Saturday, July 25, 2015

NBPTS Academy 2015 in Phoenix AZ #NBCTstrong

I felt so energetic with a new sense of direction after I came back from the recent NBPTS Academy in Phoenix AZ which was attended by more than 170 network leaders from 30 states in the US. The most valuable aspect of the NBPTS Academy was the inspiration created from meaningful collaboration and sharing of successful work from network leaders in other states/ school districts. 
I started the DC NBCT Network with a small group of NBCTs here in DC in 2010 and because of the political and organizational barriers, our plans of launching the network, organizing and mobilizing was halted. After I saw the unbelievable NBCT data for Washington DC a few months ago (we have 51 NBCTs, which is 1% of 4,000 DC teachers and only 1 certified last year) I knew I had to do something. Together with our allies, we can increase the number of our National Board Certified Teachers because I strongly believe that we have more than 1% great teachers in DC who can help elevate our teaching profession. This is our profession and it is time for our  teachers to be in charge of it! 
I went to the NBPTS Academy in Phoenix, AZ last July 19 without a clue if we were moving to the right direction with all the efforts that we have already done to encourage other Washington DC teachers to pursue accomplished teaching and enact the mission & vision of NBPTS. 
At the NBPTS Academy, I not only connected with wonderful like-minded NBCTs and teacher leaders who are having the same challenges. I also learned about different ways and strategies on how they were able to overcome them and succeed! I left Phoenix AZ on July 21 with a feeling of great accomplishment for our baby steps, an action plan that I strongly believe will work, and a group of amazing educators who are giving me the strength to carry on no matter what. 
Here are some of the highlights of my stay:

Friday, July 03, 2015

Remembering Ron

Flowers freshly picked from my garden invigorates our home. Thinking about Ron Thorpe, the visionary leader of the National Board since 2011, whose passion for accomplished teaching is beyond contagious. Reflecting on the extraordinary work he has initiated to elevate our profession, he has touched and inspired many of us! A great man...

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter, everyone!

Hope everyone 's enjoying this beautiful weather with family and friends, Happy Easter! Just dropping by to let you know that I "cleaned up my store" and did some updates too! I will be posting more soon, it's always great to receive your wonderful comments and feedback. Thank you and all the best!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Invitation to Teach Your Craft at Learnivore

Happy New Year, everyone! I thought some of you might be interested in teaching your expertise or sharing them with students who are interested to be good at what you do. Just found this one... is a marketplace to connect students with private instructors in the arts, athletics, and academics by creating a free profile (for both students and instructors). The site just launched, and I'm trying to encourage as many high quality instructors to join as possible. I believe that some of you, with your years of experience, qualify as highly qualified instructors. Once again, it is 100% FREE. I am also using Learnivore and you can get an idea about what I do by looking at my instructor profile here. You can create your own profile and spread your expertise as well, here's the link:

Right now we're focused on building a community and making it as big as possible, so that educator extraordinaires (like you) have a great place to let people know your expertise and potential students of all ages have a place to find people who teach them.

You can post multiple profiles, one for every discipline you are good at and are willing to each. So if someone teaches both fitness and academics, or photography and athletics they could post two profiles or more. Also, you can differentiate yourself by price, skills, education, and more. Creating a profile is very fast, easy, and convenient! It involves 4 pages that take about 5 minutes total to complete. When you create a profile you get to reflect on why it is you love teaching your particular field of interest. You can also post documents, photos, videos, and audio files to enhance your profiles.

I firmly believe that this would be a great opportunity for you to spread your expertise the
21st Century way! Please let me know if you have any questions.

