking about, or just referencing your hockey stick analogy. Right, and tenacity of change. And when I think of that specifically around technology, when we look at how we’re integrating AI right, the Internet or the Internet of Things or I believe is that right? The Iot artificial intelligence automation, when we think about the variants, right, the variants that are incorporated into whether it be the IOC, a I when we talk about automation, how that is changing or going to change the landscape of education. Right. The emulation moving from a landline to the cell phone, we’re going to see that radicalization within the education model of how IATA, how a AI and machine learning automation and even one thread that we could tenuously not to add in big data and analytics right. How that how those are going to be the core drivers of what’s really going to change the future of education. Completely, completely right. The adaptability that continuation of learning and when you speak of that, listen, says don’t be upset if you get the leadership programs that you’ve been involved in. I’ve been involved in the same amount. I know when I went back to school, everybody’s like, you know, what do you what do you have to accomplish by going back to school? Oh, no, no, no. I want to learn about business analytics. I want to learn about, you know, how to be able to develop those models on the back end and what AI looks like, you know, from a standpoint of supervise algorithms to, you know, my course creations that I did when I was at MIT, M.I.T. and unwrap and, you know, business design and algorithmic thinking. I get it. Dr. Bryant. That continuous aspects of the learning truly, truly appreciate it. But now I want to get down to your education expertise because you are definitely a unicorn. Dr. Bryant You bring it in. You know, the businesses world bringing in practices from computer science. But I want to get down to your level of expertise with regards to education, because they need to hear this from you. Right. And you’re considered one of the national experts with regards to EAL education and services. But also what people don’t know is you are a coauthor as well. Yay! Right. For the book, radically inclusive teaching with new emergent plural legal students. You’re going to have to unwrap that because that’s a new word in context in education. Right? But what are the essentials before we even get into that? What are the essential themes and the key takeaways or the critical takeaways from the book that you coauthored?

