Using a Talking Stick Is More Than Speaking Uninterrupted

The first time I served on a jury, the judge announced that I would be its foreperson. I had no idea why I’d been chosen and wondered if it was a random selection like the ball that pops out from a lottery machine or if it had anything to do with the details I furnished on the juror questionnaire. After two full days of hearing testimony and a third deliberating, we pronounced our verdict, ...Read More

Using Our Voices to Uplift Our Communities

In the documentary series, Daughters of Destiny, about the Shanti Bhavan School, there’s a scene of a sex education class where boys are taught to take responsibility to protect and value girls and women.

The series, about a boarding school that provides a free preK-12 education for India’s most impoverished children, demonstrates what’s possible when we work together to benefit our society.

To me, the Black Lives Matter, Me Too, and Women’s Movements speak to a similar ideology – that we must empathetically care for and about each other. It’s also this ideology that leads us, year after year, to celebrate the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Our willingness to have a dialogue, speak honestly and take the risk of saying something when we see something helps us to strengthen and protect our local, state, national and global communities. And, there’s no better or more urgent time to do this than right now.

Teaching to Strengths: Supporting Students living with trauma, violence & chronic stress included in Hurricane Relief Effort

Honored that ASCDs Hurricane Relief Initiative includes our book. Here is information about it from ASCD.  “Purchase an ASCD book from our online store from now until October 31 and use promo code “RELIEF,” and ASCD will donate one trauma-related resource, such as Teaching to Strengths: Supporting Students Living with Trauma, Violence, and Chronic Stress or Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom, to districts and schools affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. More ...Read More

Building Partnerships Through Classroom-Based Events, Debbie Zacarian & Michael Silverstone

Building Partnerships Through Classroom-Based Events, Debbie Zacarian & Michael Silverstone In the lead article of the Sept. issue of Ed Leadership, here’s how educators can design events that make families feel welcome, share their children’s learning, and integrate the rich assets they bring. As educators, we all want to build partnerships with families. We know that students benefit from the cooperation, care, and shared inspiration that such partnerships can create. But deepening family engagement ...Read More

Teaching to Strengths: supporting students living with trauma, violence & chronic stress

TEACHING TO STRENGTHS:  SUPPORTING STUDENTS LIVING WITH TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, AND CHRONIC STRESS.  (co-written with Lourdes Alvarez-Ortiz and Judie Haynes) Half the students in U.S. schools are experiencing or have experienced trauma, violence, or chronic stress. Much has been written about these students from a therapeutic perspective, especially regarding how to provide them with adequate counseling supports and services. Conversely, little has been written about teaching this population and doing so from a strengths-based perspective. Using ...Read More

Challenges Facing Suburban Schools

Delighted to have contributed a chapter to Challenges Facing Suburban Schools: Promising responses to changing student populations with these esteemed colleagues.  Here are the chapters: Demography and politics in the Changing Suburbs, Stephen Kotok & Erica Frankenburg Race, ethnicity and social capital in the changing suburbs, Carl L Bankston & Stephen Caldas Administrators’ accountabilities in changing suburban schools, Shelley Wepner and Diane Gomez Lessons for leaders about educating English learners, Douglas Fisher & Nancy ...Read More

Interactions Matter:  impact learning through student, classroom, family and community partnerships

by Debbie Zacarian and Michael Silverstone Whether you are an administrator, teacher or a parent–a fan of standardized testing-indexed sanctions, or an advocate for student-directed learning experiences, there is one point of agreement that we all share. We want all students to feel and be successful.  For well over a decade, success has been measured by federal and state accountability standards.  For some groups of students, the testing outcomes and graduation rates reflect progress–for others, ...Read More

What is a Growth Mindset and How Can It Be Applied in the Classroom?

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, founder of ‘growth mindset,’ defines the concept as believing that every student can succeed and teaching them to believe in their abilities to: (1) embrace the challenges and complexities of learning; (2) learn the positives of being persistent (3) value effort as a positive; and (4) be inspired to do more (2007). She contrasts this to a ‘fixed mindset’ where educators believe some students can’t succeed based on their intelligence ...Read More

Rethinking the Possibilities of Strength-Based Teacher Evaluation Systems

With all of the time, effort and money being poured into teacher evaluation systems, the outcomes of students from underrepresented populations have not changed enough to see that what we are doing is working. Only 61 percent of English learners, the fastest growing group in the U.S., are graduating and students with disabilities, American Indian and Alaskan Americans, Black students, students living in poverty, and Hispanic students, respectively, are not faring much better (US Department ...Read More

We Can Only Make Education Work When We Are In It Together

by Debbie Zacarian & Michael Silverstone How do two separate people from different places and with different roles actually go about writing one sentence let alone a book? Our answer takes some explaining as it reflects what we believe is needed in education, now. Partnerships are key  The process of co-writing this book began by talking about teaching, talking to define what we were after as educators, and talking about what we thought was ...Read More