Superintendent feted for social justice work

The National Urban Alliance for Effective Education gave Aldo Sicoli, superintendent of Robbinsdale Area Schools, the Leadership Award for Promoting Equity and Social Justice this week in Minneapolis during its Summer Academy.

The award honors superintendents who have focused on equity and social justice through education. Sicoli is the third superintendent to receive the award since 2005.

The alliance promotes student-focused advocacy and organizational guidance to accelerate student achievement for all students.

“Dr. Sicoli is a tireless leader for diversity and recognizes the importance of student learning in diverse schools and classrooms,” said alliance President Eric Cooper. “He focuses on the strength of students’ experiences and skills, rather than limiting student potential through remediation of weaknesses in learning and achievement.”

Sicoli has sought to embrace the large demographic shifts in the district, which has gone from 63.9 percent white in 2004 to presently 47.3 percent white, 30.3 percent black and 12.6 percent Hispanic.

The group also cited the increase in the number of students taking the ACT under Sicoli’s leadership. In 2007, participation was about 39 percent. That jumped to 89 percent in 2013, which places it above statewide and national averages, even as it has shifted being a majority-minority district.