#BlackHistoryMatters! Happy Black History Month!!! By now your child should be sharing some of the…
Over the past several months, Black Families met in our Northside Black Families group to…
I am so proud of the White, Asian and Latinx educators throughout SFUSD who are…
This is a blog for parents and educators to share information, about how to support our children in SF Public Schools. As an involved parent, I am interested in moving "beyond the bake sale", to support our academic success for all children. By becoming informed and asking questions we can create public schools of the highest quality -- I encourage you to join in on the conversation! [Click the heading to learn more.]
SFUSD Enrollment season is upon us! This Friday, letters go out to students and families letting them know which schools they can enroll in in this fall. Now that my girls are in the 3rd grade, it is easy to forget the anxiety and worry that many parents are currently feeling. They say: "Hindsight is 20-20." With that in mind, I thought I'd take a moment to provide some perspective for parents who may be nervous right now.
Earlier this month Board of Education Commissioners Sanchez and Cook proposed a resolution which would make changes to SFUSD’s interim assessment policy. Most notably it would allow teachers to opt out of district assessments. Unfortunately, parent voices have been absent from the conversation.
Anti-racist parenting is one of the MOST important ways we can create a tolerant, inclusive world. Here are some resources for busy Bay Area parents.
Sharing personal stories can be a powerful weapon in disrupting negative narratives about People of Color. These videos and discussion recommendations are a helpful resource for educators and parents interested in addressing hate in our schools.
How do we address the hate and violence we are seeing all around us? The answer lies in the way we socialize our children in our schools.
How do you prevent your child from internalizing the racist messages that are so prevalent in our society? Here are three simple ways...
I interviewed my daughter and asked her, "What's your experience with cussing and 'inappropriate language' at your school?" Here's what she said.
Analyzing the dynamics of power and privilege in our classrooms, can inform the ways we structure and support cross-cultural dialogues about race.
As the Black students from elite schools across the country testify, it's STILL hard to be young, gifted and Black in our nation's elite schools.
The big transition into middle school has finally put conversations about smart phones, social media, online safety, in our lap. Here are my updated recommendations for using a Technology Contract to talk with your tweens/teens about tech safety.
It's high time we started tearing down the belief that “grading” schools somehow informs parents or improves education. Not only does it unnecessarily worry parents, it's unfairly blames teachers, increases segregation in our communities and undermines our public education system as a whole.
My "great idea" of bringing Black families together was not met with open arms by all staff at my daughters' school. Despite some initial pushback, though, I'm starting to see positive change.
Many school staff assume families know how to navigate schools. Unfortunately, traditionally marginalized families, such as Black, Latino, low-income and immigrant families, often lack the basic information they need to support the success of their children. Schools that want to support the success of ALL children can answer the following questions for families.
Talking about our entire public school system like it's Armageddon is not only overblown, it does a great disservice to the many dedicated students, families and teachers that pour their time, money and hearts into our schools. There are hundreds of tiny miracles happening in our urban public schools each day that never get media attention. It's time we analyzed why the "failing public schools" narrative is so pervasive nowadays. Who profits when public schools fail?
I recently became the proud mother of two middle school students. We all know the transition from elementary to middle school is a big one for kids. I'm realizing this transition is a big one for families too. With that in mind, I'm taking time to write down my experience in the hope that it will help other educators and parents can better partner with one another to ensure our kids success as they embark of the fun, stressful, exciting and crazy ride that is the middle school experience.
"School choice" is all the rage. Thus, modern parents are faced with a harrowing set of decisions about which schools will best serve their children. This is especially true in cities where, we are told, "bad public schools" lurk around every corner, and "good public schools" are in short supply. With so few spots to go around, parents who choose to apply "most requested" schools may worry their child will find themselves without a school in the fall.
In a time of "Black Lives Matter" is easy to think racism only exists in Black and White. Asians are not immune to racism. Joanna Bradshaw says we need to talk about "positive" Asian stereotypes and the ways they hurt Asians and support anti-black racism.
Learn more about SFUSD's courageous decision to discontinue funding for Teach For America (TFA) and why this is a good move for our neediest kids.
