While working as a Broad Resident, Babatunde Ilori served as Director of Equity and Access with Fresno Unified School District.
I wake up to find my two-year-old daughter at the foot of my bed. I get breakfast ready for her and hear my 11-month-old son waking up. I head back upstairs to change his diaper. I try to get in my father duties while I am home since my wife is with the kids throughout the day while I am at work.
I work with the assistant to make sure everything is ready for the cabinet meeting. We have a packed agenda that includes reviewing a preschool expansion plan that would potentially double our capacity to serve students between the ages of three and four. I make phone calls to ensure presenters are ready to go with their material for the cabinet meeting.
We begin the cabinet meeting by going through our purchasing and hiring exceptions processes. We discuss items which need to be reviewed before being approved for expenditures. We also discuss our extended learning program and the need to ensure that quality instruction is happening throughout the summer. It is a lively meeting. Our school district is unique; we have an associate superintendent at the cabinet level whose sole focus is to ensure we have equity and access for all students throughout the district.
We have an impromptu working lunch with most of the cabinet to identify ways to implement the preschool expansion with high quality and speed. We bring in the director of early learning to answer questions and ask the director to come back to the cabinet with recommendations to address potential implementation issues that have been brought to light.
I attend the coat drive fundraising event at the school district and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate with colleagues from work.
I catch up on a few emails and prepare for a meeting regarding a proposal from one of our assistant superintendents who oversees a region of principals.
I join the superintendent for a meeting with the assistant superintendent and principals overseeing the high schools and junior high schools in the region. The assistant superintendent presents a career pathway program starting in middle school.
The superintendent likes the idea and asked that the team research other school districts across the country to see if we can learn from existing models.
I attend a meeting to discuss restorative justice with a few community-based organizations. They would like to partner with us to implement restorative justice across the district.
I review my calendar for the next day and create to-dos to execute when I am home and the kids are asleep.
I attend a Parent University graduation where over 250 parents graduated. I enjoy seeing a few principals and parents I know along with the staff of Parent University.
I get home and read my daughter a few bedtime stories before putting her down to sleep. My wife is already putting our son to bed.
I respond to emails while watching a movie and my wife studies for her certification to be a labor and delivery instructor.
I complete to-dos in preparation for tomorrow and get ready for bed.
My daughter comes in the bedroom and tells my wife and me how she waited until the clock turned green to come in our room. In an effort to get more sleep, my wife and I got her a clock which changes color when it’s time to get up.
I quickly get ready for work and grab a granola bar for breakfast. I need to get to the office at 7:30 a.m. to make sure the team is set for a meeting with an external auditing agency.
I meet with my assistant to go over the information we have prepared for the meeting. I uncover a few minor issues, and we make the appropriate corrections before the meeting with our internal team.
I lead a meeting with our internal audit team to ensure that all the questions set to us by the auditors have been answered and addressed. We discuss the gaps identified within our internal processes and ways we can improve going forward.
I respond to a few emails and rehearse the presentation I will be leading with the external auditing agency.
Our team meets with the external auditing agency. We realize that people from other departments need to be included as interviewees since the audit scope was much broader than we initially thought. I quickly send emails to the respective people to get a sense of their availability.
I eat lunch with colleagues and discuss the agenda for an upcoming principals meeting. I am excited to attend the meeting and introduce myself to more principals across the district.
I drive to the principals meeting and make a quick call to my wife to see how she is doing with the kids today. She has a much more difficult job than I do, and I am reminded of this during my check-in calls.
I attend the principals meeting and introduce myself to principals I have not yet met. The principals are excited to get more details on the rollout of new standards for teaching and learning and they seem energized at the conclusion.
I drive to an awards dinner where a fellow Broad Residency alumnus is being recognized for his outstanding work by the Association of California School Administrators.
I attend the ACSA dinner and congratulate my colleague on his award before leaving for home.
I get home and eat a quick dinner before heading upstairs to help my wife with the kids. Tonight is a bath night, which the kids always love. I read a bedtime story to my son and put him down for the night.
My wife and I talk to each other about how our days went. I check email and my schedule for the next day before we watch some TV and call it a night.
This is my first journal entry in my new role as director of equity and access.
I get up early to get ready for a summer-school preparation meeting at one of our high schools.
I arrive for the meeting about 15 minutes early. We are piloting a course for students we have identified as “at risk,” based on academic, attendance and behavior data points. I confirm that all the logistics, such as presentation materials, printouts, etc., work for the meeting.