Dr. Renae Bryant

Yeah, So thank you for that. And I’m going to go back to our last topic real fast and just say this since this I’m You are, you are. So your reach is international, right? And so you have a lot of listeners that maybe aren’t educators. So to just over clarify, education has a really hard time adapting. So I just want to say that the adaptability quotient is something that educational organizations, as learning organizations, will have to embrace very quickly or, as they say, go the way of the dinosaur. So I do want to say I’m really proud of Anaheim Union High School District, where I do work as a director of plural lingual services. I’m super proud of our Board of Trustees and our superintendent, Michael Matsuda. We already have an artificial intelligence pathway at one of our high schools. We have a board resolution supporting integrating artificial intelligence into all of the content areas, just like we do our integrated English language development standards, emotional intelligence, mindfulness. And so I think I, I do believe and not because I work here, but I really do believe the Anaheim Union High School District is a model for the nation, for the adaptability quotient. Our superintendent is always working with the business sector, with university sector, and really trying to figure out how he comes from a business background. He didn’t actually enter education and so like that was a second stage of life career for him. And he rose really fast from teacher, teacher, leader, coordinator to get this the superintendent. So he is also a political and civil right. So that’s our Sabah will put in a positive body language, right. So so yeah, we’re really lucky to have him leading us. We’re really lucky to have the board of trustees that trust the vision. And yeah, and I think little by little as we work with our educators, right, we did it. I conference two years ago and it kind of fell on deaf ears. I mean, the business sector loved it and our city loved it. And kind of the teachers were like, yeah, like why did we spend that money? And that’s okay because that’s from a place of, of that fear of change, right? That kind of like, I don’t really understand this. Yeah. And that’s on us, right? Because we maybe needed to build background and context more. But let me tell you one chat GPT, you hear everyone’s like, oh, Anaheim. Yeah. And you know, they rolled out it. I can’t friends and I’s important you know so kudos again to our superintendent, board of trustees and our leadership. So going now back to your question about our BA gosh super proud. The book is centered around the work that we’ve done in Anaheim Union High School District and CRE and really increasing access, equity and success for our newcomers. So those that are new to the United States, meaning they have been here less than one year, less than 12 months. An emergent plural lingual scholars in partnership with two professors from Cal State University, Fullerton, are the coauthors. They’re really the main authors. I’m a la Lifestyle author, but Dr. Allison Dover and a Doctor for America’s Vice. And so the they are the coauthors of the book and they were also the coauthors of the curriculum. And I got to talk about so the essential themes of the book of Radical Inclusive teaching are viewing newcomer scholars from an asset based lens and recognizing the funds of knowledge that these scholars come with the United States, seeing newcomer scholars as emergent moral lingual scholars who should be empowered to bring their whole selves, including all of their languages, into the classroom and honor that. You know, we in California had this proposition to do seven that existed from the late nineties until just a few years ago. So it was kind of repealed or turned over by the new proposition, Proposition 58, that California’s together that I mentioned earlier. And Gaby, the California Association for Bilingual Educators worked really hard to pass and that did away. So Prop 2 to 7 was an English only initiative, and it did a lot of damage in our state. So it reinforced this idea supplement that evidence. But and in glass you have supported the Vietnamese, whatever they are applying glass Now, this kind of thing that our you know, our parents, they were hit by rumors back in the day, believe it or not, you know, for speaking Spanish. They were told not to speak their language. And so this proposition really moved to a place of honoring language, increasing dual language immersion program, world language, heritage language, and seeing those as a assets that they truly are. But this is a work, right, because our parents were convinced that, no, no, no, the best way to learn English is to speak English only where we know that the researches that our scholars had, they’re there, their brains are malleable and flexible, and they learn two languages at once, and it makes them even smarter than we are. Right? So, yes, this book touches on that. And then it’s also based on some work done by our coeducation. So it’s really we worked with the professors back in 2015. There was some pushback. We had recent immigrants from the Middle East, and those advocates were saying, Hey, what are you doing for our scholars? They’re struggling, they’re sinking, and so we worked with these professors to author and plan out and design the summer language academy. And so it’s four weeks, four days a week. It has then it had to coeducation and it now has four coeducation because now we have Cal State Fullerton pre-Internet teachers, and then we have this. Okay, listen, everybody, we have our Anaheim Innovative mentoring experience, rising seniors that are interns in the program. We have bilingual seniors that want to be teachers in that program and the summer co teaching with these educators. And the classes are about 25 newcomers, each at the content, really. And the book focuses on that concept of seeing yourself, your identity. That’s an asset that you bring to the United States. And the languages that you bring are assets and then seeing the power in that place. So you come with power and you can make. So we actually integrate research because this is an even if no one gets anything else from this time with me, it’s this just because someone comes with a different language does not mean they don’t know the content. They just don’t know English. So if you went to Pakistan, you were content. You just don’t know Pashtu. Does that mean you’re you are ignorant? No, It just means that you need to learn that language, but you can learn content and language simultaneously. So we need to honor the fact these scholars, most of them, I would say 90% of them come with the content. And there are scholars with interrupted formal education and and there is work that we do to catch them up. But we need to honor those scholars that are coming with so much language from their home countries. So that’s what this is about. The book is all about that. It highlights our educators their work, it highlights our scholars. Our scholars work is published in the book. And then like my little chapter is about the systems work. So we have found that the professors have tried to recreate this and other districts and the missing element, they would say, Oh, it’s the Bryant element. And it’s like, No, it’s not the Bryant element. It’s just that people need to understand, they understand the pedagogy, but now they need to understand what systems you have to have in place from the district level to support these types of programs. So as a result, we now have Saturday Language Academy, so happy that one of our board members algebra is sense, you know, moved on to a different arena. But he said at the time like, that’s not enough. Renee the summer language academies like, hey, now what should we do? And so let’s do a salary language academy, okay, let’s do it right and then project, learn, learned something, a Spenser foundation, a group funded project. We are both Cal State Fullerton, where they gave us about $500,000 to build the capacity of many more teachers. So this idea of like train the trainers type of model and really integrating that system wide so we’re there going back and talking with them, their department, their meetings and really building the capacity of others. And so, yeah, this book, it serves to help educators build the capacity to better serve and empower our scholars, as well as empower district leaders to lead the work from a systems approach. That’s what the book’s about. Super proud of it. 

