Inclusion Beyond the Classroom

Establishing a culture of inclusion across the building and beyond the classroom not only benefits the students being included, it also helps build a positive culture for everyone in the school community. As is typical in most schools, we’ve worked to maximize the inclusion opportunities for our students with developmental disabilities. Over the last several […]

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Building Community, Camaraderie, and Leadership Through Student Mentorship

Young adults are amazing. I am inspired every day by their love of learning, their energy, and their ability to make the most out of any situation. As a middle level educator, I get the joy of watching students blossom in many ways. During these formative years, I watch students transform from awkward ducklings into […]

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Connections, Connections, Connections: We All Need Them

We have seen more than ever this year that connections are necessary. We need to be purposeful in giving our students the tools to make sure these connections are meaningful and lasting. The Connections program at Lowery Freshman Center is more than “just a class.” With its focus on building supportive relationships, it is making […]

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Virtual Clubs: Connecting Students During a Challenging Year

“I finally feel like I’m a part of something.” —Seventh grade student in Anime Club When those words were uttered extemporaneously following an interview with members of the Downingtown Middle School Anime Club, both the club sponsor, Todd Shirley, and I did a double take. That seventh grade student had struggled to make friends and […]

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Being Accessible as a School Leader

I had an impromptu meeting one recent morning that was just what I needed. Around 7:50 a.m., I received a call from our receptionist to let me know a young man needed to see me. I quickly responded and asked her to send him to my office.

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Student Professional Learning Day: Future-Ready

As we near the end of the school year, I can honestly say that this has been the most challenging year as an educator. Our school has been in person since August, with additional precautions. Like most other schools, we spent a great deal of last summer preparing and planning for a year that had […]

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Peer Mentoring to Build A Culture of Caring

As school leaders, we often ask ourselves: How can I be sure that I am meeting the needs of every one of my students? How can I ensure no one is forgotten? The kids who are naturally part of a group such as band, sports teams, Student Government Association, or clubs generally have found their […]

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What Have We Learned?

We thought spring of 2020 was going to be our return to normalcy.  We spent the fall and winter of the 2019–20 school year in complete crisis. Our school was supposed to be moving into a renovated co-located school building in fall of 2019, and when that project went into turmoil, so did our school. We […]

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Leveling Up: Ways to Increase Remote Student Engagement

Shifting back to (or continuing in) distance learning during the 2020–21 school year provided opportunities to continue to look at how we can build relationships with students, even with only seeing them on a computer screen. Instead of focusing on what students are not doing, taking time to dig deeper and ask others what is working […]

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Letter to a Discouraged Student

You’re discouraged. I know you are. Your heart sank when you saw the grades. But those letter grades don’t define you. Last spring didn’t go like it was supposed to go. You missed out on activities. You missed seeing your friends at school every day. And this year isn’t normal either. It’s uncomfortable to wear a mask at […]

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