I put together a short Snapchat video showcasing one of the best FREE resources I know in our city for informal learning: your local SF Public Library.
Who would have thought our family would be getting into skateboarding? That I would associate girls and skateboarding? Not me.
This Monday Inspiration comes from Zuri and Stacey Ann who are great at modeling social justice conversations with kids. This mother daughter conversation on their YouTube channel: LivingRoomProtest, they hold a "living room protest" in response to Lila getting told that "girls don't have muscles."
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch skillfully relates two forms of discrimination: racism and discrimination against transgender people. In doing so, she sets a great example of using a familiar concept like racism to explain the ways transgender discrimination works to kids.
Healthy "choices" aren't available for many low-income families in our country. What are you doing to help children at your child's school?
I am sick and tired of parents who have NO experience with public schools, stereotyping our hard-working, caring and knowledgeable teachers, our active and engaged parents, and our bright and creative students... STOP TRASHING OUR SCHOOLS!
This week, has my head swimming. I've been thinking about what happens when Black women name blatant truths... Reflections on Jemele Hill
SURJ Families shares how families can show up in response to the upcoming White Supremacist Rally planned at Crissy field on Saturday, August 26.
Are "progressive" parents advocating for separate-not-equal schools? How gifted educational programs support white supremacy in schools.
I've been online almost nonstop. Reading through Tweets, it's still painfully obvious there are a LOT white "allies" who would rather spend time arguing with Black folks about what we need to do differently when expressing our outrage or identifying the ways white supremacy defends itself.
A recent hashtag got me thinking about cultural appropriation, blackness and white supremacy. But let me explain...
A checklist listing all the information you need to ensure equity and shared-decision making during the school site planning process at your school!
During Black History Month, learn about everyday American heroes who fought against inequality. Here's a great list of books for your child.
History books have improved a lot since my day, but I am sure they still gloss over the fact that our country was built , from its very first days, on the backs of enslaved Africans.
This is an amazing resource for parents or educators wanting to share the richness and diversity of our African-American history and experience through artistic quilts.
Actress Alfre Woodard performs a very moving piece from black abolitionist, and former slave, Sojourner Truth who delivered an impromptu speech before a gathering of feminists in Akron Ohio in 1851.
How do you make sure you are celebrating Black History in a way that values a people's cultural contributions within a social and historical context?
This is a great visual history of social dance, highlighting some of the amazing contributions African-Americans have made in creating American culture.
OK... so in case you didn't know... black people invented stories. Seriously! It's true! You can read about it by learning about one of my favorite folktale heroes... Ananse the Spider
How did Black History Month come about? Why do we celebrate Black History in February? Is it still relevant today?
This hilarious and to the point SNL skit inspired me to write 28 posts highlighting African-American culture and heritage (roughly one for each day of the month)... Watch the video (below) and then read about why it inspired me to write this series
Our district says it cares about Arab students. Nonetheless, when it comes to resourcing schools…
I'm a BIG proponent of Valentines Day as a day for celebrating LOVE of all kinds (non just romantic heterosexual cis-gendered love.) My girls and I do a lot to celebrate the love we have for all the different people in our lives. The following a few books my family LOVES about LOVE!
When you are feeling despair about the road ahead, get inspired by the words and life of Congressman John Lewis.
I'm gearing up for a week of action: family-friendly MLK teach-ins, marches, parent education and…
Each day, I see calls to normalize a Trump presidency while he attempts to stack the…
We say we value parents. Nonetheless, there is much work to be done before our schools are truly welcoming and inclusive for all families. This is my truth.
Matt Haney, SF School Board president is learning that raising "provocative" questions about racism can be downright dangerous. What is the value of renaming schools?
When we don't have the right words, we may avoid important conversations. Here's a great resource to teach your kids proper terms for the LGBTQ community.
Who knew affirming the value of Black life would be such a revolutionary act? Here are my top responses to closet racist friends who say "All Lives Matter"!
It has become painfully clear to me, that the conversations all of us have been having around diversity are in some way a part of the problem. I mean, if diversity programs that were spearheaded 20 years ago were so successful, why is our country still struggling around topics of race?
