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The Counter Narrative Podcast Season 2, Episode 7: Interview with Carly Spina

The Counter Narrative Podcast Season 2, Episode 7: Interview with Carly Spina

Charles Williams | @_cwconsulting
December 14,  2020

Welcome to the Counter Narrative Podcast, a show designed to change the way we talk, and think, about education. By sharing stories of successes and triumphs, we aim to challenge the dominant narrative that often negatively portrays our disenfranchised populations.

I’m your host, Charles Williams. An educator for 15 years, a current school principal, and an educational consultant.

In this episode, I chat with Carly Spina, an educator with 15 years of experience in Multilingual Education, including her service as an EL teacher, a third-grade bilingual classroom teacher, and a district-wide EL/Bilingual/Dual Language Instructional Coach. She is currently serving 8 schools (EC-8) in a linguistically rich community of over 60 languages and over 800 active EL students. Spina has engaged in the successful co-creation of several parent outreach programs, Title I tutoring programs for students in grades 3-5, mentoring programs for middle school students, co-teaching initiatives, and more. She is deeply passionate about equity and advocacy for multilingual learners and fights for access and inclusive opportunities for kids and families. Spina actively fights against food insecurity in the community she serves. She has spoken at various national conferences and events and has received several awards over the years, including the Illinois Education Association Reg Weaver Human & Civil Rights Award in 2015 and the Distinguished Service Award for Excellence in the Team Category for EL Community Engagement in 2019. She was the WIDA Featured Educator in April 2019 and was named a Paul Harris Fellow in July of 2019. Spina is an active member of the EL/Bilingual community on social media and enjoys networking and growing with teachers and leaders across the country.  She is currently working on her first book with EduMatch Publishing.

During our chat, we talked about the need for us to change the systems in which we operate. She shared her experiences working with parents of linguistically diverse students and the importance of amplifying their voices, not speaking on their behalf. Spina also examined the varied definitions of parental involvement as they shift due to cultural differences. Maybe this is a reflection of perspective and not attitude. We also discussed methods of engaging the community, beyond simply checking off tasks, and instead embedding into our everyday practices. She encourages educators to embrace their statuses as change agents and recognize that there are no small wins. In fact, incremental gains lead to monumental success.

I hope that you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed recording it.

Be sure to follow Carly on Twitter @MrsSpinasClass and check out her district at #Glenview34.

Charles Williams has served in urban education for 15 years as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal while working with students in grades PK - 12. He has developed innovative programs and structures that have resulted in successful schools in both Indiana and Illinois. He has also presented and spoken at numerous events. Charles is the founder of CW Consulting, an Educational Consulting Group, the host of the Counter Narrative Podcast, and the host of Real Educators Talk, a monthly discussion designed to engage educators in authentic conversations around education.


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