Dr. Michael Conner

Dr. Bryant And I can tell you this right with your book to my audience, please get it right. And the individuals or the researchers that Dr. Bryant worked with, those are I mean, those individuals are who who whose who essentially in education. But I love the approach, Dr. Bryant, of taking it from an asset base. Let’s write our current secretary right now, Dr. Miguel Cardona. I remember him saying bilingualism is a superpower. Right. But what change the word now, plural lingual is I mean, you can wrap up a as well, but the language that you bring. Right, That is if you think about the approach that you take that you took within the book, and then also what you’re underscoring in Anaheim, that’s equity and excellence and by definition, innovation with regards to the systems approach and the systems design and not just concentrating just linear on the pedagogical aspect of it. There are a lot of, I like to say, a lot of organizational misnomers in the context of design occurs because we have to think much broadly with the systems lens and look at, you know, you have to take into consideration the subsystems that exist within the architecture or within the structures of education. But for you to be able to create those programs, when we think about the Summer Language academy or the Saturday Language Academy, and then the project learn collaboration with Cal State Fullerton, unbelievable. That is innovation by design, that is bringing in this divergent divergent entities, traditional education vertical. I like to say business vertical, bringing that and bringing in programs alive with that, but really, really, really appreciate your whole systems approach. But now where we want to get into that systems approach specifically around to you and I, this might not be a new word, but within the education sector, yes, this is a new word. New word, plural. Lingual is right. Not really use much in context. Even in the East Coast I can speak about. But let’s go back to your role within the Anaheim. You’re Anaheim, Union High School School school District. Right. Director of Pro Lingual Services. Now, before we even get to see that. So unwrap that new word. Right? Because when we think about that new words specifically in context, specifically when we think about roles and responsibilities in practice, Right. We’re probably going to start seeing Plural lingual used in context throughout the country. What is that specifically bilingual.

