Clubs and affinity spaces are designed to appeal to people of common interests and experiences. This shared experience ignites a sense of understanding and support within the group, a familiar camaraderie. The sense of empowerment that exists in affinity spaces is more critical when this group of people is part of a less dominant, disadvantaged,…

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“I want to ask you a question, and that is: What is your life’s blueprint?” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked this of Philadelphia’s Barratt Junior High students in 1967. When I read his speech at the King Center in Atlanta it made me think of my role as an educator because Dr. King’s question…

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I spent a good part of the summer (and the months leading up to it) planning and co-facilitating Teaching Foundations in Southern California and the Bay Area with a team of stellar facilitators and cohorts of inspiring participants. While I end each session feeling physically tired, my heart always is full, and from that fullness,…

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My parents immigrated to the United States from Central America, and I began my school career as an English Language Learner. Having graduated from Saint Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Saint Mary’s Kalmanovitz School of Education, I understand what it means to…

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Debbie Reed began the first meeting of the Leadership Fellows Program with a story of her journey, when she was a girl, cutting out pictures of mythological creatures from magazines, knowing that someday she would use those clippings when she became the teacher she aspired to be. That journey would take Debbie through numerous schools,…

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As our school years finally end, and as we wrap up our culminating meetings in preparation for a quieter summer, I’m reminded of this powerful internal tool that allows us to recharge these next couple of months: the off-switch. For teachers, the off-switch may be an easier sell. Time away from school will allow teachers…

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I was talking with my colleague recently about shifting a slightly large school policy, and as we were hashing out the specifics, I started to do a quick body scan: I felt tired; I was a bit ornery, and my brain was processing at a slower rate. The conclusion: it’s May, and I’m feeling it.…

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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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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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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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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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