Practice Mindfulness to Heal the Divide -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- November 17, 2016

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

November 17, 2016  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

International Education Week

international students

International Education Week is currently taking place to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. IEW knows no bounds as schools, colleges and universities, embassies, international organizations, businesses, associations, and community organizations get involved in the celebration. The State Department and Department of Education encourage students to learn from other cultures and continents and have provided resources to help schools take part in the week.  

picture of Mary Wang


In honor of IEW, biology teacher, Mary Wangshares why she has taken students out of the country three times and what students can learn when exposed to different cultures and adventures. Wang is a native of Seattle, Washington, but moved to Philadelphia in 2007 where she taught chemistry for five years at Thomas FitzSimons High School until the school closed in 2012. She then joined the Academy at Palumbo family and currently teaches biology, coaches badminton, and serves as the freshmen class co-sponsor. Wang received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in May. 


Healing the Divide in the Classroom

It is no secret that this presidential election brought to light a divide in the country that is going to take time to heal. That healing is best represented in schools where students have the opportunity to process and learn from one another. Oren Sofer at Mindful Schools provides ways to practice mindfulness that will help administrators, teachers, and students to process the election results while respecting differing perspectives.


Surveillance for Safety, Say Good-bye to Privacy

Cameras in schools, buses, and on some administrators’ bodies have been popping up all over the country in an effort to continue to protect students. While the strategies are meant to increase school safety, Jeff Murray examines how surveillance tactics can be used against students and how some school districts could be inequitably targeting certain students before any wrongdoing has occurred. Murray urges planning for the continued and increased use of surveillance with students (Murray, Fordham Institute).  

Students Advocate for Diversity in Reading Lists


What do you do when you don’t connect with the books your English teachers are assigning? When you’re a member of the Students Empowering Activism and Leadership at Needham High in Needham, Mass., you address the English department head-on. Senior Zerinee Depina approached Patrick Gallagher, department chair, directly about the lack of diversity in the reading list. “To hear from our students, particularly our students of color, that [they weren’t connecting with the reading] was jarring to us,” said Gallagher. The department jumped into action, reviewing and adopting eight new titles for this school year that better represent the diversity and experiences of their students (Murphy, WickedLocal).

Discipline with Love

Secretary King has had the honor of meeting with teachers from across the country on varying issues during listening sessions held at ED. The teachers change every month and so does the topic. While King learns much from the teachers, the teachers often learn from one another, as well.  2015 Virginia State Teacher of the Year, Jaclyn Ryan, writes about what she gained from her colleagues that teach in more urban areas and how it changed her approach to administering discipline in a rural setting (Ryan,

Democracy in the Digital Age

action video

Teachers can find out more about how to engage students in civic education in this video from The Teaching Channel. Consider why digital literacy is so important in civic education and gain strategies to take back to the classroom. Students will learn more about the root causes and effects of the contemporary problems and how civic engagement will prepare them for their futures. 

paretn teacher conference

Vanquishing the Parent Conference Monster

Parent-teacher conferences can be stressful for both parties, but 7th grade teacher, Jake Miller, shares his pre-, during, and post conference strategies for successful conversations and the best results for building a partnership with parents. A few of the strategies are tried and true, prepare student data and work to support observations, frame the conversation in a positive sandwich by starting and ending with good feedback on the student, and don’t forget a follow-up thank you note. Check out the list to see more suggestions. 

Autistic Students Practice College Dorm Life in High School

At Hill Top Preparatory School in Main Line, Pennsylvania, some students are getting a dry run at college life before they head off to the real thing. The boarding program specializes in helping students on the autism spectrum learn how to live in close quarters with other students, manage their time, and reduce anxiety. Students spend the weekdays at the school and go home on weekends. "They're working on how do you live in a positive way with others," said headmaster Thomas Needham. One mother said of her son, who’s in the program, "He's happy. I would never have described him as happy before" (Boccella,


North Carolina School District Confronts Inequities in Large-Scale Shifts

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, NC, are addressing a thorny issue at the heart of their commitment to education: ensuring equitable access to high-quality education for all students. Their new approach includes a “diversity-driven magnet lottery,” plans for equitable access to technology, materials and high-quality teaching, and cultural competence training for teachers. This approach represents a shift from earlier policies which prioritized enticing teachers to high-needs schools (Helms,

Get Involved, Become a Mentor


The MBK Success Mentor Initiative helps connect caring mentors with students in sixth and ninth grades in high-need school districts across their communities. The goal is to provide mentors to more than 250,000 students over the next two years and ensure they have the support they need to stay in school and achieve their dreams. In this video, NBA’s Kevin Durant shares why he is proud to be part of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) National Success Mentors Initiative.

Resources to Use

  • Flying HighThe National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education (NCASE) presents a united voice on aviation and space education issues. Their Guide listing over 50 member organizations provides a central gateway for educators, students, and the general public to obtain materials and information supporting aerospace education.
  • Simulate It. ED launched the EdSim Challenge, a competition to design next-generation educational simulations that strengthen career and technical skills.  Simulated digital learning environments, such as virtual and augmented reality, 3D simulations, and multi-player video games, are an emerging approach to deliver educational content. Developers should submit their simulation concepts by January 17, 2017.  A panel of judges will evaluate the submissions and select up to five finalists who will be awarded $50,000 and gain access to experts and mentorships as they refine their concept and build a prototype.
  • Write On. The latest What Works Clearinghouse Educator’s Practice Guide, “Teaching Secondary Students to Write Effectively,” provides evidence-based recommendations for improving the writing skills of middle and high school students.   

What We Heard from Educators This Week

5. "Give students time and space to process and be heard." Teacher, New York

4. "You can't underestimate the importance of teacher morale." Principal, Maine

3.  "We must bring global perspectives and experiences to the content." Teacher, Montana

2.  "We have to have relationships to achieve success." Principal, Oklahoma

1.  "Be hopeful, so you light the fires of optimism in the students' idealistic minds." Teacher, New Jersey

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