Dr. Renae Bryant

Right. Yeah. So there’s a little history behind all this. So back in the day when I first started, our scholars that came with another language were were called limited English proficient students. Okay? And so that is a deficit mindset and how we title our scholars, right? And so then we moved to English language learner. We thought that was better, but not in California. We called it like the blue book, you know, like there was a CDC blue book that all the researchers like English language learner. And so we already language learner. And then someone said, okay, well, let’s let’s cut out the language part. Let’s make him a ESL English learner. That’s way better. And so we’re all like, Oh, do that. And so and that was still a classroom teacher at that point, right? So then kind of as the pendulum swinging and as we’re moving and focusing on equity and as I would say, Californians together is doing a lot of work nationally, we start looking at, okay, by literacy, like our let’s bilingual students are bilingual. Let’s honor the fact they come with another language. So that’s another chart, but that’s even more asset based, right? And then we say, okay, well, maybe some of them come with their indigenous language. They give them a Spanish to come with English or some English. Okay, they’re multilingual. So I was really proud. You know, I inherited a department called it was English learner and Multilingual Services, and I was like, Oh, you know, I came from a department that I named that the Office of Language Acquisition after Sandy Ries, San Diego Unified. And so I was working with the professors. They had just given me their kind of like the draft of their book and they’re like, okay, we want you to add this. I want you to, you know, read through. And so I kept seeing this term plural lingual. And so before that, I was so proud of myself. I’m like, I know what I’m going to do because I don’t have a deficit mindset. I’m going to remove English learner from the title of our department. We’re going to be multilingual services. I’ll be so cute because we like multilingual services. So I’m asked. And so So then I read their book and I see plural lingual, plural, legal, plural lingual. I call word a project. Learn the first year of it with ten pilot educators, a little seminar, and I call Fran over. Hey, is that I like I see that you’re using this term plural lingual. Johnny de la just got five of business cards made. Sure I go by doing change of the name of the department. Is he just nodding his head? Yes. I’m like, okay. And it’s decided to rip the Band-Aid off and just go for it. I was like, I told like, we’re supporting our work. I the name of the department, the plural leg. What’s our process? That’s it. Yeah. It’s not that. It’s I was like, okay, how do you say it? What does it mean? And so, you know, first like the bond article, pleura, lingual, pleural, lingual, plural lingual, right? So once you get used to saying it so that the meeting is really about honoring Tran’s language. Right. So multilingual is like I speak some Korean, I speak some Vietnamese, I speak a lot of Spanish and I speak a lot of English. So I’m multilingual and I silo those languages and that’s multilingualism. And then plural lingual is like the plural lingual ism that happens in that we don’t stay in one language. I know you know, Spanish. I’ve heard you go in and out of English and Spanish. In a conversation. I learned that as well. She’s a fluent Spanish speaker, a copy coauthor, a co podcaster. And so depending on the word is really what language you’re going to use, because people that are multilingual, plural, lingual, they know that a word in English and a word is Spanish, it doesn’t have a direct translation. So an example of that is ganas, right? So of your ganas, there is not a direct translation. It’s like words and words of words. And those are still capture what ganas is. Right. And so it’s important that we that we empower, not allow, we don’t say allowed because that means that we have that we are no, we are co-creating we are co educators with our scholars. We learn from them. So we are empowering them to bring their whole sales or whole identity all of their languages, and to go in and out of language and use language so equally because there’s going to be a hierarchy of language in our classrooms. And we know from the research that being able to access your primary language language will create transference in the new language, so you’ll actually learn more. Students are scholars will learn more if they are empowered to go in and out of language. So that is really what plural lingual Islam is all about, is empowering people, all people to go in and out of language and use language as appropriate as they see. And and so maybe in other states this isn’t such a big deal. But in California it is because, like I said, almost 20 years we suffered. I guess it was more than 20 years we suffered with the AIDS initiative with Prop 2 to 7, and that really, you know, the English only environment. So California’s together. They like to say that Proposition 58 that passed in 2016, well, we know something else had happened, that it was a miracle. And it’s also it was very popular because we know there is the gentrification of dual language immersion. We know that Trump’s grandchildren, they plural lingual and they speak Mandarin and English. So having the assets of another language we know creates greater opportunities and so it defies all party lines. And so Proposition 58 in California passed with a higher margin than we like to say the marijuana initiative. So kudos to the California voters who made sure that we can implement more dual language immersion programs without having to have parents sign waivers, waiving away the rights to English only instruction and things like that. So that was a lot. But that’s plural lingualism.

Dr. Michael Conner

Oh, you know, I great explanation, great definition, right? Because I think a one when we look at pro lingual ism, that is, I think the step up when I look at it from this equity stance, right. Of how we’re truly creating environments for. All right. The intentionality behind the work, right behind the responsibility of the delts, right behind the advocating when we think about moving Prop 2 to 7 and Prop 58 that was signed in 2016. But we’re also now rewarding the work with that. That’s just absolutely phenomenal. Right? So but I want to get we created level set because I want to you know, I wanted to ensure that there was a level set definition of what pro lingual ism is and what that means in context, right. But now I want to take you to the second part, since we got the level set definition already established. Right? So now with this level of pro lingual ism, the work that is embedded in it, right when we unpack the work specifically now moving towards this whole equity and excellence stance with regards to rolling Buddhism and the services that you provide now going back to your ground, that level of expertise around organizational design, right? How does this work in the context of a systems level design that as you stated from the last question, right, or your last response is moving beyond just pedagogical approaches or just pat this pedagogy outlook that is just sometimes but exacerbates opportunity and access gaps within our learning organization. So what does that look like now from a design perspective? And a design feature for outputs with a new business model?