The tune of this creative video is so catchy, it's got me wanting to hit the road on a family road trip.
San Franciscan Ali Collins' Thoughts on Supervisor Mark Farrell’s Statement on Supervisor Jane Kim’s Call for Chief Suhr to Resign
Come out this Friday to the Herbst Theater in SF and see a great show while supporting efforts to end violence against women.
As a former classroom teacher, I can tell you that teachers work for love of knowledge and love of our kids... and our families too! We all know teachers deserve to be paid more, and have more classroom resources and support. The least we can do is show our appreciation for all they do for our kids. Here are 7 ideas for making Teacher Appreciate Week a big hit for your school's teachers.
My girls and I decided to do a real world math assignment to figure out just how much sugar was in the "goody bags" they brought home from a school birthday celebration. Here's what we learned about math and healthy eating along the way.
SFUSD's new nutrition policy leads the way support healthy habits for our kids. But policies mean nothing if families and teachers don't know about them.
Do you remember the PowerPuff Girls? I just learned about a new website that allows you to turn yourself into a PowerPuff Girl (or... er... boy). And even though this may seem silly, I'm realizing the fact that I (and many other fully grown adults mind you!) have gone silly over a web site that will make you into PowerPuff girl is a great example of why REPRESENTATION MATTERS.
I apologize for any followers of this blog for being a bit MIA lately. I've been busy,…
Many criticize the casting of Zoe Saldana in an upcoming film about Nina Simone, an artist who espoused Black Power and self-determination. I'm not sure Nina would be pleased either... here's why.
Watching these women dance, makes me realize just how ubiquitous the Beyonce-style of dance has become in modern media today. Why does every dance I see on YouTube involve some manner of jiggling ones booty? And why is everyone dressed in a designer bikini with sequins?
This Saturday, March at 11 a.m. at George Washington High School, 600 32nd Ave, in Room 123…
I am so inspired by our young people--they are truly leading the way! It is not surprising that as Lowell BSU students are fighting for the right to be heard, valued and supported in our school they have sisters on the other side of the country who are doing the same.
It's time to stop making excuses for the racism in our schools. Here are Lowell BSU student demands and what we can do to support all students in felling welcome and valued in our schools.
If you hadn't heard, yesterday Lowell students walked out of class to protest ‘racist’ sign at their school:
In case you missed this... here's a little Monday inspiration for you... AGAIN in the form of Marley Dias who initiated a book drive campaign to collect 1000 books with black female characters.
On Thursday, February 11, 2016 I had the HONOR of participating in the National African American Read-In at John Muir Elementary. Here are some tips on holding a Read-In to celebrate diverse books at your school!
Last year, I was dumbfounded to learn students at my daughters' school were unable to participate in the 2015 SFUSD Music Festival. Based on outstanding questions from a list of concerns I sent in January of LAST YEAR (2015!), I urge you to ask the following questions at your child's elementary school.
I am constantly on the lookout for new ways to talk about race and identity in developmentally appropriate ways with kids. Below I've put together tried and true resources (Yes! I REALLY, I tried them) based on my experiences as a mom talking about race with my own kids.
Researchers and educators recommend that we start talking with young children about race and difference as early as preschool to support a healthy development of identity and appreciation of people who are different. Here's how.
Seven and a half year old Ruby explains why girls can do anything boys can do. In fact Ruby is herself a singer, actor, dancer, musician, entrepreneur, skateboarder, artist, and FEMINIST!
I finally understand what has bothered me so much about the misrepresentation of Dr. King's legacy as one of peace (without the protest, thank you very much!)... Cue Morgan Freeman, stage left!
Many parents unwittingly perpetuate segregation in our schools. Why school "choice" is hurting us and our schools.
For anyone who still thinks race "doesn't matter" this is a chilling tale of why that's flat our dangerous for some black folks.
Being being black in America right now is frankly depressing. With all that is happening, the urge to to go back to "business as usual" seems way off base.
There will always be those with a little more, and those with a little less. But, short of sounding like a broken record (and really, how effective is lecturing anyway?)... how do we help our children explore the concept of GRATITUDE in a truly meaningful way?
