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Posted by on in Leadership

 immigrant child

DACA Dreamers!

Si, se puede. Yes we can!

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Until recently, perhaps we were not as aware of this program as we should or could have been.

Part of my career I taught school administration in the Bilingual Cohort at California State University, Sacramento. I was Keynote Speaker and trainer many times for Migrant Education, Mini Corps. I worked in bilingual classrooms under Title Seven Grants in Sacramento and on the border, in San Ysidro, Ca. I was also privileged to be lead teacher several summers for residence Bilingual Institutes, at California State University.

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Posted by on in Leadership

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One of the nastiest words in education is “transfer.” The impact of the word in education circles can be felt all the way to the core of any school. Since transfers are often punitive, sometimes rewarding, and barely non-judgmental, people become freaked-out when transfers start happening in order to prepare for the next school year.

Transfers often start being thrown around at Christmas time, when administrators begin putting together their wish lists for the next year. The best way I can put it is that it’s like playing Monopoly. “I’ll give you Mr. X if you take Ms. Y & Mrs. Z.” I know; it sounds awful, but it’s often this way in districts. I previously blogged about what or how to do it in one-building districts so that you’re getting what your kids need in order to be successful. 

The biggest fear associated with transfers is dealing with the person who is not volunteering to do it. That person is often afraid of embarrassment, exposure, or being cast as ineffective. After seeing how your buildings and disctrict operates along with identifing your school / district strengths and pitfalls, sometimes you need a powerhouse in an academic or grade level area that needs help. It’s also totally worth taking those who are in need of some help that identify themselves as wanting assistance to become more effective in their craft. Then you have those who are completely useless. They are proud of it, defiant, paranoid, and angry, fully aware that they can’t be touched because of tenure. Let’s be honest here; this is a rarity. In my entire career, I have come across only two people in that spot (one in an educational position, one not) who were only sticking around to “defy the man” and to prove a point.

Transfers also rile up board members in some districts, regardless of your district size. Some even have policies set in place allowing for direct oversight (more about that in my book coming out this summer). Those being transferred who are not asking are the first to go to a board member and stoke the fire. While most board members understand that the superintendent makes recommendations and the board votes yes or no, other board members break ethics codes and “tag team” to create a beautiful, political, theatrical stage set consisting of tears, yelling, and dramatic votes. I’ve had it both ways as a superintendent, but I’ll share with you one instance where long-range planning truly paid off. 

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Posted by on in Leadership

hero woman red cape blue sky

A teacherpreneur? What's that?

Ok...this is actually a term that has been growing over the past few years, so you may have heard of it. If you haven't, a "teacherpreneur" is an educator who uses their talents and business savvy to share their work, passion, and philosophy with others. (You can read more about them here)

This could be something as simple as becoming an educational blogger, consulting, speaking at conferences, writing a book or even creating a website (like this one!). This can also include taking on more leadership in your own district. I've been a teacherpreneur full-time for a few years now, and there are some amazing benefits that I want to share. 

1. It Increases Your Impact.

As a teacher myself, something I always hated was the limit that a single classroom had on what I was doing. I'm not trying to downplay the impact you can have as a teacher on 30 or 100 kids a year (depending on your grade level), BUT...no matter how good you are as an educator, you are limited by the number of kids in your seats.

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Posted by on in Leadership

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I attended a vigil on Sunday night to honor. A vigil marred by two tragedies - the hatred and violence occurring in Charlottesville, and a triple shooting that resulted in the death of a 25-year-old young man in Cumberland County. The turnout, the raw passion of the stories shared, and our community response on that night was humbling and inspiring. It is an event that I will remember. I hope that it helps to serve as a turning point in our area and for our community. There is a lot of work to do in the fight against racism, hatred, and injustice, but I believe that we are ready for the fight.

Fight. Now that’s a funny word. Fight may have a violent connotation. Some would like to refrain from using it. Some feel that it conflicts with peace and love. I wholeheartedly disagree.

Merriam-Webster, in defining the word “fight,” lists seven explanations. Only 2 of the seven definitions listed are violent. The majority of definitions revolve around putting forth a determined effort, struggling, enduring.Those interpretations describe struggles we face today, those for equality, equity, and justice.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi - they fought. Inspired by Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance in the Salt March, Dr. King utilized the same nonviolent tactics to fight during the Civil Rights Movement. They both looked violence in the face, and they fought. They did not respond violence with violence; they approached it with truth, conviction, and passion. We need to do the same today, and we should expect the same from our elected leaders.

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Posted by on in Leadership

HOw did we get

Charlottesville

God Bless America, Land of Difference

Bigotry, hate, violence, is it possible to find common ground for real dialogue when the country feels like it has gone mad at the moment?

Violence did indeed break out at today’s White Nationalist Protest. Not surprising after the disgusting images I saw on Twitter last evening, late into the night, ahead of news media. It was inevitable. I followed Twitter threads until 2 a.m., in disbelief.

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