Showing posts from March, 2018

Embedding Community Service Into Schools

At my New Hampshire High School, we have a community service tradition that all of our seniors participate in called the “Senior Day of Caring.” During this one day in early fall, our seniors sign up in groups or as individuals to engage in any number of community service activities that have been identified in our community. Some of our seniors return to their elementary schools to help out in classrooms for the day. Others head to the public library to help them with a big project. Some go to the local senior citizen center to help residents with light cleaning, painting, moving, or other similar projects. Others help community members with light housework or yard work. This tradition, which has persisted in my school community for the better part of two decades, often leaves our students hearts filled with love and a hunger to do more, at least that is what we hope.
Last month, four of my female students took it upon themselves to plan what became a school-sponsored humanitarian t…

Fostering Self Advocacy Skills for All Students

What does it mean for a student to successfully self-advocate? Simply put, self-advocacy happens when a student, at any age, knows what they need to be successful and feels empowered to ask for help if and when they need it. The rise of innovative student-centered learning environments in K-12 education has increased the need for self-advocacy skills, particularly for students with disabilities. Educators are left to grapple with questions such as these: What are the best practices to teach these skills? What are the opportunities to practice these skills? What is the impact on student success?
This past week, I had the honor of joining a team of panelists invited by the National Center for Learning Disabilities for Austin’s annual SXSW EDU conference to discuss this very issue. Our session was titled Why I Won’t Ask for Help: Self-Advocacy for All. It was facilitated by NCLD’s Vice President and Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Lindsay Jones. In addition to myself, I was joined by pa…