Dr. Renae Bryant

Yeah, well, I’m really fortunate. As I mentioned before, you know, the Anaheim Union High School District Board of Trustees and our superintendent, Michael Matsuda, they have always prioritized equity, access and success for our plural and were scholars. It has always been I’ve been are superintendents been recognized for it. He actually was one of I think the second group of education week leaders to learn from or his work prioritize seeing the needs of what we used to call long term English learners. But now our plural lingual scholars who are on a longer journey. Right. And that’s okay. But yes, definitely recognize. So I’m lucky that when I came here was one of the reasons why I decided to come here. Summer Language Academy had just been started. I knew he supported the work. He recruited me, asked me to come here, and I knew that it was a priority and equity was a priority. So I’m lucky. That’s always been a priority in a systems viewpoint. So just so people have some context, we are a seventh through 12th grade district. We serve about 28,000 students to scholars across five different cities with five different elementary school districts feeding into us the attainment of the pathways to by literacy in eighth grade, and then the state seal a bi literacy which all states except South Dakota have adopted. And so all the states, the United States, the South called low pressure on you there, South Dakota. But yeah, the seal of the seal by literacy in 12th grade, it’s a priority and it’s called out within. What our superintendent has designed is called the Career Preparedness Systems Framework, CPS for Anaheim Union High School District. So when we talk about systems, not silos, that is actually one of our core values as well. It is actually named. We have nine core values and systems, not silos is one of those core values. So our leadership, they understand the importance of BI literacy. Try literacy. Laurel Literacy. We offer eight different world languages across 22 different campuses. We offer dual language immersion at seven campuses where we just implemented a new one this year at a junior high to full classes. That’s a testament. People crave this and it’s not enough. So another thing like another tidbit leave with especially East Coast people, we have a lot of dual language immersion programs being implemented and people are like that. So. Q For elementary ok6 door, they’re totally permission. They don’t need it in seventh grade. That’s a guy. Okay, No, and this is why just hear me out people because we don’t have our scholars stop taking English as seventh grade. We don’t. So they take it up for K six. So why don’t we just stop it while we don’t we don’t have them stop taking science or math or history. Well, language is the same way. We want our scholars to be grade level content level, job preparedness, vocabulary ready at grade level. So this dual language immersion really be a pretty K, so preschool all the way to 12th grade program. That’s a little commercial for dual language. If you need to know more, you just email me because it can be done. We’ve done it here. We implemented Vietnamese dual language immersion in 2019 without a feeder elementary coming to us. So one of the ways that we did this is by assessing scholars into the program. And that’s a thing, especially in New York, especially East Coast, you have plural lingual scholars everywhere. You have a lot of newcomers, and those are the scholars who can be stars in your dual language immersion program. So assess the men, give them access. A lot of old research. And I love Thomas and Collier. They are amazing researchers. And they would say, Oh, you can’t have a scholar enter dual language immersion beyond K1, but that’s that we’ve we’ve proven that that is not true. You can you just need to see the assets that they’re bringing if they’re coming new to the country. The other thing we have scholars that take Spanish catechism, Korean catechism, Vietnamese catechism. I’m sorry if you can understand the Bible in another language, you can do okay. And dual language immersion. So those scholars should be at are scholars that are and we can language and culture school and there’s a lot of those because when people came here and they couldn’t get access to their language in public schools, they created their own schools on the weekend so we can assess those scholars and bring them in. And it’s not a competition. It is adding value. So there’s a little commercial for that. So we actually will be also. So I want to give a little credit to the elementary school district, the biggest one that feeds into us. So they had some parent advocates, one doctor, Jose Mourinho, who is a professor at Cal State Long Beach who was on city council. His wife, Lorena miranda, who’s now a principal for us. But they were the flagship parents, the parents who advocated when prop 227 was still in effect, meaning English only was in effect. They went and they advocated, they got the signatures and they started dual language immersion at the elementary school. So we’ve had our secondary dual language immersion in Spanish for a decade. It’s award winning. It got the SEAL of excellence. We’ve gotten the California school Board Association, Golden Bell for our programs. We have we actually have this. We have a district from Boston come to visit us last year. We’ve had districts from Minnesota, like all over the nation come and visit because people kind of get this idea like it can’t be done, but it can be so in 2025 will implement another high school, dual language Spanish language immersion program. And then in 2026, we’re actually going to implement Korean dual language. And this has to do with our feeder elementary. So when our Feeder Elementary hired their new superintendent, Dr. Chris Downing, he is a graduate from USC. He was, you know, asked by the board, We would like you to implement dual language immersion in every single one of the sites. We feel that this is an equity issue. And so kudos to that board, made up of four of our Anaheim Unified School District teachers at the time. So that’s another little thing, like get your teachers to run for school board if you want things enacted, right? So yeah, so he did it. He had this great coordinator, Miguel Rodriguez, they enacted in one year. They opened a strand of dual language immersion in every single one of their sites. The next year they offer Korean dual language immersion the same year that we offered yet. So that’s why in a few years we’re going to have Korean dual language immersion, a real Korean dual language immersion and the definition I know I’m getting like in the weeds with my passionate plural lingual ism, but just so people know, you can just offer AP Spanish and say, I have a dual language immersion program. A secondary. No, you don’t like. You have to at least offer two courses in the target language. Two courses. So you offer AP Spanish. Okay, What’s your second course? Once you offer two courses, you’re good here. Anaheim for Junior High, we offer three courses in the target language, depending on the site, depending on the teacher credentialing. Right. Sometimes it’s history, science, and then the Spanish or Spanish speakers or some other content for a Vietnamese dual language immersion. You talk about me being a unicorn. We had a unicorn, Dr. Conner. We had a teacher who had a Vietnamese B cloud. She had a computer science credential and she had the CTE credential. So we created a pathway around her skills and it is a partnership with Amazon. It’s computer science embedded, and we are so proud of that. So going back, RO quick again, our core values are systems, not silos. We work really hard to make sure that we’re not siloed. Some of the system pieces other districts can learn from us is we have a district pluralism task force. We have site plural lingual task forces. So we cut, we have district recommendations and we meet with our sites twice a year. We also have a Newcomer task force, a dual language immersion task force leads We meet or times with all of our dual language immersion staff. We have LPL program chairs, PR, EOL counselors, Deal, site coordinators, and we consider that all of these teacher leaders, these site leaders, system leaders, they do have a seat at the table. So that is how we and again credit to some people that came before me too because some of these systems I inherited. So kudos to Cynthia Vasquez. PETTIT, who was the first director in this seat. And that’s how we go about having systems and not silos.

