The Stories We Tell About Alternative Schools
Jamie Alarcon, Ed.D
Alternative schools are often an effective resources for dropout prevention, but are often looked at by society as “where the bad kids go” or even worse can be stigmatized as less than in comparison to a traditional high school. These narratives are played out in entertainment where a student gets threatened by an authoritative principal to go to an alternative school, however that is not always the case. The true story of alternative schools often goes untold.
Keywords: Alternative Education, Misconceptions, Stigma
The Stories We Tell About Alternative Schools
While watching one of my favorite comedian's new sitcoms I was reminded of my work when the show based on a school setting where the teacher has a class of unruly kids is the savior of the school when he volunteers to teach “those kids. ” You know the ones, the ones that have a hard time comprehending the material, are failing some or most of their classes, and have poor attendance. The kids that fall through the cracks and are deemed at-risk of not graduating. For much of this, it is relatable as the teacher does his best, works hard, and spends a lot of time building relationships. However, there was the part where the assistant principal threatens one of the students with going to the alternative school. This is true. Every student that I have worked with over a decade has had this conversation. “Pass your classes or you will go to the alternative school” or “If you do not change your behavior you will go to the alternative school.” This is not new. However, when the student and teacher talked about the alternative school in the sitcom there was no conversation about what the school does, how it looks different, how it helps students. Instead, it perpetuated the stigma of alternative schools that are places where the bad kids go and even worse educators to go work.
I have worked with alternative educators from all over the United States. I have met and talked with passionate educators that work in alternative settings for all grade levels. In every first meeting of another alternative educator, there is this initial “finally, someone who gets me” moment and then we further discuss our work and the great things we are doing as we collaborate and get ideas from each other and meet a new friend to bounce ideas off of. The stigma of alternative schools in the US are defeating to those working in those schools, and toxic for students that attend those schools. I have had students that were afraid of my alternative school diploma thinking it would be thought of as “less than.” I have always thought how can that be? How can we be less than? At our school students are able to get one-on-one attention, individualized instruction, positive behavioral supports, build relationships with adults on campus due to the small school setting, and were able to help students pass classes they were not able to do at the comprehensive school using the same standards and assessment measures? How can we be less than?
Well, this is in part because of the stories we tell in alternative schools. Even with years and years of discussions of equity under our belt, different is still scary. We still vilify what we don’t know. It is easy to say that alternative schools water down the curriculum and that is why students pass their classes. It is easy to think of the other is bad and assume what you are doing is right. It is easy to blame student learning on the student, their parents, or their upbringing. What alternative schools do right is meet students where they are. Once you meet students where they are, provide hope, meaning creating pathways for students to achieve high school graduation using multiple pathways and agency thinking, and foster caring relationships, students can succeed (Snyder, 2000). Yes, even those students can succeed.
So as we move forward and tell stories of alternative education, let’s carve our a narrative about what is going right with alternative education. Let’s seek how they are benefiting students and look at ways to make this a more mainstream model. Let’s recognize that sometimes an alternative setting or a new beginning is good for some students. They get to start a new narrative of their journey without any past baggage. They get to work with teachers that are trained in motivating unmotivated students, reaching the unreachable students, and having high expectations for students that don’t have high expectations of themselves. Alternative education allows for this because the structures are different. Alternative schools can use time and structures differently than most comprehensive schools. Alternative schools are designed to be small to build relationships. They generally do not have robust sports programs and magnet programs, because their purpose is different. Their goal is to ensure students no longer fall through the cracks. So with this understanding, I hope that we can change the narrative of alternative schools from one of “where the bad kids go” to one of where students go to achieve their dreams.
Snyder, C. R. (Ed.). (2000). Handbook of hope: Theory, measures, and applications. Academic press.
I am not on the front lines of the microaggression circuit, but one thing that I think we should stop saying as educators to fellow peers is how young one looks. I am starting my 15th season of teaching and have been told: "I don't look old enough..." or "you look too young to..." EVERY SCHOOL YEAR. I am sure this is meant to be harmless...but does it? It is to say "you do not have my experience," "you are not a seasoned professional," or "you have much more to learn."
I have done this work for 15 years, constantly reading, updating my pedagogy, trying to fight back being jaded and burnt out, sending myself to expensive professional development training and making this work a part of who I am. In the 15 years, I have been an educator I have been naive in the eyes of my peers, and one who wears rose-colored glasses, or overly optimistic. I have worked hard for this youthful spirit, and keep working toward educating every student to the best of my ability every single day. I want to believe there is good in this world and in every student.
