Inspiration

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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Hit Pause! And Other Advice to Round Out the School Year

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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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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