Dr. Michael Conner

I’ll tell you this, Dr. Bryant, you gave a practitioner’s simplified definition of creating organizational coherence, vertical alignment with systems where now historically, right, we always see in education when you just purely just do I like to say a business, a business scan or a business logic scan on your systems, right? You see that they are inherently siloed and very hard to move to this level of adaptability. I e a Q So that now your systems are, I like to say, cross functional and enter and interdependent by design, right? You created that archetype where now it challenges the traditional nodes of siloed systems where you have an archetype that’s featured with coherence and interdependency. Wow, wow, wow, wow. Dr. Bryant, yeah, I’m looking at it from a theoretical sense. I look at it from broad organizational design. I’m right here. Archetype okay, Public Education Leadership Project moving towards vertical alignment, coherence phase, process of design and implementation. 2 to 3 years out more were elite moving away from the siloed systems. We’re now using the I e all your multiple task force where now you’re looking at for a lingualism, right? And being intentional with the organizational design and that continuous learning. Dr. Bryant. Now everybody can see why I love talking to you right here, but now on a point, Quest said, and I’ll end I’m afraid I’m going to say I’m often the ADD branded podcast. Yes, this one that way. And yourself. Dr. Bryant, you are doing a fundamental phenomenal job with the launch of that. I’m telling you, the guest, that you add up there some future guests, previous guests. I listen in, I can tell you I listened in and I thank you for having me as one of your guests on the Ed Branding podcast. But for my audience, right. If I’m a newcomer who is trying to elevate my voice, right, because you guys do an amazing job with branding and I’m trying to elevate my voice for all. And if or if I’m an education stakeholder, even if I’m established in the field, I want to expand nationally because I want to be able to have this leverage or have this platform of impact. But for someone that doesn’t know, where do I start in how do I strengthen my own individual and even collective network effect for broader impact in education?

