Applying CATDC Practices of Learning and Leading to your own School Community

Over the past decade we, Cathy Aragon, Meredith Landis and Sylvia Rodriguez Douglass, have individually learned from many workshops and conferences provided by the CATDC. In the last year we found ourselves drawn into conversation, reflecting on what we brought away from these professional learning opportunities and recognizing the major themes in our work that…

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Lessons from My First Year of Leadership

This year was my first as an administrative leader. After teaching for many years, I was promoted to interim division head and needed a crash course in effective leadership. Thankfully, the CATDC was offering an ongoing program for new leaders. The four meetings over the course of the year provided me with a network of…

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So What Do White 4th Graders Have to Say About Race?

As it turns out, a lot. Twice a month I get to work with fourth graders at a local school. The district has a stated commitment to racial equity and has been considering culturally responsive strategies with faculty and staff. When some middle school students of color reported a series of racial microaggressions, the administration…

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Describing Student Experiences in the Math Classroom

In a sentence or two, describe what your students did in class today. Go ahead. Don’t be shy. Talk to your device. Or engage in this activity with a colleague. Lessons. Tasks. Investigations. Projects. Problems. Worksheets. Labs. Assignment. Handouts. Exercises. Classwork. Did you use any of these terms in your description? Regardless of your answer,…

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Why Teaching Foundations Matters to Me: A Personal Reflection

We’re in the process of preparing for one of my favorite professional development workshops, Teaching Foundations. Each year around this time, we start our planning, and I already can’t wait to meet the participants and begin an inspiring week together. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about teacher preparation for those who are new to…

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Make Your Dumb Smart

Most of us know the times of day and days of the week when we do our best work. Tuesday mornings I feel like I am on fire, getting lots done with all cylinders firing. By Friday afternoons, though, I feel burned out. I am tired, daunted by the pile that has accumulated in my…

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Let the Nervous Come Out (And Other Advice From Kids)

Watch this first. the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo. February is a great time for storytelling and story listening. Whether in California or Vermont, there is an inherent coziness of the month, nestled between the January return and the sight of spring to come. I recently rewatched one of my all-time favorite…

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We Can’t Afford Not to Discuss Current Events

We discuss current events just about every day in my eighth-grade U.S. history classes. Sometimes it takes five minutes, when I bring in an article I think students should know about – on taxes or technology, oral arguments or international diplomacy. Sometimes it takes the whole period, especially on Fridays when students give presentations and…

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Vacations and Showers: Another Reason for Winter Break

At some point this week or next most of our schools will close for “Winter Break.” Why? Perhaps the most obvious reason for this school vacation is Christmas and Chanukah and the Judeo-Christian cultural norm to take an extended break during this time to celebrate and visit family. As educators, the vacation provides much needed…

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It’s Always October

Several years ago, when the San Francisco Giants were on their even-year World Series run (2010, 2012, 2014), there was a buzz in San Francisco that heightened our energy levels. It was a fun time to live and work here. And the notion of a heightened energy level seems appropriate for the month of October:…

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The One Word We Need for a Great School Year

I love to drop in on classes for five to fifteen minutes. Most often I leave having observed something about how a student learns or the way a teacher teaches. Occasionally, however, I learn something that makes me have the proverbial, “aha!” moment. That just happened. After leaving a fifth grade humanities class, I immediately…

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Back to School: Creating Safe, Equitable Spaces for All

Anyone who has been following the news this past summer has noticed much tumult in the world and in our nation. The marches and counter-protests in Charlottesville and Boston ring alarm bells for anyone who believes in a socially just world. It’s a chilling time to be a member of this nation, and as educators,…

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