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.
I met an interesting guidance counselor in a rural K-8 school the other day. I was at the school to advocate for the effective use of technology to support teaching and learning across the curriculum, and I was sharing with her my feeling that guidance folks need to be connected to the technology-driven realities of the kids in their schools.
"The truth about stories is, that's all we are." The words of Canadian writer Thomas King have been rattling around in my brain since I first heard them nearly two years ago. Most of us have grown up with some tradition of storytelling in our families, whether it was a nightly ritual when we went to bed or in conversations around the kitchen table after a Sunday meal.
Both in school and after school, teachers, administrators, and staff feel as if they are working harder and harder without seeing proportional results. Frustration is mounting, especially in low-performing districts, over fleeting academic gains despite the ever-increasing efforts teachers make to improve test scores.
This is part one of a two-part guest posting from my colleague, Kyle Hartung, who has worked in small schools for ten years as a classroom teacher and instructional leader in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. As part of the Leadership and Instructional Team at Envision Schools, he coaches and facilitates professional development among school leaders and teachers.