Dr. Renae Bryant

Okay. Yes. So I want I want to say that everyone agrees that your episode of the Ed Branding podcast was a masterclass. So congratulations. I know people were really excited and learned a lot from you, so we really do appreciate you lending your voice and expertise to podcast. And yeah, I mean, you’re doing it too, right? You have your podcast. So we’re in a place where people can become the media. So Noam Chomsky talked about this. He wrote a book about becoming the media. That was back in the nineties. That was when like everyone decided like, I’m going to start a scene, right? And so that’s even more so now. Like we know and for like, however you view this fortunately or unfortunately a little more of the death of print media and that might be good for our environment, right? And still all of this technology allows us to, you know, your now what would be like you’re a host, right? You have real like it’s like a little television show. Right. And so we have greater access. And so yeah, I think one, you know, starting podcast, being deep in the community, as you know, we have a book tentatively called Ed Branding Self Sight and Organization Amplifying Connections, Voices and Stories. It’ll be published in 2024 by New York Times bestselling author Dave Burgess on ABC Inc. And he really, when we interviewed him recently, gave some good advice. So people listen to that episode if you are interested in how to publish, but if you’re interested in how to grow your network, he gave some advice. Again, we’re going to include it in like little margins, right? Well, some of your quotes do, and that is if you want to strengthen your network for a broader impact, become an authentic and active part of the community you want to network with right now. So I see you doing that. The people who are really successful, they’re doing it, they’re in it. Their calendaring time, you know, they are commenting, liking, sharing what others are doing. And this idea of like if you want your voice elevated, even if it is for the benefit of your scholars, start elevating the voices of others. Some people, you know, we get into the starvation mindset like there’s only enough cheese for me now. There’s a lot of cheese, actually. There’s a whole mountain with governmental cheese, so forget it. Let it go and, you know, start sharing, you know, and And sometimes women could be the worst about this. You know, we are not each other’s competition. That is something created by the patriarchy. They sat around and they created that. So and we gave in to it. So we need to uplift each other. Uplift our brothers, and we need to just keep sharing and not hoard knowledge, not hoard information, uplift each other. And I think that’s another way that people can be seen as being authentic in the community, is celebrating other people. I think that this is hard, but we need a calendar that time is not like, you know, if it’s on your calendar, it doesn’t exist. So we have to calendar that time to add value to share of others. And so I was really glad that you asked this question because for for me, the book is also a political book because of we know we’re in the culture wars right now. There’s a group within the United States that is trying to erode the promise and the power of public education. Everyone believes that the power of public education is to strengthen our democracy, and we must. So everyone who believes out must do their part to spread the successful store. We have to counter this extreme narrative that’s created by those who seek to destroy public education and our democracy, because there are fascists in our country and they do want to destroy our democracy. So we cannot allow what I call a death by a thousand cuts. You know, we cannot allow that. We have to do our part to be sure the public understands how incredible necessary public schools are. So our but yes, it’s about branding at all and it’s about leadership. And it’s also to empower you to fight the power just by these people. Like, you know, this is where I get my Public Enemy song going because no, we’re not going to let the little power that the races have in our country that the fascists know. We’re to fight that power for sure. And we are going to win because, you know, I think about our history and there’s no way like we have got we have persevered. We we will not allow this to happen in our country. So, yes, our book is to empower people to identify, amplify their personal brand site, organization, brand. And it’s for the benefit of our scholars, staff, families, the community, as well as I think that our book is for the benefit of our public schools and our democracy. And out. Oh, I’m sorry. I just had to go there.

