If you're not currently teaching, what are you focused on?:
Professional Development, STEM integration, district support
Your school name:
Innovation Center of St Vrain Valley Schools
Your school type:
Is your school a Title Ⅰ school?:
How many years have you been teaching?:
I've been in education since 2005.
"Sharpies, of course :)"
I feel like the luckiest person alive. I have 2 beautiful children, an awesome husband, a great family that lives close by, and I get to live in Colorado! I'm passionate about public education, equity, cognition, research, data, empathy, and improvement science, and I love learning. I am trying really hard to read instead of watch TV, and get outside and go hiking instead of staying inside :) Trying to build better habits :) I also host an educational podcast with a colleague, it's called Vrain Waves, & we interview amazing people - listen wherever you get your podcasts, or at vrainwaves.com!
Deborah, this is an awesome idea! When a family member of mine got diagnosed with cancer, the whole process of surgery and treatment was made SO much easier by the presence of a liaison that helped to schedule appointments, demystify experiences, define terms, etc. Obviously a different experience, but the presence of someone to trust and know that you can call on or ask advice of in times of uncertainty can make a huge huge difference. Lots of schools currently have liaisons for language barriers but for little else - it makes sense that we would carve out a role that would stay with families for the duration of their K12 experience. The closest thing I've heard of to this is keeping high school counselors in touch with students as they transition to college, but I think at every level this could be an amazing benefit, to families and to schools. There could be a sort of topic list for each year of a student's experience, like in kindergarten the liaison is there to help with topics like before & after school care, learning letters, etc; in 5th grade they could cover topics of transition to middle school, etc - and all the while we could even educate parents and families on child brain development and where their student is in that development. I know so many people who would be amazing at this job! The district where I work has 32,000 students, so we'd have to find some way to serve every family therein, but this would be a very interesting pilot to test longitudinally for maybe a school or some families who have already been through the system with other kids, and then scaled accordingly. We could even enlist retired teachers or volunteers to serve as liaisons, with periodic training for maximum quality... lots of ways to make this happen. Thank you for the idea, I'm looking forward to seeing it progress!
Yes!! This is something every school should have! Thank you for sharing this, Natosha - I am so curious about how we could scale and sustain this group / collective in more places. I saw with a little searching that there is a Facebook group as well as in-person events - I'd love to pick your brain sometime on how this has evolved. These important discussions often take a back seat to other, less impactful issues that may be easier for people to address, and it's imperative that we all push equity to the forefront, because the impact of these discussions is so much more important than our own comfort or discomfort with the topic. I've started following a chat on Twitter called #ClearTheAir (Wednesday evenings) hosted by @ValeriaBrownEdu which covers some resources for having hard conversations both inside and outside of classrooms, it's really helping me to uncover my own reservations about entering these discussions and giving me entry points for opening up conversations with those around me. I don't think there could be too many of these resources - I think it will take it all - social media, in-person discussions, all of it. Thank you so much for sharing this, I am going to read up more on the Round Rock Black Parents Association and I look forward to learning from you all!
Love this idea, Wesley - it reminds me of the kind of individualization we do for students on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that we revisit a few times a year and react to as a team, measuring progress and talking about what's working and what's not. I think this would be a perfect addition to a student-led conference, so that we're not just there discussing the most recent progress assessments or biggest project, but student- / family- / teacher-identified and co-created goals that reflect what each stakeholder sees as 'success' for that child. What a cool way to make it more collaborative and relevant, not to mention culturally responsive. Thank you for your thoughts - looking forward to seeing this develop further :)