Elena Aguilar

Blog Posts

Tags Education Trends
May 16, 2012

My former student, Brenda, graduated with a BA in psychology from Mills College, in Oakland, just a few days ago. Brenda was eight when I met her; she was a third grader in my class in an overcrowded, underfunded school in deep east Oakland. She was sweet and bright and we connected.

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Tags Education Trends
April 18, 2012

I work as a Transformational Leadership Coach in the Oakland Public Schools. I coach individuals, schools, and the educational system towards transformation. But what is transformation? Is it possible to coach to something I can't define? I know that what we have now is not working for the...

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Tags New-Teacher Support
April 5, 2012

Traditionally, instructional coaches have played a rather narrow role in schools, usually working primarily one-on-one with another teacher. This work is important and coaches can be instrumental in developing the skills of teachers. But, if the conditions are right, coaches can work in several...

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Tags Student Engagement
March 27, 2012

Think about a time when you were really engaged in something, the kind of engagement where you lose track of time and experience feelings of joy and satisfaction. You may have felt acutely focused, physically, mentally, and emotionally absorbed in a task. I've felt this most often while writing...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
March 16, 2012

Teachers and administrators all over are trying to figure out how to support English Learners (ELs). One of the schools that I work with, United for Success Academy (UFSA), in Oakland, CA, has launched a concerted effort in the last year to address the needs of their ELs who comprise some 90...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
February 28, 2012

I'm tired. There's too much going on outside of work, too much work inside of work. February is a much longer month this year. And there's another six weeks before spring break (mine is not a school district that has a February break). I'm reaching the tired that obliterates memory of...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
February 15, 2012

This one's for you, Alexandra.

I'm feeling compelled to add to the case for art in schools and make another plea that as budgets are slashed this spring, funding for the arts in schools is preserved.

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Tags Student Engagement
January 18, 2012

"My mom is a hero," Alfredo said, cutting me off one sentence into a picture book about Martin Luther King, Jr. His chubby second-grade body perpetually squirmed on the rug where my 32 students were seated. "She brought us here from El Salvador by herself. Me, my two sisters, and our baby...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
January 4, 2012

Setting goals, resolutions, or intentions might be on our minds this week. We've probably experienced that "resolutions" don't work -- we don't keep them for more than a week and they just end up making us feel bad about ourselves. So what does work?

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Tags Social and Emotional Learning
December 23, 2011

The responses to my post last week raised some interesting questions. I described how I offered my middle school students the letter-writing genre as a way to express their feelings. Many wrote to loved...

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Equity, transformation, social justice, leadership, coaching, listening, mindfulness.