Guest Blog: Jillian Juman

I would say that the work of ELP, the nationwide commitment to lifting up our young people by embracing their strengths and identity as part of the work is a huge reason why I became an Envisioner. I am excited by the opportunity to have a greater impact on the student experience and increasing access to communities through partnership.

From a professional standpoint, I was the Principal of the first International Baccalaureate French dual language public school in the country. I have seen how a graduate le arner profile empowers a community of diverse learners and how performance assessments make room for self-discovery. The work of Envision is aligned to my values as an educator and leader.

To be deeply understood and valued for who we really are is a basic human need. It is also unmistakably a privilege. It is a privilege because not everyone can trust that their whole selves will be tolerated in all spaces. It is a cultural loss.  The impact is a ripple effect; we stop bringing the best of ourselves into spaces where difference is not well received. It is a missed opportunity to learn from one another and to consider the solutions created from divergent ways of thinking.

Growing up, I watched my black father from the south navigate different spaces. He fought his way through college with no plan and no support. Fumbling through life, he hid who he was to survive. He hid his childhood, the poverty, the abuse, the foster care, and the pain that lingers when mental health goes untreated and leads to starvation and death.  He was a brilliant man and I am not sure how many people knew that.  He was a shadow.

I think a lot about what it means to be a black woman, an educator, a leader, a good sister and daughter. I think about what experiences our young people and families deserve to ensure that they are both seen and heard. I think about what it means to be a disrupter of cultural norms and practices that have historically oppressed groups of people who have not experienced being deeply understood and cared for.

As the incoming CEO of Envision Education, I have a deep sense of pride in the work of Envision Learning Partners (ELP) and the number of students who are impacted by thoughtful collaboration with smart educators across the country.  ELP is about establishing learning opportunities for young people to be deeply understood and appreciated for how they learn and share with the world. The development and execution of performance assessments is equity based learning because it requires expansion of knowledge and exploration with people who carry different perspectives and experiences. It provides opportunities for young people to be seen, heard, and celebrated. It empowers independent thought and dismantles practice where authenticity is for some not all.

I believe in our collective work as educators and the power of unity. Together we can move students from the shadows and into the light where all students can and will thrive.

Get to know Jillian more in the June ELP Lounge, RSVP here.

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