All the best!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

National Board resources & supports in DC

WTU/AFT Teacher Leaders amplifying our voice during a productive education policy conversation with State Superintendent of Education Jesus Aguirre on Saturday, 12.13.2014 at the WTU Headquarters.
Dear Superintendent Jesus Aguirre,
Thank you for a very engaging discussion with us, the WTU Teacher Leaders, last Saturday at the WTU Office. Your support of the National Board Certification  means a lot for our students, teachers and the future of the education profession in the District of Columbia.
We all know that NBC has a positive impact on student achievement, teacher retention and professional development, and as evidence, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies published a comprehensive review of the studies to date in 2008 (please see attachment). I have also attached the DC state profile and other state rankings for your perusal. This year, only one teacher in DC achieved certification and we owe to our students and our profession to make it the majority...with your help.
To help increase the number of NBCT's in DC in the future, we need to have the right resources and supports for those who are going through the process of certification. In the past, there were supports given by OSSE- Educator Licensure and Accreditation unit in the form of financial supports, six recertification units/ 90 clock hours, and other grants. We recently checked the OSSE website  and we have not found any supports for our national board candidates. Every student in America deserves to be taught by accomplished, Board-certified teachers. We hope that you can help make this happen.
Wishing you and your family a Happy Holidays!
Maria Angala, NBCT

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Judge returns special-education oversight to DC schools

A federal judge has ended judicial oversight of special-education programs in Washington, D.C., schools. Officials say schools have made progress, such as improving delivery of services and reducing formal complaints. The Washington Post

Monday, December 15, 2014

You're Invited to T&L2015!

As a member of the advisory board of this exciting event, I am helping promote this conference and I hope you can share this to our colleagues as well. 

Please join us in celebrating our teaching profession on March 13-14 at the 2015 Teaching & Learning Conference here in Washington DC. For more details please check out the website: . 

See you there!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Congratulations, Share My Lesson!

Congratulations, SML!! I shared 75 classroom resources here, and grabbing awesome free resources from other teachers across the country. This is a great way for us to make a difference to more than just the students in our classroom!
Check it out!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

HR 5 (Student Success Act) Follow Up

Here's the latest message from the Council for Exceptional Children to everyone working with students with special needs about the Student Success Act (HR5):

This bill contains loopholes for students with disabilities so large you can drive a bus through them.
-- Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) during the HR 5 debate, July 19, 2013
Dear CEC Members:
Loopholes.  Low expectations.  Exclusion from accountability and assessments.  Significant step backwards.
These were just some of the concerns for students with disabilities raised by Members of Congress during the debate last week about the Student Success Act (HR 5), legislation that rewrites the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  (See related Policy Insider Blog story here)

Thank you for answering our call to contact your Representative to oppose HR 5! In just three days leading up to the vote, hundreds of offices on Capitol Hill heard from CEC members!
Unfortunately, HR 5 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 221-207.  
Thank you imageFortunately, President Obama has said that he will veto this bill if it comes to his desk.
While this was not our desired outcome, members of Congress from both political parties raised significant concerns about  HR 5’s negative impact on students with disabilities, which resulted in a commitment from Chairman Kline – the bill’s lead negotiator – to work to better address these issues as the bill progresses through the legislative process, which has a long road ahead. Read CEC’s list of concerns about HR 5 here.
HR 5 represents a very different vision from the Senate’s version of the bill, which has passed the Senate Education Committee but has not been considered by the full Senate. To become law, the many differences between the two bills will have to be worked out once the Senate acts.  Read CEC’s full recap of the HR 5 debate and CEC’s letter about the Senate bill.
In the coming weeks, we will need more voices and more outreach!  Be on the lookout for future CEC Action Alerts, and in the meantime, keep informed by reading CEC’s Policy Insider Blog and follow us on twitter @CECAdvocacy.
Thank you again – your outreach brought students with disabilities into the HR 5 debate!  
-- CEC’s Policy and Advocacy Team

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Using Instagram in the Classroom

This is what I truly love about summer vacations, it allows us teachers to catch up with technology tools and learn how to integrate them in the classroom. I just joined Instagram last week after a friend of mine encouraged me to try it out and post my vacation photos there. You guessed it right! I was uploading, was trying different kinds of editing tools to enhance my photos, and learning all of these cool features in just a matter of minutes. I immediately saw the artistic use of Instagram, and knowing that many of my middle school students are using this app on their phones my ideas on how to use this in the classroom went wild!

Here's my proof, click on this widget: Instagram

How can we incorporate Instagram in the classroom? Education Rethink suggests Ten Ideas for using Instagram in the Classroom.

1. Digital Storytelling: I started doing Show and Tell awhile ago, after Tom suggested that it could be a powerful way for students to share their stories. I'm going to do that this year. However, I'm also going to give students the option of taking pictures from their neighborhood. They can tell their story visually, annotating it through their comments on each picture.
2. Grammar Practice: Photography can be a great place to practice grammatical structures. It can be something as simple as writing a functional text (I had been walking down the street when I saw . . .) Or it could be a way to practice, sequentially, the grammatical structure using their world as the context.

