When we discuss public schools, whose voices are at the table?    When curriculum is being developed, who has real input?   When decisions at the school level are being made, who is involved in making those decisions?   When policy impacting schools is being developed, who is speaking at the policy- making table?

Anytime I have seen a successful, thriving school community–no matter how large or small–there has been a deep-rooted organizational and cultural belief that as many voices as possible should be involved in the creation of that community.   It is through those many voices that something collectively strong emerges – an identity, a sense of self-efficacy, buy-in, mutual support, community, power.

As a grassroots school here in Baltimore, we posit that real decisions should be made closest to the ground and with many voices at the table.  Whether through our parent-school cooperative, our commitment to teacher autonomy and voice, our myriad avenues for student voice and advocacy, our Boards–which are comprised of parents, students, teachers, and principals–our commitment to emergent learning, or simply the way we strive to dialog, assume the best intentions, or be in partnership, we believe in the ideals of democracy in education.

Democracy isn’t always perfect or efficient.   Sometimes it can be downright messy.   But whether it’s deciding new initiatives, creating community events, hiring staff, constructing and approving our budget, revising our bylaws, changing policy, or just having conversations about things that matter to us, it is our commitment that those of us who are closest to our students, to our mission, and to each other are the co-creators of this educational experience for children today, tomorrow, and for decades to come.

Beginning this year, we want this platform to be one that showcases many voices – teachers, students, parents, Board members, community partners, school leaders, and more.   These are the voices of our community, our creation, and the heart of public education here at City Neighbors.

Welcome to the new City Neighbors Foundation Blog.

Mike Chalupa, Director

Registration is now open for the 7th Annual Progressive Education Summit on Saturday, January 27th.  The Summit is our annual conference with over 40 workshops, 3 master classes, a delicious lunch, and this year a resource fair and ignite talks.

Why come to the Summit? There are so many reasons! Just to get us started, here are the top three reasons to come to the Summit this year:

#1
Because you are an educator who wants to keep learning. You see children as powerful, capable, and worthy of the deepest respect, and you are determined to continually hone your skills, build your network and create for yourself an environment of learning, growth and well being.

#2.
Because you love to hear from inspirational people. Keynote Ron Ritchhart is an important thought leader and you enjoy hearing from people in the field. You will come away with new ideas, new practices, new connections.  You want to be around folks who know how to put theory into practice and believe things like this:

“A culture of thinking produces the feelings, energy, and even joy that can propel learning forward and motivate us to do what at times can be hard and challenging mental work.”

― Ron Ritchhart, Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools

#3.
You know that in the midst of the winter days it will be wonderful to gather at the Summit.  You will be at City Neighbors with hundreds of educators, non profits, parents, students, and more…and feel the warmth of being with so many people who care passionately about teaching and learning. We need each other.

Do you have more reasons you would like to add?  Please add your comments below.

Register Here!

More about the Summit on the City Neighbors Foundation Website.

See you there!

– The City Neighbors Summit Team

Dr. Shyla Rao, Principal, City Neighbors Hamilton

This year at City Neighbors Hamilton (our 2nd City Neighbors school, K-8 est. 2009) we welcome Dr. Shyla Rao as our new school leader.  Already Dr. Shyla (as the kids call her) is deep in the work of getting to know the students, connecting and supporting her teachers, and focusing on the health and well-being of the community. She has entered into our fast-paced environment right in stride – literally! On a recent Sunday, Dr. Shyla offered a walk around Lake Montebello for any parents and students who wanted to connect. It was a beautiful day. Dr. Shyla said it led to some great conversations, fresh air, and the fun of being out in the community together.

Here’s another fun detail about Dr. Shyla: Every week, she sends out a faculty bulletin to her staff that includes all the nuts and bolts, a calendar for the week, meetings, notes, and of course a quick message.  I asked her if I could share the message from Week 1.  She calls her bulletin: “What’s Good?… For Staff. The idea of taking good care of yourself – straight from Dr. Shyla Rao.” Here’s the first message of the school year:

Faculty Bulletin   September 5-8

Welcome to a brand new school year!  Let’s all begin this year with hope, optimism, and focused attention on our learners.  Let’s make decisions based upon what’s best for the students, and remind each other to maintain a work-life balance for ourselves.

“What are you doing? You ask.

“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”

“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”

“Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat! This is hard work.”

“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it will go a lot faster.”

“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically.  “I’m too busy sawing!”

Covey, Stephen R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Please take time to sharpen your saw.  I hold true to my Sacred Saturdays (no work, no email, no work texts) every weekend, except for the first and last of each semester. What do you hold sacred for yourself?

-Shyla

How wonderful to start the journey of a new school year, and a new leader, with such an inspiring message of well-being and mindfulness. As much as our students need these messages, so do our teachers and school leaders. We all need to take care of each other. And, as Dr. Shyla is demonstrating, we can have fun doing it!

 

 

cityneighborsfoundationblog

Thoughts and ideas on great public education in Baltimore City

Stories of U.S.

Connecting communities through storytelling.

On the arts and education

with Chris Ford, Director of Baltimore School for the Arts

Cadmus38

looking for the adventure in life

eduflow

This site is dedicated to education, philosophy, spirituality, leadership, management, social commentary and self-actualization.

lauraagudelo272

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Michael W. Clark

michaelwclark.com

annotated audrey art

ART, GIFTS AND ACCESSORIES

Fisticuffs and Shenanigans

It was all fun and games, until the fisticuffs and shenanigans... -Deutschmarc

Perception

Photography. Life.

Pilotstories

Der Luftfahrt Blog

Eric Weiskott

Associate Professor of English at Boston College

Eastern Lightning

Eastern Lightning, the Church of Almighty God was created because of the appearance and work of Almighty God, the second coming of the Lord Jesus, Christ of the last days. It is made up of all those who accept Almighty God’s work in the last days and are conquered and saved by His words. It was entirely founded by Almighty God personally and is led by Him as the Shepherd. It was definitely not created by a person. Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. God’s sheep hear God’s voice. As long as you read the words of Almighty God, you will see God has appeared.

aliaptech1

Ali. Elzubair

d|gI+Al hEGeM0n ...d|g|Z|nE

Works of Thought... And Pictures of My Soul

Bilawal Says

Bhutto Is Back for a Peaceful, Prosperous & Progressive Pakistan