A place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools

A Caution About Labels

Carrie Craven - July 31, 2012

At my school, we often call a student’s misbehavior a “poor choice.” A staff member suggested that the phrase unintentionally promotes a bias against the poor. I appreciated that insight. Wouldn’t it be much more accurate—and equally effective—to say, “That choice was disrespectful,” or “The choice you made disrupted our learning?”

Preparing to Help Students Through Tough Times

Sarah Anderson - July 30, 2012

Sonia is a quiet girl with a shy smile who never raises her hand in my class. Recently, she told me that she is bisexual.

Sonia shared this during a conflict resolution meeting conducted for her and another girl in the class, Katie. She had a crush on Katie and had been pursuing her through frequent text messages. Sonia had persisted even though Katie had made it clear she only wanted to be friends. At the end of our meeting, Sonia agreed to stop texting Katie. By the end of the day they appeared to be friends again.

What Sally Ride and Amelia Earhart Taught Us

Lisa Ann Williamson - July 27, 2012

This week reminded us of two pioneering women in aviation. The nation mourned the death of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. At the same time, many of us celebrated the 115th birthday of Amelia Earhart.

Facebook is My Classroom, Too

Pamela Cytrynbaum - July 25, 2012

As teachers, we hear almost daily that we “must meet the students where they are.” It is a core tenant, a sacred truth offered as a key to successfully unlocking the hearts and minds of even the most reluctant learners.

Culture: A View of the Self

Kathleen Melville - July 24, 2012

My ninth-grade Spanish students resisted my assignment to write about their cultures.

“My family doesn’t have any cultural traditions,” one said.

“My culture is that I’m just normal,” added another.

“I don’t have a culture,” said another.

Diverse Schools Are Essential for the Nation’s Success

Maureen Costello - July 23, 2012

The face of America is changing.

In 40 years, the United States will become a minority-majority nation – a remarkable milestone for a country that already boasts one of the most religiously, ethnically and racially diverse societies in the world.

But you wouldn’t know it looking at our nation’s schools. Census and school data tell a very different story.

Student Expulsion is a Last Resort

Carrie Craven - July 23, 2012

Ms. Simmons had two first-grade boys by the arms.

“Fighting in the bathroom,” she said. “Send them home.” 

It’s the second week of day camp hosted at our school. The policy is strict: Two strikes and you’re out.  

On the one hand, it makes sense. It’s summer camp. Camp should be safe and enjoyable for all children. It’s hard to feel comfortable when you’re worried there might be a fight. There’s no mandate for children to be here. It’s optional and a privilege. 

In Consideration of Ramadan

Jan S. Gephardt - July 20, 2012

Our staff took an in-service afternoon to design a new approach to Ramadan. It wasn’t for a teaching unit, but out of consideration for the more than 30 Muslim students in our school. During this period of religious observance, which requires fasting, these students were directed to the cafeteria at lunchtime as usual. Some took refuge in the media center, but most suffered in the cafeteria.

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