This week I celebrate two great professional development events. Our district ESL teachers gathered for a day focused on immigration. We started with studying a resolution to reaffirm the commitment to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all students regardless of immigration status passed by our school board this week. In addition to explicit actions required by federal law, we discussed expectations such as recognizing and valuing the diversity immigrant students and their families bring to our schools, continuing to increase and enhance programs that support and assist them, and ensuring that all students are treated with dignity and respect in an environment free from intimidation, bullying, and discrimination. We shared what is already going on in our schools and brainstormed new ideas for working toward these goals. Two immigration lawyers gave informative presentations and led lively Q and A sessions. We also heard from a representative from the Catholic Charity that leads in refugee resettlement in our city. Altogether, it was an important and informative discussion, and one we will now take the lead in with our school staff.
Today, along with a large group of educators, I was in a workshop led by Donalyn Miller. So many great ideas! The hours went by like minutes, and when we reached the end of our time together, there was an audible groan that filtered through the university lecture hall where we met. I’ve “known” Donalyn for years, since I began reading her “Book Whisperer” blog and then read her two books. You notice I used her first name- because she already seemed like a friend. And the day was very much like a long conversation with a friend. If you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak, make sure to get there! Read her books The Book Whisperer and Reading In the Wild. Watch for a new book, as yet untitled. Look for her online on Twitter, Facebook, Scholastic, and the Nerdy Book Club blog.
I celebrate this week which brought me opportunities to grow as an educator and as a person.