I meet with the principal, counselors and teachers at the high school to discuss the concept for the new pilot program. The principal has concerns that the students will not show up to this course because it is not mandatory and is being held in the summer. We strategize ways to increase attendance through an aggressive marketing plan which includes a trip for the students to Fresno State University.
I drive to the department of prevention & intervention to meet with the leader of our mentorship programs.
During our meeting, we discuss ways we can support the progress of the mentorship programs across the district, specifically the men’s and women’s alliance programs. These are leadership courses targeting at-risk students. We discuss what indicators we should measure to determine program success. A major indicator being considered is recidivism rates of students who have completed one year of the program. We also discuss the idea of creating an alliance alumni program or club to serve as a support group.
I drive to the district office to meet with our executive director of fiscal services. I need to determine if there is room in the budget to upgrade a newly created position within our department of prevention and intervention.
The executive director of fiscal services informs me that we will be $30,000 over budget. However, since the local control funding formula has been passed by the California legislature, we will receive significantly more funds. A new budget will be proposed to the school board in August.
I quickly grab a sandwich and eat in our cafeteria before heading to my next meeting.
I meet with two other people in the equity and access team to discuss a powerful new tool, the Early Identification and Intervention System. We discuss ways to enhance the tool by adding monitoring and tracking technology.
I meet with our entire equity and access team to discuss project updates and next steps. We are in an exciting time and will be focusing our work in two areas: college and career readiness and prevention and intervention. The summer months will be critical as we prepare to restructure both departments for the new school year.
I respond to a few emails and return some calls prior to leaving the office. I have to get home early to take care of our two kids because my wife teaches healthy pregnancy classes on Tuesdays.
I help take care of the kids and put them down for bed.
I assist my wife in teaching the healthy pregnancy course.
I watch some TV with my wife before calling it a night.
I wake up and read a few Bible passages to keep up with my New Year’s resolution goal of reading the entire Bible in one year.
I eat breakfast and help my wife get the kids ready for the day. I have been assigned the fun task of taking my daughter to preschool, and I drop her off just in time for circle time.
I make a few calls to colleagues on my way to the office. I want to make sure people remember that I will have my mentee shadowing me for part of the day.
I get to the office and immediately respond to an email request for a large data clean-up project I was asked to manage. I want to take care of these emails right away because I would like to devote my undivided attention to my mentee while he is with me.
I briefly meet with team members regarding a joint project to develop an integrated business process to refer students for social-emotional services. We discuss setting up a working meeting with future department leads to create an initial draft of the districtwide process.
My mentee comes to my office, and I give him a tour and introduce him to people. My mentee is a 10th-grade student at one of our comprehensive high schools, and he is very interested in technology. I made an impromptu call to our chief technology officer to see if he could meet my mentee before lunch.
My mentee and I meet with the chief technology officer. He gives us a guided tour of the technology department and introduces my mentee to a few programmers and technicians. My mentee is blown away by all of the “cool stuff” the department gets to work with.
My mentee and I meet with the executive officer over accountability, who is a Broad Residency alumnus. He reviews data points on the schools my mentee has attended in the district and asks my mentee how he would improve the school he attends. This gives my mentee a taste of what it is like to work within the accountability department.
For my mentee, I set up a career planning session with a colleague who is a trained counselor. He goes over his academic and career plans with the counselor.
My mentee and I eat lunch and talk about his thoughts about the day. He comments how time has flown and how he has enjoyed the day. We take a picture outside and I say goodbye to him.
I participate in a meeting to review dashboard metrics which will be presented during the next cabinet meeting. We have had difficulty creating a sense of urgency around them, so we are trying to prioritize the right metrics for the cabinet to review weekly.
We have our review meetings with the executive directors of the department of prevention & intervention and the department of college & career readiness. We discuss ways to move priority projects more quickly to completion.
I stay in the meeting room with a few colleagues to discuss other urgent projects. We come up with a good idea for organizing our upcoming meeting on the inter-department business process.
I take time to respond to email requests and plan my schedule for the next day.
I call my wife to see if she needs me to stop and buy some take-out. Because my wife teaches pregnancy health classes at our house on Tuesdays, it is always a busy day for her.
I help prepare dinner and get the kids ready for bed. My wife continues teaching the class downstairs while I make sure the kids are asleep. I later join the class around 8:00 p.m.
My wife concludes the class and we wave goodbye to the students as they leave. My wife and I talk about our day and head up to bed exhausted.