Something really amazing and positive happened last week... educators and Black students organizing around advocating for educational equity!
CARE proponents (read: Lowell families) who originally marketed their proposal as "two-track accelerated Algebra" have repackaged their plan using the words “optional pathways” and “choice” to advocate for a reinstatement of tracking in SFUSD.
If you haven't heard about the South Carolina incident in which a police officer body slammed a student for "not turning off her cell phone", Google it. It stands as a perfect example of what going wrong in our schools for children of color. It is a jarring example of the drastic disparities in the way we handle discipline for Black and Brown children.
Last Tuesday, I was proud to attend the SFUSD Board of Education meeting to show Black families support for the district’s math sequence.
Seeing this video, reminds me we must continually disrupt patterns of institutionalized racism in our world, even in ourselves!
The reality is... even though grading is one of the MOST ESSENTIAL teacher responsibilities, it's amazing how little support they get in doing it in truly meaningful ways.
This Monday Inspiration comes from a toddler who gives marriage advice to her mommy.
It's not always easy to find books that reflect this diversity however. That's why I wanted to share a great resource for finding new diverse books.
Download this helpful checklist of tasks and materials to help organize and plan for any parent meeting you may have at your site.
Below is a list I recently got from a good friend, Sara D. who like me, is always on the hunt for great books which feature main characters who are NOT of European-American heritage (many of which are girls!)
Come to Mission HS on Sat., Sept. 19 for a free family college & career resource fair for all ages with parent and teen workshops throughout the day.
The other morning... looking at a recent email (including personal attack) made me feel sick to my stomach. As if in response to some secret prayer to the Universe I didn't even know about, while I was trying to think of how to respond (if at all), THIS POST came into my email inbox
Learn more about Black Violin a unique hip-hop group bringing classical violin to a whole new audience.
It turns out, I actually LIKE some of the music my girls and their friends listen to! So much so, that this song has now become an anthem for us when we face our fears and challenges.
Baby owls wake up and their mother is gone! A mommy raccoon eases her baby raccoon's worries about the first day of school. A mommy pig reassures her little one about being away... Use these great books to ease separation anxiety and worries about school.
We all know Back-to-School Sale season is a great time to get extra supplies at great discounts. But did you know it's also a time families can help out our schools? While you're out shopping to get supplies, why not consider getting resources that will make a big difference for teachers this fall?
A new MTV documentary is bringing up conversations about "whiteness". Some on the right are criticizing it for being a vehicle for blaming White people. Those of the left have criticized the film for not going far enough to interrogate the interviewees.
Do you consider yourself an ally but don't know where to start? These are my 5 for my favorite reads about why and how you can use your voice to help fight anti-black racism!
I am so tired of hearing about "bootstraps" and "personal responsibility". Before we get into that discussion, let's first have a talk about "redlining".
Before a 12-year old took on the video game industry, you had to pay to play as a girl. Teach your kids how to fight gender stereotypes in the media.
Folks around me talk in code words to avoid sounding racist and our schools are more segregated than ever. Why I can't talk about race with my "friends".
This year, I'd like to see more Visual and Performing Arts programs in our schools that celebrate the beauty, vibrance, talent and joy of the black culture. Here's my short list of great family/school programs.
Educating yourself AND YOUR CHILDREN on dangerous stereotypes like these is the first step in uncovering implicit bias that we have all been exposed to, but it's NOT ENOUGH. We need to replace negative images of black folks with positive nuanced representations of blacks which show the diversity of the "black experience".
Many parents were educated in traditional classrooms. To advocate effectively, we have to educate ourselves so we don't push for out-dated instruction.
Are you an educator? Do you support social justice? Are you on Twitter yet? If not, with summer in full swing, there is no better time than the present to set up a Twitter account and "curate" a great list of educators and hashtag activists!
America's problems with race are not just a "black problem". As Chris Rock has said they are a white problem or at least and American problem. Healing can't take place if white and other non-black folks don't start talking about racial violence and injustice in our country. And the work starts with each and every one of us.--whether we are black, white, Latino, Asian, mixed, etc...
