Returning to City Year for a Day


I started my post-college career by securing my first job as a staff member at City Year in Philadelphia. City Year’s work is aimed is all about helping students reach their full potential.

At City Year, we partner with public schools in high-poverty communities to help bridge the gap between what students need and what schools are designed to provide. In doing so, we’re helping students reach their full potential and make it to graduation in communities all across America.

This opportunity afforded me the look inside Philadelphia schools and the nudge I needed to get my teaching certificate and begin my journey. Last week, I had the opportunity to return to my first community and share my experience as a high school teacher. I spoke to corps member (Americorps volunteers) about the ways they can find inroads when tutoring and mentoring high school students. The experience and feedback was amazing and I am grateful for the opportunity. I hope I get to continue to stay involved with the organization that helped me get started on my journey as a teacher.

Many thanks to Michelle, Kellie, Sean, Jim, and other City Year leadership members who worked to get out to Boston last week.

In Conversation with Teachers from University of Southern Maine

I had the pleasure of “meeting” teachers from the University of Southern Maine via my online connection with Susan Dee. These participants had read Chapter 4 of Thrive and had collected their responses and questions in this google doc.

It was an invigorating discussion for me because their questions were honest, hard, and went beyond the platitudes that teachers often get. I hope I did justice to their inquiry and special thanks to Susan and other participants for their invitation into their learning community. If you want to check out our conversation from this morning, you can do so here:

Some of the questions we tackled together include:

What advice would you give to people who feel like they have never had any great role models for long periods of time (either as mentor teachers or colleagues) for teaching their specific subject. (For me, French) I feel like I’ve seen examples of what is not the greatest but not necessarily what is the greatest.

If teachers are supposed to show vulnerability, then how can we earn the respect of our students? Students will often test the boundaries of the rules early on, so how can we deal with this, while still showing an appropriate amount of vulnerability?

When I began teaching, I had a really hard time even finding a personal “voice” to listen to amid the noise of all that newness. Do you have any recommendations for first identifying one’s voice and sense of place within the structure and the complex personal relationships of the school system?

Start of @TheEdCollab – Congrats Chris!

I wanted to take a moment and congratulate my friend and colleague Chris Lehman as he embarks on a new adventure. If you missed his BIG annoucement yesterday, you can view it here:

This announcement leads me to wonder and seek feedback from you:

What kinds of services would you want from this group?

How do you think we can work together to best support teachers across the country?

What is a need in school that maybe speakers/consultants are not currently filling?

I am honored and humbled to be asked to join this work and I look forward to connecting with you soon! Many thanks for reading this post.

If you want to go far, go together

If you’ve been reading Thrive, then maybe you’ll consider joining a group of educators via the #EDThrive twitter chat on Monday July 21st at 7 PM ET. I am hoping to get a chance to connect with readers who I may not already “know” via twitter and hear their feedback. You’ll have an opportunity to share your teaching journey as well learn from other participants’ experiences. Please consider joining us for that evening. Here is more info:

If a Facebook group discussion is more like your thing, you might want to consider joining this Thrive discussion group created by John Scovill.

I am about to jump into that discussion and share some of my thoughts there, I hope you’ll consider joining this community for the next few weeks and share your thoughts as well. The greatest thing about having written Thrive is the continuing learning I am getting to do from the teachers who are sharing their thoughts on my work. I am truly grateful. The spirit of this book about not going alone and it is truly evident in these communities and conversations.

For example, this group of teachers in Indiana for past six weeks have been having a robust discussion around the book and ideas presented in it, you can join this conversation as well and contribute your own ideas to it.

Special thanks to all the teachers who are creating these opportunities for others to read, share, and discuss the ideas from this book. It means more than words can ever express. Thank you.

Salon (gathering) for Teachers — Free Event in Philadelphia on Monday July 21

On Monday July 21st at 11 am, I am hoping to bring together educators in Philadelphia to have a conversation around our practice. I posted the info below in a Facebook event and now there are already more than 10 educators planning on coming to this event.

Want to think more deeply about your practice and pedagogy?

Want to get a jump start on planning for next school year?

Want to connect with other inspirational teachers in the Philadelphia area?

I’ve been asked to meet and help support planning curriculum by several individuals in past few weeks. I figured why not gather more minds and share some of our ideas with one and another. So please consider coming and let’s (re)imagine and daydream about the next school year together.

Please help get the word out by sharing this event with your networks. Please feel free to bring others and invite other teachers to join us. Thank you! Hope to see you there.

Meenoo Rami

If you’re in Philly, I hope you’ll come out on Monday, see more info here. What would it look like if more of these salons were planned around the country. Steal my idea and create such an event for educators in your area and share your conversation with me. I hope you’re enjoying this month of July. Take care.

Is the next Lebron James sitting in your classroom?

When I read about Lebron returning to Cleveland on Twitter, I immediately dismissed it as “sports news” and kept browsing my timeline for something more worthwhile.

Of course, upon reading this piece by him in Sports Illustrated, I was taken aback by my own prejudice and ignorance of his thinking behind this monumental decision.

If you missed it, here is what he said:

But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.
In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.

What moved me about Lebron’s statement was his longview on his impact as a athlete but also as a citizen/change agent. It led me to wonder and ask myself, who is the next Lebron James in my classroom. Of all the students I’ve taught in my adopted home– city of Philadelphia, who will rise up and make it a better place for the next generation of children. How do we empower our students to become change agents and how do we help our students see the power they possess to make a difference?
Our work is akin to the work of architects but instead of standing before a building and admiring our work, our greatest hope as teachers is that we will help propel our students to take care of our communities. To encourage our students come back to their hometowns and stay.

My salute to Mr. James for his vision and for setting a great example for the kids in Northeast Ohio and elsewhere.

Hack Your Writing Presentation at KUWP #nwp #clmooc


Today at 1:30 PM ET, you can join me and other teachers from Kean University Writing Project as we host a live conversation for Connected Learning Mooc (#clmooc).

This morning, I had the honor of spending some time with Teacher Consultants from KUWP and share some of my thinking around hacking/writing practices in my classroom. You can watch the recorded presentation and some of the conversation it generated here:

What stood out to me as a presenter as I shared this experience of learning in a community with participants were the following thoughts:

• It is so important to me to continue to position myself as a learner as I visit different community and spaces. I need to continue to look for mentors in my life.
• I have a deep desire to visit more classrooms. How do I balance that need with my commitment to my students?
• I really want to stay in touch with Kim (summer institute director at KUWP), there is much I can learn from her and others there.
• How do I effectively gauge the response from my audience when I present?
• How can I bring in voices of my students into my future presentations? Perhaps I need to document their voices via video that I can easily share with other teachers.

If you’re around today at 1:30 PM ET, I hope you’ll join the Make with Me event for #clmooc here. Thank you so much for your visit to this blog. I continue to write for myself and for you. Thanks again.

Hack Your Writing via #clmooc at Kean University Writing Project


I’ve had the amazing opportunity to spend my day with the Kean University Writing Project TCs taking part in their hacking and making activities involving paper circuitry  KUWP is hosting the #clmooc this week and the theme is Hack Your Writing. Tomorrow, I will get to share my thoughts on how I think about hacking writing with my students. But today was amazing because it was my opportunity to play, hack, and hangout with some of the best minds in our field.

Look what I made today:



Special thanks to Mia, Christina, Erica, Kim and others for today. You showed the utmost generosity in hosting me at your WP site and I am very grateful. Thank you.