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Service Creates Community at RSLA

At Redford Service Learning Academy students appreciate the community that is forged through service to others. What they also learn to value is the importance of listening actively to develop compassion. This atmosphere of understanding "the other" leads to an ethic of understanding, which promotes a healthy learning environment for all. As a guest in Math Specialist Kevin O'Brien's middle school classroom, I had a conversation with students about the challenges that occur when people engage in prejudice. After playing the game "Two Truths and a Lie" - where students pair up and offer one fact that is false and two that are true while their partner has to guess the lie - students realized h

Newberry - Where Resilience and Community Flourish

If I were to consider a definition of community spirit, I need look no further than the atmosphere at Newberry Elementary and High School. Located close to Taquamenon Falls in Luce County, I had the honor of spending a day in Newberry where I met some remarkable educators and students. When I asked a group of seniors to give me an idea of what they appreciate most about their school, they didn’t hesitate. “The teachers,” one student mentioned, “they care about you. If you need something you can go to them and they will help you.” This reality was clearly manifest in every classroom I visited. Teachers spent an extraordinary amount of time serving the needs of their students both in and out o

Congratulations, MTOY, Tracy Horodyski!

Congratulations to Tracy Horodyski, Michigan Teacher of the Year 2017! Tracy is an extremely talented early elementary educator. Not only does she teach children, but she also provides professional coaching support for colleagues at her school, Zinser Elementary School in Kennowa Hills. This year upcoming will have a profound effect on Tracy’s career as she embarks on a unique journey as a teacher leader, ambassador and advocate. I had the honor of being present at the announcement of Tracy’s award at her school. The enthusiasm and excitement was certainly palpable as State Superintendent Brian Whiston announced the award. The thunderous cheers accompanied Tracy on her way to the stage as th

Goal Setting for Success in Clawson

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to return to Clawson High School to facilitate a goal setting experience with English Language Learners. The practice of setting goals and developing action plans is an important life skill. It is so important for all people to take the time to pause and reflect in order to maximize their ongoing potential. I was thrilled to be able to support the ongoing work of Paraeducator Jessica Hauser-Brydon and Teacher Keri Guevara. These two educators are keenly aware of the unique challenges that ELL's face, and have been staunch advocates for students whose life experiences are unique and different from their mainstream peers. They are actively seeking r

Washington Week - Wow!

When I first found out I would be the Michigan Teacher of the Year, I was certainly excited about the opportunity to join my TOY colleagues from around the country to meet President Obama. I was impressed with President Obama's down-to-earth disposition and thanked him for his pending trip to Flint the next day to meet with eight year-old Amariyanna Copeny, a girl also known as "Little Miss Flint" who wrote the President a a letter asking to meet with him regarding the Flint Water Crisis. His reply to me, "You got it. It's a priority." Not only did I have the extraordinary opportunity to meet President Obama, I was also able to meet Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden at their reside