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The Struggle is Real- threefold statement on leadership

December 31, 2016

As an instructional leader, I am perpetually looking for knowledge to inspire, to teach, and to broaden my current perspective. I am also personally interested in the quiet work of The Elders.  Many teachers are interested in social justice.  As our public school populations continue to shift, it is imperative that we understand our students' backgrounds and the walls of prejudice they face daily.  Chair of the Elders, Kofi Annan's statement on leadership is fourfold. These three points can guide current and future #teacherleaders

1.  Be open and willing to listen
2.  Need not always be right
3.  A good follower

BE OPEN. To be open is to understand that all of our teachers have brilliant ideas. We must be willing to listen to these ideas. Teacher leaders must also be open to the restrictive policies of our schools. Teacher leaders must guide teachers and administrators. Often, administrators see the bigger picture. For example, charter schools in our state c…

The Struggle is Real; a struggle against silence

The Struggle is Real; a struggle against silence The struggle in education is real. Teachers must use their voices to tell the stories of their classrooms. Teachers are the only ones with a clear view of the path ahead. Unfortunately, teachers, all too often, feel silenced by the system. Or, they feel they must only tell the happy stories of education. This is the second post in this series.  Our classrooms may or may not resemble the community surrounding the school. All too often, our schools are an oasis of poor students within a more affluent society being taught by teachers not familiar with the culture of the students. But, what is the purpose of public education?

Affluenza has led many public school supporters to send their children to private school,  to virtual school, and to home school. Today, Alfie Kohn, @alfiekohn,  tweeted this statistic.
2h2 hours ago Proportion of all US public school students whose families are low-income: In 1989, <1/3. In 20…

The struggle is real-we must use our voice

The struggle is real. Teachers are intimidated to write or speak.  Teacher leaders must learn to use their voice. Canadian writer, Charles de Lint said, "Don't forget,  no one else sees the world you do so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell. "  All too often teachers become wrapped up in the classes they teach and fail to see how they could help the larger body of students in a school, a district, or an entire state. Teacher leaders are literally in the trenches teaching our current body of students. We intimately know that the group of students we are teaching is divergently different from the students of the past. The voting public is unaware of the changes that have occurred in the public school system in the past twenty years. Our voices must be heard.

The demographics of the United States continues to evolve. Teacher leaders are often the first to witness the evolution. In 2010,  The Center for Public Education, @NSBAComm,  released startling st…

Collaboration is the strategy-Children are the priority!

Collaboration is the strategy-Children are the priority!
On Monday evening, the Little Rock Stakeholders group made a historic decision to collaborate with the local charter schools. The Stakeholders, after more than ten years of increasingly combative appearances at the Board of Education, reviewed the latest OEP, Office for Education Policy, research on student movement within the Central Arkansas Area. You can read the report here, for more detail  here, and for even more detail here.

OEP's  enlightening news is that "when students exit traditional public schools in the Little Rock metro area, their exit makes the school more integrated." Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, "student transfers out of traditional schools are  improving the level of racial and economic integration in the Little Rock metro area public school system." WOW! With this research, the proverbial fist is beginning to stretch into an outstretched hand of collaboration.

Children a…

Collaboration IS the Strategy

Collaboration IS the Strategy or 3 degrees of separation
Separation of educators has become the norm. Working in the public open-enrollment charter world, I have often been affronted by the accusation that charter schools are ruining public education. Yesterday, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and discussing education in Arkansas with Principal Michelle Hayward, @Principal_MOH. Principal Hayward is a Twitter virtual friend!
Principal Hayward is the mother of one of our new teachers. Despite being on a tight schedule after a meeting at the Capitol, she willingly agreed to meet with us. Principal Hayward embraces the reality of change and knows that the children belong to all of us. She willingly and openly shared best practices from her school, such as implementing Empowering Writers, @EmpWriters. Clearly,  she embraces the idea espoused by Judith Billings. "Children are the priority. Change is the reality. Collaboration is the strategy."
Change is certainly an ongoin…
Food builds bridges to bring us together
      As the events of this week unfolded, I felt a bewildering mix of feelings including shame, pride, patriotism, and empathy. Shame for not being more politically active (tough as a teacher), pride that cub 2 voted, patriotism that the people had spoken, and empathy for those among us who are truly frightened by the election results. The fear of the unknown is often most emphatic, especially for children. Our president-elect has become the boogie man of their next four years. Keep in mind that fears are often unfounded but they remain fears until proven otherwise. As simple as it may sound, food builds bridges to bring us together
      It is true. Food builds bridges. A plate of brownies for a neighbor, soup kitchens for the homeless, cookies for college students during finals, dinners with colleagues, shared lunches in school, international fairs, and cookie exchanges are all examples of how food builds bridges. Teachers  and all Americans…

