During the heart of winter, when the weather is bleak, I have one event that lifts my spirit. During February, hundreds of the most innovative educators gather in the state where the first charter school was formed, the first post-secondary education options program began, some of the first alternative programs, the first state with open enrollment. The place where innovation in education was born, Minnesota.
I have been very fortunate to have great mentors teach me the fundamentals of what student centered education is all about, and this education began at MAAP (MN Association of Alternative Programs). I would argue that MAAP kept me in teaching. Without them I would have been burnt out and long past any usefulness.
So tomorrow I will head to Duluth and network and collaborate with my fellow teachers of the kids that society has turned their back on. I salute you, you work with the most challenging students in the some of the most challenging environments. Day in and day out you provide hope to students, as one of my former students said, "The teachers here believe in us, even when we don't."
Working with parents, kids and colleagues, we transform and make a difference in the lives of the communities we serve. For us the bottom line is hope, which can't be measured on a standardized test. Hope is the capital that helps us transcend our current situation and strive for a better future. It is the best quality, that was left in Pandora's box.
As we meet this week, lets us come together to forge a brighter future, a future built on hope and compassion. Where the lives of parents and kids are the first priority. Let us rededicate ourselves to that future. Despite the current climate conditions (environmental, social, and political) we can alter the course toward a better day.