So please, let's keep wonderful educators in this wonderful field by not pushing them out because of your assumptions. Hold back, don't compare yourself to others. And if you think someone looks too young for something, ask them what face cream they use, and don't demean them for looking "too young." Because if they got the job, they are not too young...they are professionals, treat them that way.
I am loving the enthusiasm around alternative education and how social media is bringing like-minded people together. I think this is due to national interest in accountability in alternative education. I am really excited regardless. I thought in this blog post I would share my favorite #alted minded follows!
Twitter: My favorite #alted friend and #alted sister Jillian Damon started a successful #alted twitter chat every Sunday night at 6 pm that provides insight and support for #alted educators of all capacities. With weekly host, you get a glimpse at what others are doing and learning with and among peers. It is fabulous! Follow @Jillian_damon for more #altedchat info
My other twitter friend and author I met at the Reaching the Wounded Child Conference this past summer never always provides interesting and thought-provoking posts in support of vulnerable students. Follow @Angelsuperhero
Other favorite follows include @NAEA_HOPE or the National Alternative Education Association as well as @NDPCn the National Dropout Prevention Center, both have conferences where you meet some of the best most passionate educators I have ever encountered. To add to that list @RAPSA is great for research-based practices for alted and vulnerable populations as well as @ASCD and @solutiontree for general curriculum/all things education.
Last, but not least I love following @CCEAeducation as it is the primary source of all things continuation schools, for those not in California, alternative secondary schools that serve over aged, under-credited youth.
Other favorite follows include:
Facebook: I love facebook because I am able to read thought-provoking articles from what I have deemed reliable sources and really good content facilitators from various pages and people. Some of the most valuable articles I get is from @edutopia, @papertiger movie page (it has all things ACES related), @edsource, @PDK, @TheTraumaProject, @attendanceworks, @mindshift, @teachingtolerance, @traumainformedpractice, and @mindfulschools
Instagram: Instagram is an idea-generating machine and it allows you to see inside other teachers classrooms to get ideas for yourself. Although, I myself, an not a great instateacher I love scrolling through my feed to see valuable ideas that I can use or adapt for my classroom or school. My favorite teachers that inspire me are @welcome_to_alt_ed for instant alted teacher in classroom ideas, @traumainformedpbs for trauma-informed tidbits and daily inspiration about teaching kids that may have experienced trauma, @pathway2sucess1 for various strategies that might work for students, and @centerontrauma for trauma and adversity awareness and training.
Also, I use Instagram to get ideas and guidance on new strategies I try to use in my classroom that I can tailor for alted. This year I wanted to incorporate lit circles so I followed @superheroteacher and saw that she had a workbook for any novel on @Teacherspayteachers. I used @thesuperheroteacher’s workbook and I hosted a book tasting for my students that was inspired by many teachers on Instagram and have loved the results, especially in a mixed grade level (11th and 12th grade English) mixed ability alted English class. Instagram is seriously exploding with ideas, you just have to tweak them for alted.
If you are looking to connect to other #alted educators post with the #alted hashtag and if no one else will follow you, I will :) Let’s connect!
*None of this was sponsored, I am not that cool.
At the much awaited DASS is being presented here are a few things that Continuation Schools can do to prepare for this transition. Full disclosure, I did not attend the RAPSA conference, however, I did meet with a task force member and get some clarification and ideas of how we can move forward.
2. After watching the webinar think about the internal data you and your team are collecting and think about what type of data you can collect within your school (I will provide ideas later in this post)
3. The DASS indicators (as of now)
If you want your data to reflect a true dropout rate (as provided by this formula) LEA’s will have to redesignate student grade level based on credits. Meaning if a Senior comes into your school with 5 credits, they would be a 9th grader in CALPADS, not a 12th grader. This a huge shift, CALPADS is overwhelmed with how to calculate the College and Career Indicator, so it will be up to LEA’s and schools if they want to spend the time hand entering a students grade because as of now CALPADS cannot accommodate this task. If you do this you will be able to calculate the growth that your school provided to students. This is a growth model like the other indicators. Again, work with your district, talk about it with others, but this is a huge shift.