Dr. Michael Conner

Listen, that says you already know in our conversations, I you get me Abdo Right. And you get paid. You get me ready stand right beside you in this fight. Because like I said, the the intellectual property that you bring into the education ecosystem, coupled with your vitality, advocacy with regards to leverage and equity and excellence for all, how can they not stand next to you in this fight? The power we got do it. Absolutely. I love you to death says. But last question. Right? Last question. But going back to the past, the previous question, I love Alison. I love what you said. I love what you said. You know it. She said, everybody got the cheese. Everybody two hands up right now. Hoarded it. Everybody can have. So I love that about you, Renae. But last question. You made it through be pieces. There you go. Every day you made it to the right. Right. There it is. But last cast could what, three words? Only three. And yes, Dr. Connor is limiting Dr. Bryan to three words. But if you know, in previous episodes, nobody’s mentioned three words on this question, but I’m just going to stay how it is, right? What three words do you want today’s audience to leave our episode with regarding Achieve it? What we talked about the whole episode, the whole show excellence and equity with historically excluded students. As we continue in this trajectory to Delta 2030.

Dr. Renae Bryant

Okay, I’ll make this pass because it’s worth three words. So my first word is love. So U.S. Army General John H. Stafford is quoted in the Koozies and Posner’s seminal work, The Leadership Challenge. The secret to success is to stay in love, love the people, love the work, stay in love with achieving excellence in equity. So the first word is love. The second word is courage. Courage isn’t simply one of the values, but the form of every virtue. At the testing point. It’s a quote from our book. So first, we need love. Second, we need courage. We need courage to live by our core values. Core values are easy to live by when they’re convenient. There are points like when a local district kicked our state super Toni Thurman out of their board meeting that I filled, appalled, angry and heartbroken about attacks on public education. Then I remember the courage that it took to desegregate schools. We all know that we have de facto segregation and real segregation in parts of the South. And still it took courage to fight for civil rights. People with great courage lost their lives. So when I ground myself back in the history of courage, that education that I’m not appalled, angry, heartbroken, I feel resolute in my call to courageous, transformational leadership. My third word is significance. Seth Gordon’s new book, The song is Significance says Significance isn’t getting isn’t what we get. Significance is what we do for others. So keep living. And your purpose and significance keep doing this hard work. This work is based on love and courage to create greater excellence and equity for our historically excluded scholars. And I want to end with one of my favorite Martin Luther King quotes. Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed. So our scholars deserve love, courage, significance to demand. They need to demand. So we have to empower them to demand equity access and an opportunity to demand them, empower them to do the same.

Dr. Michael Conner

Amazing. Dr. Bryant contextualized that three words love, courage and significant love till you unwrap the core values, but the purpose of keep doing the hard work each and every day. Empower demand, Empower demand, right working in reciprocity with each other. But Dr. Bryant you last it you made it through the Hey, listen, if my audience want to get in contact with you, really expand on what plural lingualism is, how to integrate that into a successful design, but more importantly about your books and your book that’s coming out, the Ed Branding podcast, how would they be able to get in contact with you?

Dr. Renae Bryant

Yeah, they can message me on Twitter, follow me @Dr-R-E-N-A-E-B-R-Y-A-N-T. So Renae Bryant like Kobe, but you like different than the French spelling. And then same with Instagram, same with LinkedIn and Facebook, all those things. Happy to be a partner in this work with you just to connect with you. My word right My, my word, my brand is connection, and that’s based on love. So I love connecting with people and just to live in love with people. So yeah. And then Renae Bryant at Laverne Edu, but hopefully you can put that all in the show notes. So that’ll be that. And thank you. Dr. Michael Conner I know that we were over in time, so feel free to edit out anything I said. I will completely understand and just thank you for your time. I enjoyed having this conversation. I appreciate you and the work that you’re doing and I have your book right here. So here we go here and I’ll post my picture with I have to have an impact on my past. So yeah, thank you so much. And don’t leave because I want to take a screenshot, so don’t leave right away, I’ll tell you that.

Dr. Michael Conner

Thank you for your support and thank you for being a guest on VFE. I’ll tell you this right. My audience will learn a lot and we’ll learn a lot from you. Today I wrote down and you know how analytical I am. I wrote down 15 different education researchers and also in the business world that you listed. So to my audience, an asynchronous platform for direct instruction. Rewind this episode, please. Dr. Bryant, thank you so much. And on that note, onward and upward, everybody. Have a great evening.