Imagine! My Voice Matters!

Imagine! My Voice Matters!




     The theme for #ECET2AR is My Voice Matters!  Today, as I walked through the hallways, I was reminded that, indeed, my voice does matter. One of our new teachers mentioned that my post resonated with her. She said that although she had earned the right to wear jeans this week, my blog post, Teachers as Professionals, convinced her that she needed to dress for success in the classroom. How cool is that? My first response was simply shock! I write in a seeming vacuum. I was unaware that any of the teachers at my school read either of my blogs. My next feeling was warmth. Something that I wrote affected one of our teachers positively.  Again, how cool is that? During this month of giving thanks, this was fantastic news! I am thankful!
    As I was leaving this evening, I walked out with the same teacher.  Due to my blog post, she had made connections between teachers at previous schools who dressed down and had the resultant classroom management issues. He…

Are teachers perceived as professionals?

Are teachers perceived as professionals? noun 1. a person engaged or qualified in a profession. "professionals such as lawyers and surveyors" synonyms:white-collar worker, office worker
"affluent young professionals."      Are teachers perceived as professionals?    When you Google the definition and images of professional, images of professionally dressed individuals appear. Teachers are professional but are often not perceived as such. SO, how do we change this ingrained, often negative perception?      Changing perceptions takes time. I write for myself only, not my school or any organizations of which I am a member.  I will readily admit that I was born at the end of the Baby Boomer generation. I was raised with the idea that I should dress for success. Lately, teachers come to school dressed as if they are ready for yoga. Stretchy pants and t-shirts have replaced cute skirts, slacks, and blouses for women. It is rare to see a man wearing a tie or even a collared …
Home / Teacher Leaders / Teacher Leader Spotlight on Suzanne Rogers Teacher Leader Spotlight on Suzanne RogersOctober 13, 2016 Meet educator Suzanne Rogers, who plays many roles as AP English teacher, English language arts coach, and Director of Professional Development at LISA Academy, a charter school system based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Suzanne is also a teacher leader for Arkansas Public School Resource Center, which participates in the Teacher Practice Networks (TPN), and an educator influencer in Common Core and technology. This week, the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning asked Suzanne to share with the TPN her strategies and tips for building a presence on social media and leveraging it to share Common Core-aligned instructional resources with other teachers. SuzanneI’m honored by your request! Thank you. I will happily share my experiences, though I am certainly not an expert. The Center How have you gained such a large social media following of 3,280 (as of Octob…

Stop Bias: Political Bias Can Lead to Misunderstanding

Political bias can lead to misunderstanding

Recently, a parent sent a politically oriented vitriolic email to one of my novice teachers regarding a field trip to "Conversations with Anne" at the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library. I attended the field trip and did notice that during the field trip presentation, Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, brought political rhetoric into the presentation. One of our students misunderstood comments made by Goldstein. Goldstein mentioned that President Franklin D. Roosevelt made decisions that adversely impacted the fate of Jews trying to escape the Nazi regime. Goldstein also related current political events and decisions that could change the fate of the world. The student reported to his parents that the field trip involved "making a murderous b... look like a saint." (Parent sent a less vitriolic email less than a minute later)


My first reaction was dismay. My novic…