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to the class of 2016: on the power of thought

When I think about the class of 2016… I think about Rene’s eye roll and sassy hip sway. I’m so sorry I missed your pole dancing performance. I think about Bianca’s powerful serve on the volleyball court and confident voice of leadership in class discussions. I think about how the only thing bigger than Chantel’s mouth is her heart. I think about how we stomped you in staff versus senior volleyball. I think about Rubby’s laugh and Nana’s immediate departures to the bathroom upon arriving to the class. I think about those of you I taught during 8th grade: Daniel, Read More

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sanctifying space for closure

May brings showers, raindrops of tears that roll down the cheeks as I say goodbye and best wishes to students who have melded into the tissue of my heart. And without the protection of umbrella or raincoat, I run directly into the impending storm clouds of emotions. I dance in the rain because I need closure. I dance in the rain because I know my students need closure. I work with students who are often dealing with trauma of some sort: poverty, abuse, violence, homelessness, illegal status, witness to crimes, gangs, addiction, broken homes and shattered dreams…weights pile atop their Read More

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on the path to rigor: demystifying differentiation

I have spent the majority of my career teaching advanced courses such as International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement to upperclassman. So after it had been decided that I was going to teach 9th grade in the 2015-2016 school year, my standard response and running joke was: Pray for my soul. It is now May, and I can honestly say not only has my soul survived teaching 9th grade this year…it has even thrived. This of course was not without struggle: I had to tighten my behavior management approaches and often went home discouraged. However, now that I have taught a Read More