Slowing Down: The Soft Skill That Gets Left Behind

We spend our lives planning and hoping for them yet oftentimes the most beautiful moments happen by accident—when we slow down long enough to take in what was right in front of us along. I had to go to another school to pick up work for one of our students. I could have walked. I […]

Laughing About Mental Illness? The Joke Is on You

October has fallen upon us, and schools around the country are in full swing. While most student and parental fears have calmed down, school supplies are taken care of, what has been defined as edible and non-edible on the lunch menu, and students having a decent idea of what their typical day may look like […]

The Importance of Building Capacity in Schools

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There exists little evidence as to the direct effects school leaders have on student achievement (1). The reading expert Kelly Gallagher (2) asserts that the “Teacher is the X factor” in the classroom.  What, then, can school leaders and education researchers do to provide direction for a school improvement collaboration? We look to the context […]


The first quarter of my 37th year as an educator is officially at its end. There is always an overwhelming feeling of fatigue at this time of the year and a welcome sense of relief in knowing that there is a bit of a respite before heading into the holiday-laden second quarter. This year, I […]

What If Kids Didn’t Need To Act Out? Ask Rae Pica!

Celebrating World Teacher Day With Rae Pica! I’ve seen a lot of obnoxious behaviors and I admit I cleared a kindergarten class a couple times early on, before I knew better. I had a kid who tossed around pretty much everything in my Principal’s office, experienced the ‘joys’ of a key job on my car, […]

Hey, Preschool Teacher: Is It You or a Screen? I Choose YOU

So, I really wasn’t expecting what I witnessed today, but somehow, it didn’t surprise me. I took the morning to visit a childcare center that might potentially partner with our Early Childhood program to provide practicum experiences for our students. We currently have contracts with about six or seven centers that align with our philosophy, […]


On the first day of school, I observed my class of seventh-graders. All thirty were listening attentively to my every word. Having been a teacher for over three decades, I knew this “honeymoon-phase” would not last forever. I commented on all the new shoes adorning my students’ feet. Then I noticed Sergio who was wearing […]

Put Down the Guns, Pick Up a Book

At a nonviolence rally held in East St. Louis, Illinois, several speakers talked about how gun violence has impacted them personally. One gentleman spoke about how he had been in prison for 17 years. He only knew his son through visiting rooms. His son was a promising athlete. Two weeks before the father was released […]

Raffi’s Gift to Baby Belugas: Singing for Greta

A Man, His Music, and a Movement. This extraordinary story is true, happening now and we are all part of it. Raffi Cavoukian is the epitome of a servant leader, one who dedicates his life to the well being of children in our care. His songs about Baby Beluga timelessly beckon us into the deep […]

The Inner Game of Teaching

“It’s what’s inside of us that matters most.” ~Fred Rogers Thirty-four years of creating original, innovative, progressive educational curricula for my inner-city elementary/middle school students made me realize that motivation is a key to learning anything. Sorry, but if there is no desire or hunger to do things, it’s not going to happen. And if […]