Kyemah's picture in her prom dress was shared so much over various social media channels it was claimed it "broke the Internet!". Seeing her image and reading her words was nothing short of inspiring.
Many folks still have out-dated ideas of our public schools. Maria Aldaz a proud Mission High School parent, wants you to know why she couldn't be happier.
Have you ever encountered a problem with someone that kept you up at night? Turns out, parenting experience can teach us a lot about how to create positive change in our schools.
Lately, I've been focused a lot on instrumental music. But visual art is also important. Here's why we need to put the arts at the top of our priority list.
My girls and I got to school today and my heart was FILLED with LOVE! In the main office was one of my girls' classmates, a 3rd grade boy, on his own initiative, writing a thank you card for a teacher at our school!
This post by a fellow SFUSD parent has generated quite a bit of constructive dialogue about the "value" of affluent families in public school.
How should education funding impact our expectations about how public schools prioritize their resources? Dale Scott has some thoughts...
We are often so focused on the challenges at hand, we forget to acknowledge all…
Reading through emails from SFUSD parents on the new math sequence, I'd like to clear up misinformation and reinforce some of the great thinking I'm seeing coming out of this debate.
If you are new to hearing about the "accelerated algebra" (aka: tracking) debate in SFUSD, here are a few articles to catch you up to speed.
What better way to spend a beautiful Northern California spring day, than to spend it on a college visit with your children fostering in them the belief that their future is full of possibility!
After months of researching elementary schools, going on tours, and basically talking the issue to death with my husband, we finally got it together to submit our application paperwork for a local SFUSD Kindergarten.... Now what?
Learn how our school is gathering feedback on its enrichment programs using student surveys.
This past fall, I learned that my girls' first experience with our school's instrumental music program…
It took a cancer diagnosis to realize life is too short to worry about being "normal" (whatever that is.) Now that I'm a mom I wonder, "How can I help my kids learn to let their own little "freak flags" fly?"
SFUSD leads the way in designing a new school accountability system which moves away from using ONLY test scores to evaluate school performance.
Sites like GradeEdge.con attack the credibility of some of our hardest working schools. They reinforce the idea that schools that serve poor students are "failing" and thus create more racial and economic segregation in our schools.
Reports like those on the a new GradeEdge website often make very good schools look "low-performing" simply because they serve low income students. This is not only unfair, it's irresponsible because it often leads anxious parents to have incorrect negative assumptions about some very good schools.
We are moving away from two different types of instruction... one for low-performing students based on test-taking and memorization of facts and one for high-performing students where students learn to analyze and critique their own thinking.
The discussion going on about middle school Algebra instruction is raising some good questions about the challenges our district faces regarding both implementation of the new Common Core standards, as well as the difficulty many teachers are experiencing in differentiating for our students. More importantly, it brings up some underlying issues that deserve our attention: communication and accountability
Here are some helpful resources for parents looking to advocate at the classroom, site or district level for quality programming for gifted kids.
We can make some great and positive changes if we implement the following recommendations...
Why we can't talk about honors without understanding the concept of structural racism and how it plays out in our schools.
Eric Barbus of the North Beach Branch of the San Francisco Public Library recommends these GREAT books for advanced upper-elementary readers!
Chesicaleigh is a popular race and culture blogger. Sharing her videos are a great way to celebrate Black History Month by talking about important issues about race.
There is a relationship between gifted programs and systemic racism in our schools. It's time parents and teachers stopped playing the blame game and worked together to create equitable and effective programs for exceptionally bright and talented students.
Black History Month: #7 Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with these kid-friendly videos.
Learn about the first Black American to become a bomber pilot: Les Williams. He is also one of the few surviving Tuskegee Airmen.
This month, I am especially excited to learn more about the African-Americans who have made…
At a time when I am trying to balance healing myself with giving back, the events surrounding the Black Lives Matter Movement have made me feel a need to be even more active in the social justice movement. So, this question has been troubling me. "How can I stay engaged in the movement for social justice in a meaningful AND sustainable way?"