The second choice is to leave your CALPADS data as is and consider the baseline data. Meaning, you do not recalculate student grades based on credits accumulated, if you do not recalculate student grade levels already. This is the choice my school has taken as of now. We will take a look at the data, wrap our heads around what the dashboard is saying, and create goals based on growth. This will be our point of growth. I will also encourage CALPADS to calculate graduation requirements for individual school districts so that longitudinal data will reflect student graduation rates with LEA/District’s graduation requirements to streamline this process.
OR and a big OR, (This is Jamie thinking way outside the box) is something I thought of is agreeing on a common graduation requirement for alternative education...or really continuation high schools. Meaning, what if we thought that 220 credits and the CCI indicator were indicators that would validate the diploma a student receives from a continuation high school. THIS IS TOTALLY FOOD FOR THOUGHT. But it would be interesting to have that conversation amongst continuation schools and with all LEA’s so we can really come to consensus on what students need to be successful after high school.
So to say this in another way, students can fulfill the CCI by doing one of the items listed on the menu for the DASS, one of those ways is the workforce certification. However, don’t get caught up on the “certificate” because from what I understand this is and can be something that is created at the school site and a can address the CCI indicator.
I often see these skills demonstrated in schools that have extended orientation, or students are enrolled in an orientation-like class for a quarter, or trimester, or whatever structure is in place. *There are many names for these types of classes, but these are the classes students are expected to take upon entry to the class, but this class can be taken at any time they enroll in your school if they did not fulfill another CCI indicator on the menu.
I really appreciate the alternative measures of alternative schools. I appreciate the thought and hard conversations at the state level that went into this process. This is a process. We can be a part of the process. I will encourage everyone to speak up and ask questions and give suggestions to the DASS team via email and feedback (all contact information is on the last slide of the webinar ppt). I am hopeful that we will be given baseline data and indicators to focus our work and grow as a program. I am a champion for hope and a champion for students and strive to bring equity to all vulnerable youth enrolled in any alternative schools. However, do not stop calculating internal data within your school. There is a narrative piece to this work and you will need to justify the data. Keep tracking your data on student credit retrieval, student attendance (not ADA, but like the real numbers) including tardies/lates, student grade acquisition (not just D’s and F’s), work with your local community college and track longitudinal data of your students in the community college system, etc. There are so many of these important measures that we need to consider before we make changes to our schools and invest money via our LCAP. Let’s be purposeful in this decision making and consider structural and pedagogical changes based on what we find, not just from what we think or what we saw at another site.
Let’s encourage CALPADS to calculate our graduation criteria (credits) and calculate those true grad rates based on the one-year cohort rate.
Let’s work together and track our data and gather evidence on best practices, rather than rely on our gut or intuition. Let’s use technology to come together and get off of our island and tackle this beast together and use it to unite us and create goals of being able to provide structures for vulnerable youth that provides academic proficiency across the board. I want the art and science of what we do every day to paint a picture of every continuation school beating the odds and changing the lives of every and any student enrolled in one of our programs. Let’s have conversations with our districts, brainstorm, then come together and continue this conversation together as a continuation school community to look at the benefits of these indicators to combat negative stigmas and assumptions. Let’s come together and problem solve and work together to do what is best for kids. Change is good, but be part of the solution. This is a process and your input is valued and needed.
This past school year was one of the hardest in my career. This was due to the trauma and stress I had experienced this past year. This time last year I was in a hospital room after my grandpa had tried to take his own life after his first dose of chemo. He had advanced prostate cancer that had spread throughout his organs. Let me be very clear, he was in indescribable pain and his quality of life was unlivable and I was the one who spoke to a doctor about putting him in hospice, which is a lot of pressure and stress for any person. My mom and uncles were so distraught they could hardly function. Nobody knew what to do. My sister found him and noticed that he had overdosed. She was so mad. There were so many emotions, and I felt so guilty for being the one to say “no more pain.” Acute trauma.
I lost my father-in-law to prostate cancer. I knew and saw the signs of dying. It was heart-wrenching as was the weeks that led up to my grandfather’s death which happened to be the first few weeks of school. In that time, my work life was also a little up in the air. My then principal had received a promotion, and at the time took on many administrative tasks as an instructional coach. I took one day of bereavement and then headed back to work due to all of the change at work. My school is a small school, so a change in leadership is a huge change.
