Beth has been a steadfast member of my teaching team for the last three years. I often heard her discussing the dream of going back to school, but with a full-time job, a young son, and the cost of higher education these days she was unable to commit-until now. As my nominee for the Teach it Forward scholarship at the University of Phoenix Beth just received word that she has been accepted for the Masters of Arts in Education/Administration and Supervision program. Over the next month the final stages to her enrollment will be completed and she will begin this exciting step in her career. While there are 54 State Teachers of the year, only 30 of the nominees were accepted by the university, so I am especially pleased and proud of Beth Reed. Congratulations are in order and my thanks for all you do for the students of Portland. I anxiously await your stories of this new phase in your education.
As a regular Facebook user, I am not immune to trends in social media including the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. On August 16th I was challenged by Dolly Sullivan, the program director for the Maine Teacher of the Year. Of course I accepted, and posted my video on line the next day. Deciding who to challenge was not a problem, and I challenged the Superintendent of the Portland Schools, Manny Caulk, the former PEA President, Kathleen Casasa, and the Connecticut Teacher of the Year to keep the momentum moving. Since the 24 hour “rule” was not strictly enforced on this one, donations to ALS will be made from all of us. Mark you calendars because he Superintendent and Kathleen Casasa will be participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge on the first day of school at 1 pm in front of King. (photos and video will be taken) I appreciate their enthusiasm for the challenge, their understanding of the devastation a diagnosis of ALS brings to families, and their dedication to the children in this district. I have posted my video here, and look forward to a new posting on the Portland Public Schools website once the challenge is complete!
The Heart of Wonderful Teachers
I live in St. Louis, Missouri. I am sure that you and the rest of the world have heard about the many issues the people in Ferguson have faced since Saturday, August 9. The children of families in that small community are a part of the large Ferguson Florissant School District. Schools in that district were originally scheduled to open on Thursday, August 14th; but, the violence and very dangerous acts of a few people made it too dangerous for children to travel the streets of that small community, so all of the schools remained closed. On Monday evening, August 18th district officials announced that schools would be closed all week.
This news was painful for the children who wanted to go to school. Several children of all ages told local TV reporters how much they wanted to go to school. One high school senior did not get the news and went to school dressed up in a suit because he wanted to start his senior year in a "business like manner".
This was when the WONDERFUL teachers in the Ferguson Florissant School District got together, talked with library officials, and set up "schools" in libraries throughout the district for any students who wanted to come. Some students walked and some were brought by parents; but they came! The teachers engaged the students from 11AM to 4PM. It warmed my heart to see children writing, playing learning games, listening to stories, drawing and singing.
I need to say that while some of the teachers in those "schools" live within the district, many teachers live in communities near and far. Their hearts directed them to work with the children and prepare them for the start of school. You also need to know that the teachers were not required to be at their schools during those difficult days. They could have stayed at home.
Their actions reflect the hearts of all the teachers in our area who have been so concerned about the children in that district. Their actions reflect the hearts of teachers throughout our great nation.
- Margaret Williams, 2009 Missouri Teacher of the Year