Inspiration

A Case for Ongoing Professional Development

The CATDC’s Ongoing Programs, series of 3-5 meetings led by local educators, are some of our most agile and responsive professional development offerings and the foundation of our unique approach to growing capacity in California independent schools. Easy access to digital and print resources and online courses make continuing education within reach at all times,…

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Changing Lives Through Collaboration

Creative collaboration with teachers in the service of student learning has been a deep current running through my career. As Executive Director of the CATDC, learning with and from other educators has become not only a passion, but one of my primary job responsibilities.

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Rethinking Teacher Evaluation in Independent Schools

Working in schools is a vulnerable act. Every day can feel like a high-stakes performance review in front of an audience of young evaluators: performing effective planning, organization, pedagogy, relationship management, flexibility, patience, community building, knowledge of human psychology and all the additional skills of being an educator. It’s no wonder then that when teachers hear they’re about to be evaluated, anxiety sets in and amygdala hijack takes hold.

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Leading With the Brain in Mind

Understanding our neurobiological hardwiring plays an essential role in creating environments where teachers and schools can thrive. School leaders have the opportunity to notice the state of escalation occurring in stressful situations and model vulnerability to create space for others to do the same.

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Why We Need Racial Literacy Now More Than Ever

Given the current national landscape, it has become painfully obvious that those of us in schools need to double our efforts to teach racial literacy (Stevenson, 2014). Recently, I was working with 4/5th graders who are part of a racial affinity group program we coordinate in Portland, OR (for more about these groups, see So…

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The Benefits of Immersive Learning

Realizing Our Vision This past January, The Bay School of San Francisco launched its inaugural Immersives program: three-week academic courses that are experiential and project-based. After two years of developing curricula, honing pedagogy, securing partnerships with organizations throughout California, and working out the logistics of each course, Bay expanded its campus beyond its walls and…

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Join the Club

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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Educating As If We Are Already There

“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 this July, it pulled me back into school mode because Dr. King’s question is ours.…

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A Letter to Teachers

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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A Rising Tide Will Lift All Boats

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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Cultivating the Leadership Seed: My Journey with the CATDC

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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Taking Off This Summer

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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