I felt like a ghost for months. At a time I really needed community I found my community could not support my grief. They had their own adverse experiences. I found myself being the blame for a poor school culture due to the ASB program I was running. A particularly unsincere colleague allowed students to write a very hurtful article in the school paper about how the ASB program, that as a school was started with academies, was no longer what students wanted and all of the ways it was falling short. This might not have affected me the way it did this last year if my heart was not already broken, but it really hurt me and I felt so inadequate. At this same time, my son was having adverse side effects from the newly released Xyzal, an allergy medicine. My son has always had chronic health conditions with a very weak immune system and severe (anaphylactic) food allergies and environmental allergies. It is common for my son to have open wounds from eczema and lesions from his skin condition, he is always sick with an ear or sinus infection, or a virus, or pneumonia, along with a very restricted diet. Now, he had serious behavioral problems. He had incredible mood swings, aggression, and was violent. He was two years old.
So, I had just lost my best buddy, I was made to feel inadequate at work, and I was struggling with my son who seemed so out of control of his body. Now looking back, I had multiple incidences of acute trauma. Acute trauma last 6-8 weeks. I was experiencing short-term or acute trauma, but it was spread out. So each time I started to get back up, or practice resilience, I was knocked back down. When we talk about trauma, there are three primary types of trauma: acute, chronic, and complex.
There are three types of trauma:
Acute: Single incident
Chronic: Repeated prolonged trauma: Repeated, prolonged trauma
Complex: chronic, interpersonal trauma; varied and multiple traumas; early onset; often by trusted caregivers
To be able to understand trauma, you have to understand that trauma is not an event, but rather a response to an event.
The APA defines trauma as:
an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster” (APA.org, 2018)
My being bullied, for lack of better words, may not be a traumatic event for another person, and probably would not even have affected me if I was in a better mindset, but this last year my emotional response to all of these events were truly traumatic. It affected my doctoral work and affected my teaching. My writing was terrible, I got a B in one of my classes (the ultimate doctoral mark of shame). I was not able to give as much as I normally do to my students or my studies this past year. I serve all at-risk, or as I often state “at-promise” youth. How do you help a wounded student when you are wounded yourself? This was my challenge for this past year.
Well, with my knowledge of trauma I knew I had to practice self-care. I got massages, (I have a membership to Massage Envy), I practiced mindfulness (I am a trained mindful practitioner), I practiced yoga, and I really tried to forgive. I had to forgive my family for putting me in charge of determining the end of my beloved grandfather's life, I forgave my colleague, and the pharmaceutical company that made this drug knowing these adverse side effects in adults, let alone children, and I advocated and tried to understand my son’s behavior. At the beginning of the process of his severe behavior problems, I had no idea what was going on. It was only from tons of research on my part and access to research databases through my doctoral status were we able to get to the root. My son is still chronically ill, he still has behavioral issues, but he is not severely harming himself or others. His situation will be a process, but I am able to have the perspective and vision of hope that I did not have when going through these acute traumatic experiences.
What I wish would have happened differently
First, I wish I would have had a larger community to fall back on. I have my best teacher friends at my small school, but they were facing their own trauma: surgeries, loss of parents, compassion fatigue, and burnout. I found at work there were not many people that could ask me what was wrong because they could not take on one more problem in their own head. Even my new Principal that is very caring and supportive had his own loss that I didn’t fell allowed taking on someone else's pain.
Second, I wish I would have talked to someone. I looked for a therapist and found that a good therapist is hard to find. From insurance limitations and high costs of therapy (being upwards of $100 an hour), it was really hard to find an excellent therapist. I had this same problem when looking for a therapist that specialized in postpartum depression. Three days after my son was born, I lost my cousin to a tragic car accident, he was only 23 and was raised like a brother to me. I was a mess, and I could not find a therapist that listened and did not first offer pills. I do not feel like I was having a chemical imbalance where I would need depression meds, I just needed to be heard and permission to feel.
Summer could not have come sooner this school year. This was the first time I had felt this way in years. I have opened up more about my loss and my son’s health problems and have heard from great people all over the country that see the same thing. They work with trauma and are some of the great change-makers in the US educational system. I have also opened up my network to Instagram and Facebook page have had some of the most motivational and positive feedback from others passionate about Alternative Education, at-risk/at-promise students, and dropout prevention, as well as other graduate students that are suffering through dissertation writing as well.
