May 17, 2018, Issue #28

June 18-20, 2018
June 21-22, 2018
July 17-20, 2018
July 31-Aug 3, Oct 19, Feb 8
July 31-Aug 2, 2018
August 7-9, 2018
August 7-10, Oct 18, Feb 7
August 10, 2018
August 14-15, 2018
August 22, 2018

1) If your school isn't already a member, encourage them to join  here

2) Register for our upcoming eventsand keep an eye out for our spring schedule of workshops.

3) Get in touch and let us know what kind of professional learning opportunities you're looking for.

4) Have expertise to share? Contact us about writing a blog post or leading a workshop.

5) Join our mailing list to stay up to date on all our future workshops and events.

A message from the  Executive Director, 


"I would not have you descend into your own dreams. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world." 

Between the myriad of projects to complete, the goodbyes to be said, and the plans to be made, these May days can be somewhat overwhelming. This month's Buzz offers some inspiration as well as practical advice on tending to relationships and infusing our communities with care, prioritizing "grace and gratitude," in the words of frequent contributor Lori Cohen. 

I often write about how I see educators as powerful agents of change, and I have been reminded again and again this spring of how our students can also be changemakers. Early this month, I had the great pleasure of attending the First Annual Youth Summit hosted by San Francisco Friends School: over 200 students from nine different schools gathered to share their learning on such pressing issues as homelessness, climate change, immigration, and gun control, and to make calls to action. Take a look at this short video to learn more about the event and hear some student's takeaways. In the words of Guybe Slangen, Director of Community Engagement at SF Friends, a school environment should be "a safe place, a brave place to engage kids and give them the power to make an impact."

It is never too early to engage young people in this way as put forth in this article on the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education from the Smart Update, one of my favorite sources for staying on top of emerging trends in education. Writer Cameron Paterson poses the question: "What would our schools look like if we saw children as citizens capable of making meaningful contributions to their communities?" 

One way students can take an active role in building more caring school communities comes through Restorative Justice, which veers away from punishment when behavioral issues arise and toward building relationships and repairing harm. While our June intensive on Restorative Justice is now full, you can learn more about this practice in this article by Miriam Singer, Assistant Principal at the School of Arts & Enterprise, a charter school in Pomona, CA.

Finally, we offer this TED Talk recommend to me by Ellie Dwight, Assistant Head of Sonoma Academy. Courtney Martin speaks eloquently about how we might envision a "New American Dream" that centers on relationships. She opines that, especially in this new economy, we should be encouraging our young people to think less about "what they want to be when they grow up, and more about how they want to better understand their gifts and create crews of ideal collaborators."

"Crews of ideal collaborators" brings to my mind the amazing line up of educators who will be offering workshops for us this summer. I wish you all the best as you bring this school year to a close, and hope you will join us to fully immerse yourself in your own learning and growth.
Hit Pause! And Other Advice to Round Out the School Year
By Lori Cohen, The Bay School of San Francisco
I was talking with my colleague recently about shifting a slightly large school policy, and as we were hashing out the specifics, I started to do a quick body scan: I felt tired; I was a bit ornery; and my brain was processing at a slower rate. The conclusion: it's May, and I'm feeling it. I'm sure you're feeling it, too.
I imagine at this point in the school year, many of us are trying to stay energized while running on fumes. Maybe you're counting down weeks or days; perhaps you're finalizing plans for end-of-year celebrations and meetings, and it's taking twice as long as usual. Perhaps you've cleared your social calendar or have foregone exercise to get more rest. Now is a good time to listen to our bodies even more because they're probably letting us know it's time for a reset.
Why Restorative Justice Practices and Community Matter More than Ever in the Era of School Shootings
By Miriam Singer, The School of Arts and Enterprise
This morning, like every morning when I park in the lot of the middle school where I am an assistant principal, questions flood my head in anticipation of the coming day.
Which students will need academic support and interventions today?  How can I best coach that teacher with her long-term lesson planning to increase her students' learning? On which students should I perform an in-class observation to offer extra feedback? Never in all my years as an educator did I consider that a new question should now come to mind:
How do we as a school keep our students safe from gun violence?

As disheartening as that question is, I find it equally alarming that for many the knee-jerk reaction is to create a system where they judge their students and the potential level of threat they warrant. I instead would like to seek alternatives to creating communities laced with fear. It is natural for a student, parent, or teacher to feel fearful in the wake of senseless school shootings, but I personally cannot let that fear govern my bedrock belief that all students come to school to seek personal betterment and belonging.

Read online...
Middle School Summit on Social Issues Unites City Kids
By Mission Local
Students at the San Francisco Friends School spent months studying issues like youth homelessness and climate change, then invited other middle school students to participate in a summit and share what they learned. Over 230 students from all over the city joined the summit on May 4. Mission Local created a short video that captures student and faculty voices from this impactful day.
The New American Dream
By Courtney E. Martin, TED Talks
For the first time in history, the majority of American parents don't think their kids will be better off than they were. This shouldn't be a cause for alarm, says journalist Courtney E. Martin. Rather, it's an opportunity to define a new approach to work and family that emphasizes community and creativity. "The biggest danger is not failing to achieve the American Dream," she says in a talk that will resonate far beyond the US. "The biggest danger is achieving a dream that you don't actually believe in."