Located in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, Newton North High School serves over 2,000 students with a rich array of elective and career and technical programs. The school's principal, Henry Turner, is a rising force in educational leadership, promoting not only the growth of the school's rich legacy, but serving the roughly 20% of low-income students while navigating a focus on equity and anti-racism.

This year, like most other leaders, he's also been challenged to do so amid a pandemic that forced schools to go remote and a national reckoning over systemic racism that led them to confront educational equity.

"At this point we, we view it as there's two crises going on," Turner told Education Dive. "There’s COVID, and then there's systemic racism and the civil rights movement that's emerging and how we're responding to it as a school."

Over the course of our conversation, he shared how he's helped students maintain equity in learning during pandemic disruptions, how to navigate racial and other issues as a school, and communicating incidents to the community.

HENRY TURNER: In March, when we were shut down, our focus was, “How do we make sure we're able to connect with all of our students?” And taking a thoughtful and slow approach to make sure with low-income students, or students who have a variety of different family language backgrounds, we were able to connect with them and were able to support them.

I call the distance learning crisis “phase one,” which is for the first few weeks. And then “phase two” was sort of like starting to ramp it up in a way where we were learning about how to do remote learning while at the same time not leaving any of our students behind.

Read the full discussion about prioritizing racial justice in remote learning with Henry Turner at Education Dive.