I have set my intentions to continue forgiving and coming from a place of understanding with those that I don’t like. There is a guided meditation that I love that says “I do not have to like you, I have to love you” and I am planning on making that a poster for me to look at whenever I get frustrated with someone or feel hurt by someone. I am also in the process of forgiving myself for this year that I was not in my opinion “Teacher of the Year” worthy. I am looking forward to being more active on Twitter and building my community on all online platforms. And mostly I am looking forward to new beginnings. Hope is a really big part of resilience building. “Hope is a mindset that the future will be better than the present and that you play a role in making it happen.” (Johnston, 2014). I plan on reading “The Hope Quotient: Raise it and You’ll Never Be The Same” by Ray Johnson and continuing on building my hope, loving my family, and being a better teacher every day I am in the classroom.
I also look forward to writing “Trauma part 2: Trauma in Students”
NewYork City identified a need for on-going and structured professional development for there alternative schools. New York alternative schools are called transfer schools and serve over aged and under credited youth (students can be enrolled as early as 10th grade and have until their 21st birthday to finish their diploma and pass all of the regency exams).
They found the professional development needed to include Social Emotional Learning, rigor, relevance, differentiation, collaborative learning, counseling support, small class/school support, relationships, high standards/expectations with credit recovery, and flexible delivery to name a few. Sounds great, right? Well, New York created a three-year training program to address these things!
A little more about the structure of transfer schools: they enroll students 3-4 times a year and use a trimester system for credit recovery. I thought it was nice that the city decided to have a universal way to address credit recovery, it leads nicely into collaboration.
Transfer schools are unique because they were created out of need when NY noted high dropout rates and needed to address the issue. As the schools got started, there was a vetting process for school leadership and teachers; this work is not for the faint of heart. Once the schools got going, they knew they had passionate teachers and leaders, but what was missing was a professional development that was needed to support students at these schools.
The city then leveraged a 3-year professional development training program (which was no small feat) that works with principals and teachers to develop schools using research-based practices for alternative settings.
To get into the program schools must apply and must commit to the program for three-years. What was created out of this program was a robust learning community where similar schools were able to use data and collaborate toward a goal with focused attention all the while doing what is best for THEIR students. The PD is intense and works directly with schools to create their school-wide goals, common planning time, and Pineapple learning time (where any teacher can go into another teacher class and observe). The PD includes a paid teacher in-service three Saturday's a year, and principals have three meetings a year with others in the program. In these learning communities as with PLC's, schools create their own action research for student improvement.
The data is remarkable, which speaks volumes to schools that use data to guide instruction and work toward a goal. To learn more about this program you can to go:
If you are looking for more consistent posts with some tidbits like me on Facebook :)
2016 brought so much greatness to education. Educational research has brought much attention to some key areas of need in education. The need for public education and the research that shows our Public school systems are able to make gains with students with the least of advantages, it shows that charter schools and privitization are not the right answer for all students, especially for students that are the most challenging to teach. 2016 brought California's highest graduation rates, and lowest dropout rates. It also brought the idea of true equity and opened our eyes to what that looks like. All of this knowledge is a gift.
For me personally, 2016 brought me Mindfulness training through Mindful Schools which was a wonderful experience. It brought me PLC training with the Dufour's which was inspiring, and in 2016 I was accepted into a Educational Doctoral Program that challenged my thinking and has pushed my academic ability beyond what I thought was possible. 2016 brought me health and blessings beyond anything I could imagine and for that I am forever grateful.
With this reflection I have a few resolutions I wanted to share, and I hope we can commit to these resolutions together.
1. Don't go it alone.
Being a continuation school teacher, administrator, staff member can be a draining job. We work with students that need the most everything: love, time, structure, attention, positive reinforcement, to be listen to, modeling, positive feedback, one-on-one attention, check-ins, counseling, pep talks, a shoulder to cry on, a mentor, a caregiver, and a friend. We do all of this, but you can not be the only one who does all of this for every student. As a school we have to share these responsibilities for all of our students. There is a lot of things that go into this to make sure you do not get burned out and that this is a shared responsibility for your site. This is not an easy feat. There is alot that goes into creating this shared vision and school culture. You as a leader have to make sure students come first. This is not something that will happen overnight, but if this is something that speaks to you, the Professional Learning community (PLC) process is one that works.
So what does that mean? Less "coblaborating" and more collaborating. It means working as a team and depending on one another. It looks like every student being educated and nurtured by staff communicating and trusting each other to work toward your school's mission and vision. Let's learn from leaders that have gone it alone. Erin Gruwell from The Freedom Writers Diary, she went it alone for four years tirelessly working for the most at-risk students. But that is all she had to give, four years. Imagine what she could have achieved in a school that had the same vision she had and their mission was to help all students. We can't keep burning teachers out, we can believe that it is one person's sole responsibility to change the world. We have to do it together. We have to collaborate and learn from each other.
