Friday, March 6, 2015



I particular enjoyed Jensen’s thoughts on hope.  Hope is the belief that circumstances will get better.  It's not a wish for things to get better, it's the actual belief that things will get better, no matter how big or small.  In the education field, hope is imperative.  Our beliefs and assumptions about students shape outcomes.  We need to be telling kids why they’ll succeed.  Many students today see no viable future for themselves.  We need to help them believe in themselves.  Kids for all backgrounds need to hear this message. Our conversations need to shift from “if” to “when” as we talk about graduation, college, careers and futures. Our efforts can change that learned helplessness outlook.  Positive thoughts, learned optimism, goal setting and encouragement can go a long way towards instilling hope in all children.  Hope is an emotion that starts in the heart.  Every student should feel it.

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” -  Sydney J. Harris

Friday, January 30, 2015

Supporting The Whole Child

As a former psychology teacher, I’ve very familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  We simply cannot expect students to be successful in the school process when their basic needs are not being met.  It is vital that we continue to ask ourselves, how can we better address the social, emotional, and health-related challenges that our kids face every day?  Sure it gets tricky as we have little to no control over their home life; we can however control our resources and what gets built into our school day.  We can control the relationships we build at school. Students need one-on-one attention and guidance, and teachers are in opportune position to provide this support.  Let’s be honest, at the end of the day most students won’t remember how smart you were or how organized your room was, but they will remember you. They’ll remember your personal stories.  They’ll remember you took time to listen, your kindness, and your concern.   We must make efforts to ensure no child feels alone, worthless, or disenfranchised by school.

I think we have begun that process with our mentoring program.  The goal of the mentorship program is to build positive relationships with students and to provide necessary supports in the areas of academics, college and career readiness, social-emotional guidance, school transitions, character building, and community service projects.  The program is and will be driven by the needs and interest of the students.  Sessions are structured to provide high levels of interaction between students and their mentors, activities also allow for informal interaction opportunities. While in its infancy, I’ve heard many positive comments from students, parents and teachers.  We need to continue to make positive relationships a priority. After all, we are the difference in their lives.