The Great Equalizer: Six Strategies to Make Public Education Work in America delves into the bleak reality of leading a district with a school poised for state takeover and a district with growing inequalities and increasing student needs. Learn how collaboration allowed that same district to become a 1:1 school system when K-12 schools were still dealing with technology roadblocks. Discover how public schools can garner philanthropy and foundation support to lead their districts down the road of excellence. Chapter hooks, key takeaways, and guided discussion questions provide a glimpse into the realities of leading public education systems across our nation. By implementing six strategies for success, public education can be innovative and make a difference for all students. Together we can ensure that America’s public education system remains the great equalizer.
Mark D. Benigni, Ed.D. is the award-winning superintendent of the Meriden Public Schools, the school system from which he graduated and his own children attend. Dr. Benigni is recognized as a transformative leader who is leading his district to its highest achievement scores through collaboration and innovation. Barbara A. Haeffner, the assistant superintendent of teaching and innovation, is known for leading digital transformation and creating student-centered learning environments where student voice and choice truly matter. Lois B. Lehman, the coordinator of grants and special programs and a curriculum expert, garners philanthropy and foundation support to create equitable learning environments that challenge and personalize learning for all students.
Chapter 1: Build Partnerships with all Stakeholders
Chapter 2: Leverage Technology for Learning
Chapter 3: Embrace the Whole Child and Advance Equity
Chapter 4: Support Those Who Need Us Most
Chapter 5: Challenge All Learners
Chapter 6: Celebrate Success
About the Authors
Want challenging, inspiring, and supportive schools? Read The Great Equalizer: Six Strategies to Make Public Education Work in America to learn how it was done in Meriden, Connecticut. This beautiful, inspiring, and practical book packed with key takeaways and guiding questions illustrates the importance of laying the foundation for innovation with stakeholder partnerships and celebrating progress on a dashboard of success. Learn how to embrace whole child design principles in a tech-enabled learning environment where all students are challenged and supported.
Today’s modern learners deserve an experience that is relevant for the world in which they live and will work. Shifting paradigms and systems is not easy. It requires bold decision-making, visionary leadership, and resilience to get the work done. Yet, it is possible. There is no better way to make the necessary shifts happen than to learn from those leading the work, and this book highlights what’s happening in Meriden Public Schools, one of the best district turnaround stories in the country. The Great Equalizer provides an evidence-based, experientially grounded framework for educational leaders to effectively reimagine what’s possible while developing a course of action to make it happen. No matter where you find the state of your system today, this book will force reflection while guiding you in leading the work to new heights
The voices of practitioners are all too often left out of the conversation about what we need to do to transform our schools and systems. But if we want to serve all students better in our public schools, we need to understand the stories and perspectives of the leaders who have actually done the work. Mark D. Benigni, Barbara A. Haeffner, and Lois B. Lehman offer solid guidance based on their real experiences successfully improving adult practice and student outcomes. The six strategies they recommend can be applied in any system and will lead to better learning for all students.
The Great Equalizer: Six Strategies to Make Public Education Work in America is an important resource for leaders to reiterate that indeed, public education in America remains the great equalizer for our students and families. The six strategies all center around embracing, teaching, and nurturing the Whole Child. Now, more than ever before, educators need to be reminded of the importance of engaging the community to reach and support every learner.
Under Mark D. Benigni’s leadership, Meriden Public Schools has been a national lighthouse for exemplary school system leadership and has been honored for its innovation with technology. It is impressive how they work as a team with their community to build equitable digital learning environments while embracing social-emotional wellbeing and ensuring student-centered learning. Learn these impressive lessons for all school leaders and those who want a better education for our children.
One great lesson learned during the recent past is that “leadership matters!”. Effective collaboration is the secret sauce behind the success of most leadership endeavors. Connecticut’s Meriden Public Schools district leaders, who authored this book, exemplify the epitome of collaborative leadership on a daily basis. Readers of The Great Equalizer: Six Strategies to Make Public Education Work in America will come away with winning strategies and immediate and long-term action steps to ensure that their schools are truly meeting the current and future needs of all their students.
The Great Equalizer is an essential book at a critical time. With intelligent analysis and compelling storytelling, the authors have taken us inside the work of Meriden Public Schools. It is time that policymakers, researchers, and practitioners all know about Meriden’s focused, innovative, and sustained improvement efforts. Theirs is the story of what matters most: doing whatever is possible to ensure that each and every child experiences educational success.
Of all the districts we have worked with, Meriden Public Schools operates administratively with enthusiasm. There is no resting on their laurels there, but a tone of constant innovation. Their digital transition supports students with heightened humanity—a real trick to pull off in schools that takes a changed mindset. Therefore, superintendent Benigni and his superb staff were awarded the Learning Counsel News Media & Research’s high honor of “EduJedi Knighthood,” one of only four districts nationwide to make it to that level in 2020. As an author myself, I am pleased to endorse their book The Great Equalizer: Six Strategies to Make Public Education Work in America.
We are in the midst of a STEM workforce shortage. Countries around the world are gearing up to fill these jobs from where they sit. Dr. Benigni and his team are doing the work that prepares students to thrive, not just survive, in the rest of the 21st century. The Great Equalizer: Six Strategies to Make Public Education Work in America is a blueprint for the post-pandemic development of our young people to compete globally.
Having worked for many years with the leadership at Meriden schools, I have seen how their consistency, high standards, and understanding of their students and community pay off for every student. I highly recommend The Great Equalizer for every school district.