3. Photojournalism: Similar to digital storytelling, this would allow students to explore issues in their world through a visual medium. I want them to engage in citizen journalism. Whether it's a school sporting event or an immigration sweep, a classroom community service activity or a local election, students can use the mobile devices to express their social voice.

4. Photo Prompts: Last year, I found photographs and created writing prompts. Sometimes, they were geared toward poetry or narrative while other times they were persuasive or informational. I will encourage students to develop their own photo prompts using Instagram.
5. Metaphors: I will give students concepts from any of the subject areas and ask students to find a metaphor that fits the concept. They will use Instagram to find the metaphor and then describe it in the comments section.

6. Photos for Blogs: This is pretty simple, but I want students to start adding their own photographs to some of their blog posts. There's something powerful about looking at a post and realizing that the photograph and the writing both originated from the same author. (Below: at some point I want to write a post on the upside of being distracted)

7. Find the Context: I want my students to document math that they see in their world. I'm thinking Instagram can be a great place to document things like linear relationships, data, fractions, etc.
8. Ethnographic Study: I've done this before in social studies in writing. I'm thinking it might work as a blended activity of writing and pictures. I'd love to see them take photographs of the spaces they inhabit and then analyze the cultural, political, social and economic elements that define the space.
9. Sharing Art: I love to sketch. I love to doodle. And yet, I've rarely posted my drawings to Instagram. I'm wondering what it would look like to blend the art of photography with pencil and paper or with painting.

10.Just Let Them Take Pictures: I'm thinking of letting kids take pictures for the sake of taking pictures. Let a few of them fall in love with photography. Let them find the beauty in their world and share it with others and then see what kind of conversations occur afterward.

Can you add some more ideas in this list?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

WTU Run-Off Election Results

Congratulations to our new WTU Officers!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

@WTULocal6 President Cancels Debate

People need cues to sort good from bad and to find order so that they can make decisions. In many different aspects of our daily life, we are giving off cues that can be positive or negative. Today's debate could have been a great event that would have given us an informed decision on who is the best presidential candidate to vote for in the 2013 WTU Elections. Unfortunately, it was cancelled by the WTU President Saunders himself. I took a screenshot of his email "Alert" message to the teachers about the said event organized by several teachers from different schools which he allegedly called a "fake" debate. I also posted here the statement from Elizabeth Davis sharing her disappointment about the cancellation of the debate and her response to the president's threatening message:
Dear WTU Members,

You received a communication this morning from Erich Martel announcin a debate between President Saunders and myself to take place at McKinley HS today. Subsequently you received an "Alert" from Nathan Saunders indicating that no debate would be happening. It is true that because only one candidate was willing to debate, the debate will not happen. But let me correct factual errors in Mr. Saunders "Alert" email.

The debate was an initiative of the school WTU Representatives at Wilson and McKinley High Schools and Lafayette Elementary. They had reserved the space at McKinley. Mr. David Pinder’, the principal at McKinley, sent me the email below confirming use of the auditorium. The email is also copied to Mr. Bruce Stevens, his head custodian. No one ever represented the debate as being formerly sponsored by the WTU leadership, the election committee, or inappropriately used the WTU
logo. They had reached out to both candidates and thought the debate was on. It is also not true that private insurance must be posted to hold any and all meetings in school facilities. These are scare tactics are simply being used to inhibit the democratic process.

I am disappointed that in the end Mr. Saunders didn't see it as in his interest to come to the debate. I hope that in the future we can rise above political gamesmanship and make debates a regular feature of WTU elections. The members and the health of our union demand it.

Please don't forget to vote. Vote for the Elizabeth Davis slate. The WTU can be better!

Elizabeth Davis, Candidate for President of the WTU
Email Message from Nathan Saunders About Today's Debate


Promethean Planet


The following is the opinion of the writer and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. Any view or opinion represented in the blog comments are personal and is accredited to the respective commentor / visitor to this blog. This blogger reserves the right to moderate comment suitability in support of respecting racial, religious and political sensitivities, and in order to protect the rights of each commentor where available.