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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

I believe that children are capable.  If my teaching life has a base, that’s it.

I’ve started so many experiences with that assumption that it’s become second nature.  I’ve tried, over the past few years, to make that foundation really clear and obvious to children, parents, and colleagues.  Sometimes it’s a bit of a challenge: You think kindergarten kids can’t do that?  Let’s try!

They can’t climb and jump?  Let’s try.

They can’t paint with acrylics?  Let’s try

They can’t play with sticks?  Let’s try.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

"I think the purpose of life is, above all, to matter; to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all"”

– Leo Rosten

A friend and co-worker successfully defended her doctoral research last week and her earning the title of Doctor of Education prompted me to go back and look at my own research and reflect on what I learned and how that experience helps support and sustain my leadership and vision on the future of engaged, inspired, and empowered education for ALL students! Our District focus on innovation, engaged learning, 1:1 transformative learning environments and early intervention are examples of change initiatives built on a foundation of my beliefs in and for ALL students. 

After many years as a proud public educator (teacher, asst. principal, principal, asst. supt. and superintendent now), I have had many wonderful opportunities to see, support, create, help create, and sustain change initiatives in order that educational opportunities for children were made better. As early as in 1995, I experimented with U.S. History Workshop where students were given voice and choice - with guidance, support, and direction - as they learned about U.S. History. This was published in the 1996-97 issue of “The Councilor” (the official publication of the Illinois Council for the Social Studies), Volume 56, pages 11-25, title: “Planning Powerful and Engaging Social Studies: The U.S. History Workshop for Students”

Ten years later when I was fortunate to publish my doctoral dissertation, I again discovered, this time through scientifically validated research methods, that student voice plays a statistically significant role in student learning. In every setting, my mission/vision/aim/guiding force/foundational philosophy is that students need their voice in order that their learning is maximized. Student voice in all grades, in all settings, in all environments. With guidance, structure, order, and facilitated learning environments, student learning and student satisfaction increases. Educational Reform - start asking, listening, considering, embracing, and adapting to STUDENT VOICE.  Published in 2005, UMI, Effective Instruction in Middle School Social Studies (Doctoral Dissertation)</a> 

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