2016: Teacher Appreciation Year?

Last week, I visited my former school, colleagues and students. Although I anticipated an enjoyable reunion, the visit proved worthwhile, to say the least.

As soon as I walked through the front door, I was quickly greeted by former colleagues, ranging from administrators to security guards. The main reason for this camaraderie is easy for educators to understand. However, for those who have never worked within a school building, the school year, inherently, nurtures a sense of community between most, if-not-all, educators. I’d even argue that this educator camaraderie is necessary. Needless to say, I expected to exchange hugs, smiles and stories with my former colleagues, and, to a large degree, I also expected a similar outcome when I ran into my former students.

To my delight, my kiddos did not disappoint.

Although I planned to spend time with my former students, during their lunch period, a few students “caught wind” that I was in the building. At the risk of sounding narcissistic, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy seeing my kiddos press their faces against the classroom door window while trying, in vain, to open a locked door so they can say hello. Or, being greeted by a mob of kiddos, during their recess period, on the outdoor basketball court. Both scenes, and others, are now permanently stored in my memory bank, FOREVER!

After my visit, and during my walk home, I learned a valuable lesson: Regardless of the current education reform dialogue, both in terms of policy and politics, teachers do, in fact, make an enormous difference in all of their students’ lives.


Well, it comes down to simple mathematics.

For teachers, 180+ school days is more than enough time to make a meaningful impact in their students’ lives, which is precisely what all talented teachers do best. For 180+ school days, these teachers wake up, even before the sun “rises,” determined to “make a difference”. For 180+ school days, these teachers often sacrifice their personal lives for the lives of their students. For 180+ school days, these teachers are your child’s/children’s parent, away from home.

Put simply, all talented teachers deserve more than a token celebration, such as “Teacher Appreciation Week.” They deserve more than a lack of professional trust. They deserve more than a “seat at the table.” They all deserve a teacher appreciation culture and mindset, within the education reform landscape, throughout the year.

So, as we approach a new year, I kindly ask you to add one more item to your 2016 New Year’s Resolution(s) list: Appreciate your child’s/children’s teacher(s) throughout the year.



A Summer of Innovation: Part 1

This blog appeared first on CityBridge Foundation’s Education Innovation Fellowship Blog, called edinnovationdc.

Are you interested in learning how to leverage educational technology? Do you want to learn how to implement a personalized learning model in your classroom? Are you always searching for opportunities to expand your professional learning network? If you’ve answered “yes” to any or these questions, then allow me to borrow a moment of your time. I want to introduce to you a group of talented D.C. public and public charter school educators who, in addition to teaching, are all participating in a unique, yearlong education innovation fellowship.

Continue reading…https://edinnovationdc.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/a-summer-of-innovation-part-1/

Education + Technology = What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander.

Blended Teaching DC


21st century students need 21st century teachers. If we truly wish to offer each student a personalized learning experience then we must reassess how we design, deliver and assess every single lesson. Moreover, we must leverage technological tools and programs to support our role as professional educators. Today’s students, and tomorrow’s leaders, deserve a meaningful education led by forward-thinking professional educators.

I don’t mean to suggest that education technology will replace teachers, because it simply cannot. However, teachers who leverage technology will replace those who refuse to learn or fail to adapt. As technologically dependent pedagogy, such as blended or personalized learning, continue to emerge within the public education system, it’s incumbent upon professional educators to thoroughly research best practices and strategies. Whether we should use technology within the public school system is the wrong question to ask. The real question is how to use technology effectively.


Far too many…

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A League of Innovative DC Teachers in the Making

Blended Teaching DC


The CityBridge Foundation and NewSchools Venture Fund’s Education Innovation Fellowship provides DC teachers with a yearlong professional development program in blended and personalized learning instructional approaches. Throughout the yearlong program, twenty DC educators (“fellows”) observed several best practices and bright spots within several blended and personalized learning school-wide, and classroom-specific, models throughout the Bay Area and Los Angeles California, Detroit, Michigan, and Washington, D.C.

The valuable lessons learned, throughout this professional development experience, were on display during the December 6th Education Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. This summit provided the platform for twenty DC public and public charter teachers to share their experiences with blended and personalized learning. Through “breakout sessions,” each fellow shared their advice, best practices, bright spots, and challenges with leveraging education technology within the classroom.


If you use twitter as a professional development source, or you want to learn more about blended and personalized learning, particularly from…

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How #blendedlearning can upgrade the traditional public education “operating system.”

Blended Teaching DC

The traditional education operating system has remained relatively unchanged for over one hundred years. The way we “do” school – one teacher and twenty-five plus students within a classroom for a fixed amount of time – is still the primary instructional model used throughout the American public education system. Worse still, we rely heavily on printed materials, such as textbooks and worksheets, for instruction, as if the information age doesn’t exist. Although all of us live, play, and work within a technologically dependent world, we’ve yet to modernize our public education system. It’s almost as if we’re still “stuck” in the past.

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The traditional public education operating system depends heavily upon a twentieth century business management practices. For example, at the top are the district leaders, followed by superintendents, administrators, instructional coaches, and finally, the teachers. Although the teachers are the most important actors, in terms of delivering instruction and assessing student…

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