Author: Mandi Bozarth

Recognizing Holidays and Cultural Celebrations at School: Halloween

Reading Time: 6 minutes

This post was originally posted on West Wind’s Educational Equity Resources Portal blog.

In recent years, schools across the country have modified Halloween celebrations to better meet students needs — some have moved parades to after school, stopped the sharing of candy during school, replaced events with alternative celebrations, or cancelled Halloween celebrations. This blog provides considerations and key questions to support you to center race and ethnicity as you think about and plan for school-based Halloween celebrations and the use of costumes. Continue reading “Recognizing Holidays and Cultural Celebrations at School: Halloween”

Equity in Personalized Learning

Equity in Personalized Learning

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This summer the International Association for Online Learning (iNACOL) and CompetencyWorks invited me to the 2017 National Summit on K-12 Competency-based Education to explore personalized learning and CBE. The Summit brought together experts and leaders from across the country to focus on 4 key areas: 1) quality, 2) equity, 3) meeting students where they are, and 4) systems and policies. Continue reading “Equity in Personalized Learning”

Check out the Dream Center’s Summer Leadership Camp

Check out the Dream Center’s Summer Leadership Camp

Reading Time: < 1 minute

DreamCenterlogoCheck out the awesome work of our partners at the Dream Center during their Summer Leadership Camp 2017. Congratulations to the team and nice job to the participants!

Enjoy their video HERE.

To learn more about the Dream Center visit them online HERE or on Facebook.

Note: this post was updated in May 2020 to correctly link to the Dream Center’s new pages, Dream City IA.

Why Personalized Learning?  A Parent’s Perspective

Why Personalized Learning? A Parent’s Perspective

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Personalized Learning 300This is the first in a series of blogs to explore personalized learning.  In the first installment, I share my own journey as a parent to understand why personalized learning should be a goal of PK-12 systems and how I came to believe that.  The “evidence” for my parental belief is almost purely anecdotal and formed from supporting my own children in school.  The next blogs will focus more on the evidence and data that convince me as a professional working in education policy that this shift is necessary.  In subsequent blogs I plan to explore several education initiatives and programs aimed at personalized learning, such as Genius Hour, competency-based education practices, and project-based learning practices. Continue reading “Why Personalized Learning? A Parent’s Perspective”

2015 Martin Luther King Day of Service

2015 Martin Luther King Day of Service

Reading Time: 2 minutes

MLK_2015 “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding  will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

              — Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

This Monday communities will come together to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to take part in service to others in the name of justice and equality.  This past year we have continued to see prejudice and injustice spur fear and divide our communities.  We have also seen strong black leadership across the country and in our own communities speak out to guide us toward justice. Continue reading “2015 Martin Luther King Day of Service”

Facilitating Communities of Education Professionals

Facilitating Communities of Education Professionals

Reading Time: 4 minutes

CoP Growing
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 the phone; as parents, volunteers, members, and even dissenters. I could go on and on with this list. For each of these communities we take on different roles; join for different reasons; look for different outcomes; and bring different expectations about what we get, what we give, and how we and other community members interact. Continue reading “Facilitating Communities of Education Professionals”

Learning to Celebrate

Learning to Celebrate

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Celebrate (2)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, staff, principals, and alumni returned to share their memories.  We heard story after story about how the school changed lives and how teachers, staff, and principals impacted generations.  It was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon – and it was a celebration of our community, our students, our school, and an acknowledgement that education matters deeply to us. Continue reading “Learning to Celebrate”

Communal Reading

Communal Reading

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Communal Reading (2)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 the past few days I have spent a chunk of my evenings reading Reyna Grande’s memoir, The Distance Between Us, the story of her family’s emigration from Mexico to the U.S. The story is powerfully relevant as the U.S. attempts to deal with large numbers of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum. When Reyna was 2, her father left her hometown of Iguala, Mexico, to find work in the United States. Her mother left Reyna, age 4, and her two siblings for the U.S. two years later, to return to them a single mother. When she was 9 Reyna and her siblings came to the U.S. and after several years the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act allowed them to become U.S. citizens. Continue reading “Communal Reading”

Say Thank You — Or Else

Say Thank You — Or Else

Reading Time: 2 minutes

http://westwinded.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Teacher-Thanks.jpg

Yesterday during our elementary school’s annual “Chalk the Walk” to thank our teachers, my nine year-old son drew this picture near the school entrance. I must admit I was a little nervous when he started drawing the man with the funny teeth. I know he loves his teachers, but he also loves to be the funny guy. When I reminded him that we were there to say thank you and the pictures should be nice, he smiled up at me and said, “Don’t worry all the time, Mom. I am drawing a nice picture. This is to make my teachers smile, not get mad.” Continue reading “Say Thank You — Or Else”

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