If anything I hope my blog and facebook page is a little bit of that. From school to school we need each other. There are a dwindling number of continuation schools in the state of California. There are no best practices, besides the recommendations that come from CCEA (thank goodness for those), and we are very vulnerable as research has pointed out that continuation schools across the state vary drastically. Some are very successful, some not so much. We as schools can not take on the educational world by ourselves, we need each other, we need to learn from eachother's successes and learn from eachother's mistakes. We need to use data to drive our practices, and note that common data practices are not always true for continuation schools, and also note that we can no longer use past experience as evidence, we have to collect that data. Let's go into 2017 with a resolution of collaborating and working with each other. Let's connect and ask questions (even if they seem silly or insignificant), let's discuss our visions of continuation schools in the state and how we can make them better. Let's share our struggles and be there for one another and grow as professionals and as a team.
2. Fight the Good Fight
We are in a time that many educational practices are going to be questioned. Be prepared for these questions. Continuation schools can no longer justify our worth by creating less suspensions in our comprehensive feeder schools. We have so start collecting data. I just finished my school's WASC document for our WASC visit in January. If you are preparing for this visit in the next couple of years please take my advise and prepare early! The new document is very comprehensive and asks schools to take a serious look at your data. Some things that were surprising to my school was the ethnic make up and our school, and we questioned our own cultural competencies in a positive and progressive way. Other things that were even more dire was the percentage of students we referred to adult education. For our school district the community college runs the adult education program. With further investigation we found that the students that we did refer to adult education do not succeed, they are virtually dropouts. We then questioned what we could do to help the students that could not graduate from our school succeed. We also noted that we needed to be keeping the data that showed the growth of our students, and not just their improving grades. We needed to show the data that students attendance improved when they came to our school, that student were happier at our school, that our student surveys showed that our students were happy and safe in our school. With this process we noted that we needed to survey students more often as we have a transient community, we also noted that we need to be thinking of a way to keep in contact with our graduates so we can gauge our successes in preparing students for life after graduation.
With the current political educational climate we as continuation schools need to be prepared with our data as evidence for our need and our worth. Our schools can no longer be looked as the schools where all the bad kids go. Our schools are where students that fall through the cracks have a soft place to land. Continuation schools are in need of some good press, and everyone in our state need to know that they are essential for the success of our most vulnerable populations.
3. Share your goals with others (especially with your students)
Often we feel like our goals for teaching or school are personal and we don't share those with many, especially our students. Often my students are my biggest cheerleaders. So when I get back to school from winter break I am going to share my goal of working out once a week (I like achieveable goals) and I am challenging my teaching to collaborate more and make all of my lessons relevant. With that I intend to be implicit in explaining why my lessons are relevant for post high school life.
4. Attend and present at the CCEA conference in 2017
If there is any conference you attend this year make sure it is the CCEA conference. I know in the past it has felt a bit unorganized, but I promise it is always worth it. If I need to talk you into it, email me your phone number! This is the only chance we get to learn from each other. I recommend not going to sponsored events, and I will also advise you to not get caught up in bringing in a paid outside speakers to your school, but you know what is right for your school. I do recommend going to as many teacher and current principal presentations as possible. I have learned so much from those speakers and have added so much of what we have learned into our own school. Our Career Fair, school garden, and counseling and discipline practices have all come from ideas received at a CCEA conference.
Even more than attend, if you are a seasoned CCEA attendee this is the year for you to present. I have learned so much from the comments on the Altedfrommybed facebook page, I can't even imagine what I would learn from you presenting. We all have so much to offer, let's mix things up and get some new presenters this year! Again, if you need a little motivation just shoot me an email, and I will give you a nudge in the right direction!
Also, would anyone be interested in an altedfrommybed mixer? I will post this question on my facebook page. I would love to meet up with all of you!
5. Take care of yourself
As always, and this will be a resolution for me every year and I hope for you every year as well. If it is mindfulness, yoga, martial arts, working out, getting a massage, taking a walk; please, do it for yourself. Make art, take photographs, be creative. Creativity breeds creativity. Bring happiness and creativity to your students and families. These are the greatest of all gifts.
Most of all, I hope 2017 is the best of all years. I wish all of you the best of everything. You deserve it.