As Americans, we are exposed to a barrage of racial stereotypes that we may or may not be aware of. It is imperative that we dig deep, and get a little uncomfortable at times as we explore the attitudes and beliefs we may have unwittingly have internalized.
We are creating a list of resources for parents of young children to address racial equity in our families, and communities. Do you have any to share?
Masharika Prejean Maddison, Executive Director of Parents for Public Schools - San Francisco (PPS-SF) reflects on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It's already December 15th! Here are some of my favorite books for gift giving this season.
If you have been following my blog, you know I have been deeply moved by the…
In case you don't follow Twitter, this is what's happening today... I wish I could…
OK... I just want to say thank you to all those out there who knew…
I've been talking with my family about ways to focus on GIVING rather than RECEIVING this holiday. Here are two ways to get the conversation started.
One of the biggest shifts in the new English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is exposing children to a balance of fiction and non-fiction. Here are three of our family's favorite kids magazine with explanations of what make them great reads.
"My hope emerges from those places of struggle where I witness individuals positively transforming their lives…
Every weekend, we spend some time together as a family and go outside together. We call them our "Family Activity Days", or FAD for short. We try to keep it active, like city hikes, or bike riding or "soccer". But mostly, it's just having fun together and being grateful that we have this amazing time together. Here are a few of the things we've been doing this fall in the Bay Area.
I recently received an open letter via email from Neva Walker, the Executive Director of Coleman Advocates. In it she explains why events in Ferguson are personal, and why they fuel her work for positive social change
Parents often wonder what good teaching looks like in the classroom. Now that the Common Core is being implemented in all SFUSD classrooms and across the state it becomes more and more important for parents and educators to build an understanding of how good instruction looks.
I LOVE blogging. I can't tell you how much it has changed my life. At first, it was a way for me to organize my thinking. As I've continued to grow and evolve as a blogger, I've realized how much it connects me with a larger community and has helped me grow as a person. Here are some reason I believe every educator should blog...
Watching this video was disturbing. I am glad I saw it and was very impressed with how the young men handled themselves. I don’t have a problem with the park department making revenue off of some services. nonetheless, any decisions made about changing park use should be made in collaboration with neighborhood residents and regular park users. Clearly, the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) needs to do a better job of working with park users to ensure everyone has what they feel is fair access to our neighborhood parks.
Lately, I've been obsessed with technology safety. The more my kids get online, the more I realize I need to get involved in talking with them about using it safely. Most of my focus has been about online safety for younger kids. That said, my girls are closely approaching the tween/teen years and I will have to broach the topic of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and Twitter.
#Ferguson is now quickly fading from headlines as other current events claim center stage in the media. Nonetheless, the #Ferguson story won't ever fit into a sound bite, and as long as systemic racism persists in our country, it is important to continue to talk about race, privilege and power in our country.
As an educator, I will never tire of learning how the brain works. To this end, I recently came across a video series. The video I've posted below is about neuroplasticity, which refers to the ways the brain changes in as a result of new thoughts, behaviors, feelings or experiences. Researchers are learning the brain has a lot more plasticity than we ever thought possible before.
Did you know you can use Siri to look up inappropriate pictures on the Web? I didn't until I had a recent conversation about online safety with a friend. Here's how to set restrictions on your iPhone or iPad to keep your kids safe.
Both my daughter and I would have liked to unsee the images and words contained in this world, called "Mate With Me". Unfortunately, what's done is done. The only positive from this experience, has been the conversations and learning we've embarked on as a family about Internet safety.
I was always one of those folks that said, "I'm not a math person." Now I realize... I actually am! Math isn't just about getting the answer quickly or doing calculations, it's also about thinking critically, being able to problem-solve, and explain your thinking to others... "thinking like a mathematician."
If you are a parent or teacher, you will surely have had this conversation. The conversation that happens when your child or student starts talking ... uncomfortably at first ... about something that she saw, heard, or did that was seriously inappropriate... [Read more.]
Lately, what has been most striking, has been witnessing how much I have changed... especially this past year. This change was not brought about by a desire to "reinvent my look" or streamline my morning beauty routine. It represents a profound change in our families core existence. What happened? [read more}
If you haven't tried writing a collective list as a family, I highly recommend it. Just by putting a list together, I think we came up with more ideas, and that inspired us to be more adventurous as a family. I never would have dreamed we would come up with so many fun ideas to try, but this last list brings us to 100+ ( ! ) and I can't believe how much fun we had and how much we did.
