Does anyone want to join me in the Gem State?

Hey Advocates,

I hope you are having a good summer. And, a nod to those celebrating Bastille Day yesterday. Also, Wednesday was my birthday, perfect timing for my book release šŸ˜Š

Many of you know that I was disappointed that we did not take the opportunity to really look at our communities and do a reset during the pandemic. Well, the pandemic is not over. I have read that we can expect two new variants by the fall. Unfortunately, policies in some schools are not keeping up with our reality. In one school district, officials decided to do away with COVID leave, which means that any staff member who has COVID will have to take sick leave or personal days to stay home.

Imagine the impact that will have system-wide. You may have teachers coming to work while they're ill because they don't want to use up their sick leave.

I'm curious because I've seen different reports of teacher resignations. And while schools generally see significant turnover, this year feels very different....

Continue Reading...

I hope you'll have the opportunity to decompress and enjoy your summer.

 

Greetings Advocates, 

The Weekend Voice took a bit of much-needed time off last weekend. And it turned out to be quite a weekend.

I was still processing the Supreme Court decisions and what they means to educators when I heard about the shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. At the time, I had not known that the area had a high percentage of Jewish residents and that the alleged gunman (who has confessed) went to a synagogue there. The head of security and the rabbi recognized him as a stranger, and he attended the service and left afterward. 

We've been hearing about mass shootings almost every week. No sooner do we recognize and process the horror, but we hear about another. 

The photo of a small toddler who was found wandering without his parents was the hardest for me after the Highland Park slaughter. It turns out that his parents were both killed on July 4th. The child was identified and is in the care of extended family. About a month ago, in...

Continue Reading...

People tend to draw together when something like this happens, especially in a small community.

Greetings, Advocates,

By now, those in school have probably started your summer breaks - unless you're a 12-month employee. Whatever your status, I hope you enjoy some time to yourself to recover, reflect, and rejuvenate.

I don't usually do this, but I feel I need to issue a trigger warning for this post. A month or so ago, I wrote about the murder of 19 4th-grade students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas. I also noted that the husband of one of the teachers had visited her gravesite and had a heart attack shortly after. He died, leaving their four children orphaned.

People tend to draw together when something like this happens, especially in a small community. And this has been the case in Uvalde.

From the very beginning, the role of law enforcement has been questioned. They initially said the gunman entered through a door that had been propped open, then they said the door was closed, but the lock was faulty. 

They said they were there as soon as possible but could...

Continue Reading...

I hope your weekend includes some time celebrating you. Thank you for all you do.

Greetings Advocates,

Happy Father's Day Weekend to fathers, step-fathers, uncles, older brothers, single parents, mentors, and anyone who takes on the role of a father for a child.

I hope your weekend includes some time celebrating you. Thank you for all you do.

I've been noticing that with the recent school shootings, conversations have turned back to the topic of police officers in schools. To be clear, there are school security officers and police officers, some armed, who serve in schools. 

Since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, the number of police officers in schools has increased; however, school shootings have also increased.

While much depends on the individual students and their relationship with law enforcement, young Black and Brown students are often in trouble for behavior or disciplinary issues when there are school officers. The majority of school shooters have been young men who are White.

One suggestion on how to keep our students safe is to arm...

Continue Reading...

We're going to need more than one single solution.

Greetings, Advocates,

I've been thinking about you all lately, inspired partly by a recent New York Times story that featured several teachers saying that this had been the most challenging year of their teaching careers. We will probably not know the exact numbers, but I've seen social media postings indicating that in some districts and some school buildings, 55% of teachers are leaving, whether it's due to retirement or leaving for other jobs. One Maryland district had trouble filling sub-jobs in the spring when 58% of requests for substitutes were not filled because they didn't have enough subs available. 

We all know that many teachers schedule their annual physicals, dentist's visits, surgery during the summer, professional development workshops, additional coursework for recertification, and sometimes curriculum development. 

This has been a challenging year in so many ways. What's missing? Family, rest, relaxation, vacation, and time to de-stress.

Some of you are...

Continue Reading...

How do we keep them safe?

