• February 2022

    The World is Knocking

    The World is Knocking By Lisa Catterall He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.– Friedrich Nietzsche This week I had the pleasure of teaching in a true N95 mask for the first time. Due to the current escapades of our favorite evil little spike protein, my school thoughtfully gave the teachers each a precious, high-grade mask. I feel cared for and protected, and I also feel as if an anvil is smashing my face all day long.The mask muffles my voice. Many years ago, I got laryngitis but wasn’t ill, and I came to school and taught in silence. It worked oddly well; I can…

  • January 2022

    Empowering Youth

    Empowering Youth and Addressing Bullying From Bystander to Upstander By Jessica Zovar In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. – Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember walking the halls as a timid sixth grader, hearing unkind words directed toward others echoing off the walls, and fearful that standing up for myself or others against hurtful words could have major implications. Let’s be honest; middle school is not always the friendliest of landscapes. Often the dreamy-eyed wonder of childhood is waning, identities are on shaky ground and youth yearn for belonging and acceptance from their peers.  As a licensed marriage and…

  • October 2021

    Technology Engineering and Art

    The Educational Needs of This Generation Technology, Engineering and Art By Lisa Catterall Art is a universal human language. Direct connections exist between how much art students learn and their success in all academic subjects and as members of communities. Our schools will improve if they deliver quality arts education to all students. The students deserve nothing less. – James S. Catterall My office just became host to a tray of smiling, blinking robotic bees happily keeping me company as I prepare for my classes. I met my first graders today and their teacher introduced me as their “makers teacher,” and I said, “Oh no, these bees are going to…

  • September 2021

    Leap of Faith

    A Leap of Faith By Lisa Catterall To all parents and caregivers starting the school year with special needs kids and waiting with hope, fear, faith, and some worry that it just can’t possibly work out, I feel you. “Some of the most wonderful people are the ones that don’t fit into boxes.”–Tori Amos Forever burned into my memory is the image I saw this week, of my daughter holding the hand of another little girl and her teacher, walking away from me through the open gates of her new school. I just turned around and started sobbing. My entire family and extended family were there, and all of them,…

  • August 2021

    Back in Person

    Back to In-Person by lisa catteral There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.– Margaret Wheatley This summer, I’ve been teaching in a program where I feel compelled to state up front, every day, at the beginning of class, with great passion, my honoring and inclusion of BIPOC and LBGTQIA+ students. I say it a little differently every time so that it doesn’t become too redundant, but I am simply relentless about stating it clearly, daily, every single time. It’s become an ingrained part of my teaching practice. There are so many ways in which a culture or society insists on change in…

  • May 2021

    Joy Blossoms

    A Place for Joy to Blossom By Lisa Catterall I wonder why, when parents choose schools for their kids, they don’t ask students at the school whether they experience happiness in class every day? “The joy in learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running.” – Simone Weil Anything that enters a human brain through the senses passes through a simple triage process. Standing at the triage station is the amygdala, and it has three modes: “Danger – run away!” is one; “Happy happy joy joy!” is another; and the third is simply “neutral.” When the amygdala senses danger, every other brain function funnels energy into running…

  • March 2021

    Teaching During COVID

    Teaching and Learning in the Time of COVID-19 By Patricia Lucas, Spanish teacher at Gateway School As a teacher of over forty years, I felt I had  “seen it all” — every educational trend, methodology, pedagogy, and innovation. This most recent challenge sent this “maestra”, a World Language middle school teacher at Gateway School, into a near free fall. The educational challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic have caught all educational constituents off guard scrambling for the best ways to move forward. My students’ varying responses to Distance Learning have brought me new insights, unexpected innovation, flexibility and challenges. It is my belief that the most critical need for all students is…

  • November 2020

    In-School Learning

    Children are Parched for In-School Learning By Lisa Catterall I’ve learned that terror doesn’t happen because some group of people somewhere like Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate us. It happens because children aren’t being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death. – Greg Mortensen, 2009 My feet were dry and dusty. The heat was almost unbearable, and the smell of untreated sewage rolled along the dirt parking lot in clouds. The wall around the school in West Africa was the same dun brown as the dried out earth around it, with sharp metal spikes on top and a chain link…

  • October 2020

    Rebirth

    Rebirth By Lisa Catterall Every particle in the universe was once contained in an infinitesimal speck…a theoretical point in the void with no measurement. It must have been very heavy. After an explosion, the particles of the current universe moved rapidly outwards, gathering into tiny molecules then forming and reforming into more organized forms. In the smallest split second, the tiniest moment of this timeline, life on Earth existed and evolved and became the now, 2020. Some say it is the worst number yet. A complete disaster. A slowly filling “bingo card” of horrific and chaotic events. Yes, and… If you are a human being, like me, for whom the…