Kids always do better on a schedule. When I learned Michele Obama taught her girls to wake up and get ready for school when they were in kindergarten, I had to try it with my girls, who were already well into second grade. I have to say, it was much easier than you'd think.
You can criticize Twitter all you want. Nonetheless, it is shaping the ways we talk about events in Ferguson... and holding folks accountable.
I'll start out this post by telling you that the #Ferguson story is personal for me. I have family in St. Louis. My grandmother was born in a small farmhouse just minutes away from the Michael Brown shooting. I have cousins who live in the suburbs nearby. For this reason, over the past several days I have watched in horror as the events in Ferguson, Missouri have unfolded.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1023"] This awesome dad hired a local skateboarder to teach his daughter and…
WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS! ... including those about gay, lesbian, and transgendered families. A new publishing company is setting out to create more storybooks to highlight LGBTQ families. Support their kickstarter campaign!
The controversy over Nicki Minaj's latest album cover has me wondering... "Whose idea of feminism is this anyway?" Why mainstream media is way off when it comes to understanding women's lib.
Here is the THIRD list in my Summer Bucket List series! What family activities are you doing this summer?
Do you have questions on the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? Here are four parent-friendly resources to help you support your child's learning.
Here is the second list in my Summer Bucket List series! What are you doing this summer?
The confusion others express about by my perceived racial ambiguity, has proven to be both beneficial and problematic. I get to hear what white people say about blacks when they don't know black people (in this case ME) are listening... Sometimes they say these things to my face. This experience made me intensely aware of the "privilege" of my skin color.
I LOVE LISTS! Not only did writing this list become a fun family project... it inspired us all to think about new family activities we wanted to try this summer. What are you doing this summer?
After months of hopeful preparation for an improved education budget, SFUSD reels after learning about the governor's new teacher pension plan
Mr. Eric Guthertz, Mission High School's principal received the Principal of the Year award today…
It is important to have a wide range of diverse books for children to read. Learn about how you can support the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign May 1-3, 2014.
As involved parents, we wrestle with new methods of instruction. We want to help, but may feel at a loss when confronted by new terminology, methodology and new teaching techniques. One of the biggest shifts in the new standards is more emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. In addition, as our schools move away from tracked classroom, teachers are expected to provide differentiated instruction. What does GOOD differentiated instruction look like when teaching the new Common Core aligned math?
We do check-ins almost every day on our walk home from school. I give the topic and we all take turns answering. Sometimes we do this to get conversation going at the dinner table. Now, instead of asking "How was your day?" And getting vague answers like : "fine" or "OK". I end up learning how my kids are REALLY doing. I also learn more about the wonderful people they are... [Read more.]
Learn how the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will change funding for CA public schools. Learn more about the new funding formula and find out how SFUSD is gathering input from families to create its Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).
Our public schools get a lot of bad rap and so does raising a family in the city. Because of that fact, I have decided to share a little love for our neighborhood public schools and let more families know about how wonderfully family-friendly it can be to raise kids in the city. Because I can only speak to my experience, I will share information about family friendly happenings in the North Eastern area of SF: Russian Hill, Nob Hill, North Beach and Chinatown. [Read more...]
The wonderful thing about the Internet is there is so much out there. Lately, I've been feeling the love for all the wonderful educators and parents who are sharing all the great literature that is out there for teens today. Here are a few of my favorites YA book reviewers of late with a little bit about them from their websites.
Check out my new Pinterest boards for some great new reads!
I am so excited about math lately! I just learned about some great resources highlighted on the PBS Education site for teachers! Check out the new Math Is AweSum! collection which includes resources from Math at the Core (middle school Common Core State Standards (CCSS) aligned math resources), and Khan Academy (for grade 3-12), and more.
Did you know that STAR testing, (the CA State mandated standardized test) is going the way of the dinosaur? This spring the District will participate in a field testing of a new better assessment system. Read how this assessment is dramatically different from the old STAR test.
