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How a Pastor’s God-Sized Dream Helped Kids Be Ready for School

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” said Eleanor Roosevelt. Thanks to Courage & Renewal, Reverend Carol Zaagsma found the courage and clarity to claim her “God-sized dream”of giving kids a safe place to learn and play during the summer. Reverend Carol was in her sixth year as a  Continue Reading »

New Leaf Leadership Academy: Where High Schoolers Learn Lessons for All of Life’s Journeys

Refocusing Education “I was so used to a traditional school where if I didn’t know the answer I’d just ask the teacher. But Rona makes me figure it out myself. It’s important to live through your own questions, and find your own answers—it’s more meaningful!” said Amanda Rainey, a high school senior at the New  Continue Reading »

The Magic of Easy-Bake Oven Brownies (Or, How I Accidentally Became an Educator)

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’ ‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit. ‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always  Continue Reading »

How to Build Trust in Schools

Sometimes I scratch my head when I read about the government’s efforts to improve schools: new standards and tests that have to be implemented immediately, punitive teacher evaluations, and threats of school closures and job losses. All methods that I’m sure have the school employees’ amygdalae firing off 24/7, not to mention the students’. Instead  Continue Reading »

Teaching: Thriving Not Surviving

Did you get in teaching to help kids and make a difference in the world? Are you finding it difficult to stay the course? Unrealistic state standards and testing, budget cuts, large class sizes, and an all-time low in respect for teachers are constantly putting the squeeze on our minds and spirits. How do we  Continue Reading »

9 Best Teaching Practices for Cultural Competency

Editor’s Note: Teachers have a special leadership role to play with their students, with their colleagues and with the communities they serve. As a new school year begins in the wake of the tragic shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Teacher Katy Reedy of Educurious offers a powerful call to action in this guest  Continue Reading »

A Call to Teach for Equity

Some say education is the civil rights issue of our time. Robert Moses, of the Algebra Project, says children are the civil rights issue of this century. “In this 21st Century,” he said, “we need to include the children. They need to have a constitutional right to an education in this country.” Teaching for Equity  Continue Reading »

How Walk and Talks Transformed a Freshman Class

“There is no curriculum, no test prep software, nothing out there that will make teachers better or improve education in this country more than Courage work,” said Ellie Gilbert, a 9th grade teacher from Oregon. Ellie was a teacher for only three years before she felt completely burned out. “At 22, I felt passion was  Continue Reading »

A Year at Mission Hill – Chapter 10: The Freedom to Teach

This ten minute video clip is inspiring and heart breaking. It is a clear example of a group of educators trying to heal the heart of democracy. (The work that Parker J. Palmer calls us to in his latest book. Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create A Politics Worthy of the Human  Continue Reading »

What makes a great school?

I spent more than thirty years teaching in public schools and I suspect that most teachers, students, and parents would agree that this is a complicated question. I believe that any democratic society, and this nation in particular, depends upon strong public schools that prepare students to thrive in every sense of that word. Yet  Continue Reading »