Archive of 2014

On Teaching Ferguson Part One

on December 30th, 2014 in Blog by | No Comments

Recently, a University of Iowa grad student invited me to speak at a panel titled Teaching Ferguson: Race, Riots and Critical Reflections for Classroom Teachers. The invitation was timely, as I’d just read an editorial from Michelle Alexander, an author and criminal justice reform advocate. Michelle describes challenges she encountered…

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On Teaching Ferguson Part Two

on December 30th, 2014 in Blog by | 3 Comments

I spoke with a community member who said an altercation between students occurred after they had a charged discussion about the Darren Wilson grand jury outcome. Although a small part of me supports keeping Ferguson out of classrooms, reality is many students already reacted to what has unfolded since the…

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Facilitating Communities of Education Professionals

on December 8th, 2014 in Blog by | No Comments

No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. –John Donne, No Man is an Island   We are all parts of communities where we engage daily – with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues; face-to-face, online, and on…

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Senior Policy Analyst, Deb Hansen, Retires

on November 26th, 2014 in Blog by | 29 Comments

This month the team at West Wind Education Policy is proudly celebrating the career of our own Deb Hansen. It has been an honor for all of us to share the capstone years of her career. During the past four years, Deb has lent her wisdom and experience to West…

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On Grace and Gratitude

on November 17th, 2014 in Blog by | No Comments

This blog is a letter to my colleagues at West Wind Education Policy, written as I end my tenure at West Wind and as I phase into retirement from the education profession. Dear West Wind Friends and Colleagues, This month marks both the anniversary of four years of employment at…

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Are Teachers Still Widgets? Five years after the Widget Report

on October 31st, 2014 in Blog by | No Comments

Five years ago,TNTP (formerly known as The New Teacher Project) released The Widget Effect, a report that influenced the debate about educAre Teachers Still Widgets? Five yearsator workforce policy-making and generated advocacy for policies such as improved teacher performance evaluations, administrator training, and performance-based pay. According to TNTP, the report identified a…

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Learning to Celebrate

on October 22nd, 2014 in Blog by | No Comments

My children’s elementary school recently celebrated our 60th birthday.  We gathered at the school, listened to alumni who are now junior high and high school students play orchestral music, ate cookies, picked a few remaining vegetables from the school garden, and spent time with our friends and neighbors.  Retired teachers,…

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Interesting is Good, but Wonderful is Better

on September 22nd, 2014 in Blog by | No Comments

How often do you think to yourself as you are learning something new, “That was interesting.”?  Do you ever wonder how often students reflect on a completed lesson, “Hmm, that concept just introduced was interesting.”  Or “My homework was pretty interesting today.” Now consider this statement.   “Interesting is good. …

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Communal Reading

on September 4th, 2014 in Blog by | No Comments

Are you picturing several people sitting cross-legged on big floor pillows, drinking herbal tea, and reading poetry aloud between gentle yoga stretches? While that sounds appealing (and before I had kids you might have hit the nail on the head with that image), that is not what I mean. For…

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Do We Understand How Hard It Was to Get Michael Brown to Graduate?

on September 2nd, 2014 in Blog by | 1 Comment

Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, emphatically questioned if we understand the amount of effort required just to see Michael graduate. Unfortunately, the answer to her question would become buried underneath a wealth of information that followed her son’s death and a charged debated about Michael’s character. At the…

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