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An Apple a Day

The teaching of children should not be sacrificed in favor of paperwork - ever!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Teachers, It's Time to Recharge. Are you "ready"?

No one will argue that teachers need the break in the summer - at least I hope no one will argue about that. This is the time to focus on yourself for maybe the first time in a year. Yes, you may have a spouse or family at home to focus on as well, but if I had to assign a warning label to the teacher in summer, it would say "Warning: Operating below 100% is detrimental to this unit."

You're not the Energizer Bunny who keeps going and going and going. . . until you don't.

You're more like a rechargeable battery that once it falls below optimum levels is returned to the charging station - it's source of power - to be ready to teach another day.

Everyone has a different power source. The trick is to plug yourself into the power source from which you're most compatible and know will recharge you.

Here are 5 ways to recharge before getting back to the action in August or September:

  1. Close your eyes and bring to mind that which makes you the most happy - and do that!
  2. Identify a place where you feel most refreshed - and go there!
  3. Practice acts of gratitude - and remember those!
  4. Practice acts of mercy - and be kind to yourself!
  5. Be mindful of those around you - and love them!

Okay, so I didn't give you a list of summer conferences to go to, summer reading to engage in, or spa retreats you can't afford and then will feel bad about not being able to go to. I don't know what your particular power source is, so it would be ill-advised for me to suggest any particular activity or place for you to recharge. You are a teacher, but you are a person first. Take care of that person, so that when August or September comes, you are fully charged to take care of those children thrust into your care.

What is your power source?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Biggest Social Ills in a Child's Life: Is School the Answer?

The Achievement Gap is widening my friends. Although initiatives like No Child Left Behind and even the Common Core were developed to narrow this gap, it has only widened like a sink hole in Florida!

A recent report produced by the Economic Policy Institute (June 10, 2015) outlined 5 social disadvantages that children experience that schools cannot fix, nor should they be expected to fix:

  • Parenting practices that impede social and behavioral development
  • Single parenthood
  • Parents' irregular work schedules
  • Inadequate access to primary and preventative health care, and
  • Exposure to and absorption of lead in the blood
Click here to read the full report.

This is not a finger-pointing exercise; it is, however, a wake-up call. One that teachers have only been able to speak about in hushed voices - until now. 

Every year there is a new proposal, and sometimes a new mandate, for schools to take on more of the role of parents. As much as some groups blast schools for doing this, others sue schools if they don't. Just so you know, teachers and schools have no desire to take the place of parents - but sometimes they have no choice. Just as if someone left a newborn baby on your doorstep - would you close the door and walk away?

A great piece appeared in the L.A. School Report revealing the details of this report. It's a comprehensive read that I suggest you review.

For example, a recent lawsuit filed against a district in California asserted that schools should have counseling in place to help kids deal with PTSD as a result of any childhood trauma they may have experienced. Since PTSD gets in the way of their learning, it is naturally assumed that schools will find a way to deal with it. After all, this is why we have a school breakfast program because research showed that children who are hungry do not learn as well.

The more social disadvantages schools are charged to mitigate, the less they are able to do what they were both called and hired to do - teach. Social disadvantages were caused by and in society - society needs to step up to address them. And who do I mean by "society"? Probably the same people Jesus meant by "your neighbor."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

How Can We Ensure the Successes of Our Students With Special Needs? | Edutopia

How Can We Ensure the Successes of Our Students With Special Needs? | Edutopia

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Still Looking for a Great Summer Camp Experience?

Did you sign your children up for summer camp back in March when you were supposed to? If not, there's still time to find something fabulous. Summer camps have truly transformed from the typical songs around the campfire, crafts, and outdoorsmanship activities to very specific, talent-developing sleep-away experiences.

Does your child HAVE to go to summer camp? No. Not at all. But if you have the opportunity and ability to financially support your child’s interests and talents, a summer camp experience might be a good way to give them an opportunity to either explore or further develop their talent outside of the school environment.

Sports and the Arts are two of the most popular types of summer camps. Many of which are held on the campuses of colleges and universities across the country. 

The Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs (JKCP) Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs (JKCP) meets the needs of parents and teens alike with customized programs that inspire self-discovery, instill leadership, encourage creativity and provide an exciting environment for learning. Their variety of courses and activities allows students to follow their passions or try something new in the areas that interest them most all while having fun.

After a successful tennis career, competing professionally on the international tennis tour including Wimbledon and the Italian and French Opens, tennis mogul Julian Krinsky founded JKCP to help kids and teens refine tennis skills while enjoying an amazing summer experience. Today (35 years later), JKCP is a world leader in summer programs offering over 20 specialized experiences from sports and arts camps for middle school students to pre-college academic programs and summer internships for high school students. Teens travel from all over the country (and world) to attend JKCP, with students from over 35 states and 40 countries in 2011.

Whether students are looking to fine tune their skills, try new things, or meet friends from around the world, JKCP has the program to meet their interests and needs. Programs include, sports, fitness, art,  architecture, science, technology, classical music, digital media, production, business, leadership, internships, pre-college and SAT prep, cooking, fashion design, dance, yoga, photography, Spanish, and much more.

Programs are held at prestigious private colleges in Philadelphia such as Villanova, UPenn, Haverford and the Curtis Institute of Music, so students also get a sample of the college life experience - in the dorm, in the dining hall, on campus, and meeting new friends from around the world. Tuition includes housing, meals, weekday trips, and activities.

For more information visit