Hey Advocactes,

Happy Memorial Day to the readers in the United States. These days, Memorial Day signals the start of the summer. It's often when neighborhood swimming pools open and families get together for a barbecue. We shouldn't forget that Memorial Day is the day we honor the members of the armed forces who have died in service to the country. 

Speaking of those who have died, earlier this week, an 18-year-old entered a school in Texas and shot and killed 19 children and two teachers. The students were in fourth grade. The gunman wounded several others. This is the 27th school shooting in the United States in 2022. When I heard that, I was speechless. I had no words. The first thought in my mind was about my own two kids. My daughter celebrated her 12th birthday this week, and my son is 9. What if this had been at my kid's school?

As more information is released regarding the shooting in Texas, questions are raised about the role of law enforcement. We...

Continue Reading...

We absolutely need more counselors in our schools and our communities.

Greetings Advocates,

We're getting close to the end of the school year for some of you, and for others, you still have a couple of weeks. It's been quite a year. But starting Memorial Day weekend, which is next weekend, it feels like the school year is winding to a close.

This week was fun as I watched my daughter do what she loves the most. Her school had its annual track and field day. Watch out for Summer 2032, Brisbane, Australia! I'm hoping that I will have a future Olympic star at home.


I'm wrestling with just one thing this week. No matter what we say, what language we use…last weekend was one of the deadliest in the U.S., and I've seen very little news coverage.

Did you know that 65 people were shot last weekend? And 17 people were killed. People who lived in a community, neighbors, parents, grandparents, and people going about their lives.

Where did these incidents take place? Just everyday places, such as a grocery...

Continue Reading...

This week, Iā€™m thinking about school safety.

Hey Advocates, 

Welcome to the Friday, the 13th version of the Weekend Voice. I’m not superstitious, but I know teachers who are, and I just want to say I honor that.

This week, I’m thinking about school safety. I may return to this topic, but there are two sorts of school safety - physical security and emotional safety. 

School safety is on my mind because we’ve all seen horrifying video clips showing police officers handcuffing small children in Kindergarten and 1st grade. For instance, many school districts in Minneapolis signed an agreement not to have police officers inside school buildings following the murder of George Floyd. 

A Bethesda Beat article describes how in Montgomery County, Maryland, the largest school district in Maryland, police officers were a presence in high schools starting in 2002. 

Although Black students are 5% percent of the student population, data shows that they are disciplined about 50% more than White...

Continue Reading...

Let me say that again; it's a lot.

Hey Folks,

I'm getting this Weekend Voice to you a little late. I spent the day with my son, SJ, on his field trip today. My boy is so shy, so these are the best pics I could get with him. The struggle is real y'all :)

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, Advocates. I see you. And if you haven't seen my email from earlier this week, I'm offering 40% off my courses. Use the promo code TEACHERAPPRECIATION22. And administrators, you can get 30% off my training or my keynotes. I would love to be invited by your school or district. Book a free consultation with me, and let's make something happen.

As I think about Teacher Appreciation Week - I recall that sometimes students send us lovely cards and messages, and we receive the occasional gifts such as gift cards for coffee or bookstores. Sometimes teachers receive flowers. The Parent-Teacher Association often puts on a lunch spread or a breakfast spread, and so does the administration.

I know I appreciated the cards and...

Continue Reading...

It's ugly out there

Greetings Advocates,

Happy Spring! The days are longer, and I'm enjoying the extra hours of daylight. And, since school districts, colleges, and universities across the U.S. have different weeks off for spring break - I think all the spring breaks are coming to a close. For those who have had a spring break, I hope you were able to enjoy some relaxation.

As we all know, starting in May, we're beginning the countdown to summer. We still need to get through most of May - with seniors' graduations and promotions ceremonies in other grades.

I have several thoughts, and I'll return to them in the next few weeks. 

Earlier this week, a federal judge struck down the nationwide mask mandate on planes, buses, and public transportation. In her ruling, the judge indicated that she felt the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control exceeded their mandate. I think I'll keep rocking my mask though on planes :)

We look at what serves the collective good as a matter of equity....

Continue Reading...
Close

Sign Up For the Weekend Voice

Every Friday you can expect a small and informative message from the Leading Equity Center. The Weekend Voice is meant to challenge your thoughts of education today and to provoke you to take action in your schools.