Happy Valentine's Day from the Stand for Children team in Colorado! We wanted to spread some love today so we asked everyone to share one thing they are loving right now. Some are articles or books, some are resources and research, some are stories about parents we work with, and others are professional development. We hope you enjoy, and if you feel so inclined, leave a comment about something you love and thinks others would enjoy.
Claire, State Operations Coordinator:
I’m loving hearing student voices in powerful places. High school freshman, Aya Saad-Masri, gave a statement to lawmakers in support of legislation that would require the state to address the lack of teachers of color in Colorado. In her testimony, she stated “For years, I thought I could never have an important career like teacher or helping people because I’d never seen anyone like me teaching.” Find out more here.
Danielle, State Organizing Director:
What I’m loving is “The Opportunity Myth.” Lately there’s been a lot of news in our city about how stressed teens are and whether or not our school accountability system makes students feel bad, but I have to believe what actually happens inside of classrooms matters most in the lives of our students. As the report finds, “Most students—and especially students of color, those from low-income families, those with mild to moderate disabilities, and English language learners—spent the vast majority of their school days missing out on four crucial resources: grade-appropriate assignments, strong instruction, deep engagement, and teachers with high expectations. Students spent more than 500 hours per school year on assignments that weren’t appropriate for their grade and with instruction that didn’t ask enough of them—the equivalent of six months of wasted class time in each core subject.” I was one of those students. In my AP English class my senior year we wrote one essay. I love and appreciate shining a light on our students’ experiences in the classroom and the challenge to raise the bar. And, as a former teacher, I know part of seeing our students as whole people is seeing them as curious, creative and capable of incredible things.
Ivana, Parent Organizer:
I have loved seeing what the parents I’ve been working with have been working on this year. Roxana Baraza has been engaging with Stand for the past two years –which is same time I’ve worked with Stand- and in the past year she has become one of my most reliable and involved parents serving as a fellows for the past 5 months. Sadly, she has stepped down as a Stand for Children fellow, and I am proud to say it is because she is currently pursuing a degree to become a nurse which has been her dream for years. I am so proud of her for asking for what she needed and following her dreams, teaching her kiddos that everything is possible as long as you are dedicated, work hard and ask for help when needed.
Another mom who is doing amazing things is Eulalia Mateo. Eulalia and I have been working together for about a year. She came to our Winter Summit event without really knowing what Stand was all about and has also become a very involved volunteer and community leader. She was an instrumental partner during the past school board elections and even though it was her first time being involved in an election effort, she was willing and eager to try new things and ended up loving canvassing and bringing her kiddos along. In our last meeting, she told me about how that work has inspired her to get further involved with her neighborhood organization where she has canvassed and collected signatures to bring a new park and rec center into the Westwood community in Denver. I love to see how the work I have been doing at stand with parents and community leaders is bleeding into other parts of their lives. That is really all we can truly hope for as we involve the community, that they will be able to take the skills they learn with me and translate them into any other work that is meaningful to them. That’s how we start a movement.
Janine, Graphic Designer:
Trying to hold true to our mission here at Stand, I started researching on how to more conscientiously design our websites and documents in such a way that takes into account audience members who have special needs. Making things accessible is the key to opening up opportunities and making a difference for our students and community at large. I love and take much pride in working for a nonprofit that encourages this kind of professional development, brings awareness, fights for high quality education for all students, and holds itself accountable for following through on its mission.
Judith, Director of Colorado Center for High School Success:
I’m loving the book, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Dan and Chip Heath. This fast read is about “defining moments” that shape lives and influence action. The chapters on “break the script” and “trip over the truth” made me think about how to use education data to tell a compelling story.
Kate, Communications Director
I love following Emily Hanford’s work looking at literacy rates in America and explaining what the research says about how students learn how to read. Increasing and supporting literacy is something that is personally very important to me, and early literacy is one of our core areas of work at Stand. Emily’s work takes a thorough look at the topic. As a communicator I really appreciate how she makes the complex topic so digestible for audiences who may not have a background or training in education. She has both articles and podcasts, but I recommend listening to the podcasts. Start with "Hard Words" then "At A Loss for Words" and then you can navigate through all of her other content and stories.
Krista, Executive Director:
I love the focus on teacher prep programs needing to update their practices to include the science of reading. Early literacy is a huge priority for Stand for Children and for years we have heard from educators who felt frustrated that they were not better prepared to teach students how to read. It’s unfair to everyone—educators and our students—to not ensure that teachers are trained in the science of reading and ready to teach this critical skill to our students when they start their career. We also believe it is so important for educators to have ongoing, embedded professional development in teaching reading.
Here are two important reports looking at teacher prep and the science of reading.
- NCTQ report: 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Program Performance in Early Reading Instruction
- CDE/CDHE Best in Class: Five Principles on Effective Educator Preparation