Alia Jackson and Pierre Fulford are just two of the millions of youngsters who have gained from charter public schools. On July 29, they joined with former Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Howard Fuller and almost 200 Minnesota parents and educators to discuss what is working well and what needs to be improved with Minnesota’s charters. The conference was co-sponsored Cargill, CliftonLarsonAllen and the Center for School Change.
From Anoka-Hennepin to Richfield, Stillwater, Waconia, International Falls, Houston and all over the state, more than 50 of the 331 Minnesota school districts will have new superintendents in the 2014-15 school year.
Even if they have a slight decline in the number of students served, most Minnesota districts and charter schools will be receiving more money per pupil in the coming school year.
Sean McComb, recently named 2014 National Teacher of the Year, has given one of the best speeches I’ve ever read about what teachers can and often do accomplish.
“Breaking Bad” TV show actor Steven Quezada had several strong messages for about 4,000 educators recently gathered to discuss charter public schools. At a conference sponsored by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, (http://www.publiccharters.org) Quezada began, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for recognizing that children learn in different ways.”
One of my favorite family memories is sandbagging by the St. Croix River with two of our children. It comes to mind as we enter summer and the July Fourth holiday – a holiday celebrating the sacrifice and selflessness of others. One of the most important things a family can do together this summer is help youngsters continue this tradition. Service should be a part of summer.
A teacher’s recent email note to me asking for information about cyberbullying triggered powerful, unhappy memories. Her inquiry led me into the fascinating world of “cyberbulling.” The more I learned, the more convinced I became that this definitely is something families should discuss with youngsters this summer, if they haven’t already.
“Keep their minds and bodies engaged in wonder during the summer months when they are not attending school.” That’s what Julie Olson, director of Elementary Education for the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools recommended last week. She was one of 39 education leaders who responded to my request for suggestions about what parents could do to encourage continued learning during the summer. They described a combination of community, school and family activities that can produce a summer with happy memories and student growth.
Here’s a suggestion for the summer. If you care about learning, teaching, schools or parenting, get a copy of “Teaching with Heart,” edited by educator Sam M. Intrator and writer Megan Scribner. The book has 90 brief, one-page essays by educators, explaining and describing a poem that has inspired them. The book contains some of the most majestic, memorable writing I’ve ever read.