One of Envision Schools's four principles is about building relationships. Often, the difference between a student graduating and going to college and a student not finishing school or going on to college is the relationship that student has with just one adult at school who knows him or her well, believes in the student's ability to succeed, and will not let him or her fail.
Before she attended a summer leadership event sponsored by Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Allie, a sixteen-year-old from Pasadena, California, says she had heard both of these words: social and entrepreneur. "But," she adds, "I had never put them together before." Now, after taking part in the Girl Scouts Challenge and Change program, she feels inspired to become a social entrepreneur herself.
I first met Greg Tuke a decade ago when he was running a program called Powerful Schools. The nonprofit organization was working to strengthen schools serving some of the lowest-income and most culturally diverse neighborhoods in Seattle.
The theme for this first year of our arts@newman program could best be expressed with the statement "We live storied lives." Throughout the year, we have been exploring how the arts can help us both understand our stories more deeply and express those stories to others.
When teachers talk about how much they and their students gain by connecting with learners in other parts of the world, their enthusiasm is downright contagious. Yet for all the promise of learning across distances, these wonderful flat-world projects still seem to be the exception rather than the norm.
When Ashraf Ghani talks about world events, his words carry the weight of experience: After twenty-three years of exile from his native Afghanistan, he returned after the fall of the Taliban to serve as finance minister for the transitional government. A veteran of the World Bank and recently on the short list of finalists to head the United Nations, he continues working to rebuild societies torn asunder.
When Debbie Heimowitz talks about cyberbullying at school assemblies or presents training events for teachers, she speaks with authority. She knows the statistics. She understands the potential for real harm if bullies use the anonymity of technology to gang up on their victims.
I spent the weekend extending a stone wall I have been working on over the years. Now, before you get too impressed, please understand that my effort this weekend was only about 8 feet long and about 2 feet or so from the ground to the capstones.
My family and I were witnesses to a magnificent display of courage and fortitude last year as our Natalia Independent School District girls' and boys' basketball teams faced the teams from the nearby Lutheran school.
I am writing this at the end of the annual conference of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), in New Orleans, where 10,000 attendees chose from over 400 sessions. But the big news, as far as I am concerned, is that social and emotional learning (SEL) is alive and well, represented by presentations from all over the United States and internationally.