Next year will be the first year that SFUSD will implement a NEW course sequence aligned with the new Common Core State Standards in Math (CCSS-M). SFUSD Commissioner Rachel Norton identified a key question on parents minds, "Is the rigor students need going to be represented in the new course sequence?" This is a good question. Nonetheless, I believe there is a more important conversation going on.
So we know teachers. We get teachers. We know what happens in classrooms, and we know what teachers do. We know which teachers are effective, we know which teachers left lasting impressions, we know which teachers changed our lives, and we know which teachers sucked. We know. We know which teachers changed lives for the better. We know which teachers changed lives for the worse. Teaching as a profession has no mystery. It has no mystique. It has no respect." - Sarah Blaine
One of the best things about being a parent or teacher is you get a "do over". Ever feel guilty that you didn't read many of the classics? Well now is your chance! Not only do you now have the excuse, nay the obligation, to while away your time reading a good-old-fashioned book, you have the opportunity to share some really great books with a new generation.
A few years ago, my daughters and I were very lucky to participate in our school's first Chinese New Year Fundraiser, an amazing event sponsored by Jean Parker Elementary's Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). This event is now entering its third year, and I am still not aware of any other like it in the city.
Check out these online resources for teachers and parents to share non-fiction stories about teens who are "Different Like Me". This series highlights the stories of young people who have learned to overcome/embrace experiences that make them unique.
For the first time I can kind of relate to those crazy Fox News pundits who sound the alarm about the supposed "War of Christmas!!!!". Early this morning I found myself searching Twitter (#MLKDay #ThankYouMLK) to see how people are celebrating our great American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. All over the country, folks are tweeting MLK quotes, and sharing ideas about how to carry on Dr. King's legacy. Unfortunately, there are an almost equal amount of "Yay, no school/work! Thank you MLK!" tweets as well. My response: sideways unhappy face 🙁
What would happen if you filmed your children's experiences for 13 years from kindergarten through high school graduation and put it all together to make a film? If you were filmmakers, Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, the result would be a new film called American Promise. This film, which won a Sundance Jury Award, airs nationally on PBS on February 3, 2014.
The other day, my husband and I were blown away by a specific comment that one of my girls made during a routine squabble. Daughter "A" decided to pull out the big guns in their verbal tête-à-tête when she "casually" told Daughter "B"... "Your butt is big." (!) ...
The simple act of talking about skin color, may seem superficial. Nonetheless, it can be an important first step in talking about race with very young children and is surprisingly absent from many (White) parents' conversations with their kids.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1008"] Math instruction today looks a lot different than the math most…
Ready to challenge your ideas about girls and sports? I consider myself pretty progressive. Nonetheless,…
Over the past few weeks there has been quite a bit of conversation on the…
Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to know algebra to help your child succeed in high school. In fact, research by Professor Nancy Hill of Harvard University, shows,that when parents helped teens to do their homework it actually had a negative effect!
Research shows that parents can have a big impact by creating a structured, well-supported environment at home. The developmental needs of children, and the school environments vary considerably at different grade levels. Nonetheless, the tips I'll share below apply to ages.
(This is the third and final blog post on becoming a school volunteer. Click here…
(This article is the first in a series of three on becoming a school volunteer.)Let's…
San Francisco families of four and five-year olds will be the first to benefit from…
It's a good time for Pre-school and Elementary school families to get educated and share…
Last week my daughters came home from kindergarten with an INCREDIBLE bag full of school…
With all of the differing definitions of kindergarden and kindergarten readiness over time, across cultures and communities, and even between teachers and parents, how can families know if their youngsters are ready for their first day of school?
For those of you with older kids, I am reposting an article from the blog,…
How do you start the conversation with little kids? I've always found books to be a great resource. My girls and I can read a story and along the way ask questions about how the characters look, feel and act. When in doubt... find a book!
This week I just couldn't get enough of celebrating Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. I come from a bi-racial family, and if it weren't for his and others' tireless work, my parents might not have come together.
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These posts highlight great videos that can be shared with your kids, parents or other educators.