Our Blog: The Standard

The Silver Lining of the Black Box
Mia Manduca, NBCTJune 10, 2021

I teach to Black Boxes. At the beginning of the school year teaching, psychology to high school seniors on Zoom was intimidating and confusing. Black boxes with names like “Saucy” and “Nugget” didn’t match my roster and with no visual cues, I couldn’t tell the difference between Kiana and Kiara. But I did understand protecting their privacy. A camera in your home is invasive. Some Boston students are homeless or live in crowded situations, and sometimes a teenager is just a teenager — self-conscious and easily embarrassed. Yet, while these black boxes persisted, a few months into the year something…

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Student Voices: The Intersection of Mindfulness, Mental Health, and Social Justice in the Classroom
Linda Yaron Weston, NBCTMarch 23, 2021

The challenges of this time have magnified the need for including mental health tools within the student experience. As an educator who has taught both academic and well-being courses at the high school and college level, I have come to realize that including well-being supports alongside the academic curriculum is essential for students to fully thrive. As part of our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion week at the University of Southern California, students who took my Introduction to Mindfulness course in the Department of Physical Education were invited to share their diverse stories and views on how learning mindfulness practices impacted their…

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Tales from the Pandemic: Silver Linings and Lessons Learned
Michael Ida, NBCTMarch 1, 2021

Unless you’re a journalist, it’s dangerous to write history while it is being made.  However, as teachers, we don’t always have the luxury of waiting for the dust to clear before taking stock.  We have a tremendous opportunity in front of us.  Having no choice but to try new things during the pandemic, we have the rare chance to rebuild things from the ground up.  When things do return to some semblance of “normal,” we can’t just go back to business as usual.  Before we lose the moment’s sharpness and the adrenaline fades, let’s seize the moment and maintain focus…

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“Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor” Jackson Brown, Jr.
Tracey Idica, NBCTFebruary 16, 2021

Dedicated to Stacy Nishina, HSTA Deputy Executive Director In the summer of 2013, I received a phone call from an NBCT on a neighbor island who had created a small network of NBCTs. She had received an invitation to attend the National Board Leaders Convening in Raleigh, North Carolina and was unable to attend. I couldn’t believe that she was asking me. I immediately agreed. Then, she continued, “Oh good. I’ve asked all the NBCTs I know and none of them could attend.” My heart dropped. I suddenly felt like the girl who is asked to dance only after all the…

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COVID, Community, and Connections
Erin Medeiros, NBCTFebruary 9, 2021

Twenty rectangles appear. First Kylee, in double French braids and her lashes. Then Tapa, outside working on a lei for his project. Eden is by her bed, and Gardenia sits with her back against the white wall. Lili chats that she just got up and that Lei is with her. Lele sits with the toddlers on the recliner. Sela is at a desk looking like a boss.  These are just a few of today’s mix of our 9-12th grade students. It is the end of January. We are approaching a year since we replaced the hum of our traditional classrooms…

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Sharing your pronouns: Becoming a Gender Affirming Educator
Chris Murray, NBCTJanuary 28, 2021

On Thursday, January 7 more than 50 educators from Montgomery County Public Schools (MD) continued their journey to a deeper understanding of how gender impacts our students. This PD provided educators an opportunity to learn from experts in the field about ways to make our schools and school systems do everything they can to allow all students to find gender congruence, the feeling of harmony in our gender in their lives.  In that session, we discussed some of the key recommendations from Gender Spectrum and GLSEN. They left an impact on all who attended. I want to share them with…

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A Call to Re-Invest
Dr. Dolores Cormier-Zenon, NBCTJanuary 19, 2021

Throughout 2020, the world experienced much tribulation. Last January we opened the year hopeful but unaware of what enormous turmoil was yet to come. A pandemic rising to a magnitude, so clearly unfathomable, that we’d lose hundreds of thousands of lives. In addition, we quickly ascertained how aggressively the pandemic would change the trajectory of how we live, breathe, and educate our students today. As a result, COVID-19 has revealed much in the way of challenges and opportunities. We have been forced to reimagine, re-engage, and reflect on what it means to teach effectively without compromising the impact to student…

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Following to a T – and add a rap!
Nicholas Westfall, NBCTJanuary 12, 2021

I was in sixth grade during the “No Child Left Behind” era. I was told to choose a career path and somehow determine whether I should take advanced placement, college-prep, or college-tech prep courses in high school. I was eleven years old. I had no career in mind so, with tears in my eyes, I asked my father, “What should I do?” “Well, Nick, you can be anything you want… Just as long as it’s not retail.” My father explained how much he hated working weekends and the absurdly long hours from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I was convinced, but his…

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Informing Instruction with Holistic Assessment
Heavenly Montgomery, NBCTJanuary 5, 2021

Great teachers dedicate time to learn about their students. Getting a holistic picture of each child allows proficient educators to design instruction to meet specific needs. The COVID 19 pandemic has put new obstacles between teachers and students that seem insurmountable at times. I am impressed with the way some educators have adjusted amid turmoil and suffering. Initially, the threat of federal accountability loomed large, as if there was not enough for teachers and students to bear. Formative assessment is more critical than ever. The majority of teachers in the nation are working hard to meet student needs and deserve…

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Questioning Our Most Dearly Held Beliefs
Jonathon Medeiros, NBCTDecember 17, 2020

Aunty Puanani Burgess, a Hawaiian activist, poet, and community leader, writes about how to build community, how to help people know themselves, and each other. She focuses on finding and sharing our moʻolelo, our stories. In examining our lives to find words for our stories, she underscores the power of asking questions, of questioning even, and especially our most closely held beliefs. There is value in the kind of questioning Aunty Pua asks of us. Especially valuable is to question the institutions that are so ubiquitous we forget that certain aspects of them could be different; we forget that these…

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