Show Notes and More…
What a pleasure to talk with Amy Brooks from Bald Eagle Area SD and Anita Young in this episode about the capacity of Middle School Life Skills students to learn Spanish. Listen in!!
Amy and Anita believe in the capacity of all students to learn. Teaching all people has been a passion project for Anita – so when she met John Tobias and Tracy Boone from BEA – she knew her dream of offering languages for ALL could be possible.
Here are a few key takeaways from our conversation:
- Change is hard, and new is sometimes scary. Until Anita and Amy did the pilot they were both a little nervous about how teaching Spanish Virtually to Life Skills students would go. When they saw the learners’ reaction to the pilot – ‘[the students] were hooked – and their feelings were contagious’, it created the enthusiasm to do this new, hard thing.
- Amy and Anita are grateful to John Tobias and Tracey Boone, the Principal and Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Bald Eagle Area SD for putting kids first!
- Anita and Amy know that students in the Life Skills class have the capacity to learn, they hope that more people in schools will see the possibilities to include students who learn differently in a variety of content areas.
- The strategies that Anita and Amy use to help support students in learning Spanish would work for ALL students in ANY class.
- Amy and Anita believe that seeing this program in action is believing that it is possible to include all students in World Language classes. They are happy to talk to anyone who wants to know more.
- The students have made gains beyond just learning Spanish (although that is really important). Some of the areas of growth include improved social skills, recognizing and talking about feelings, getting to know their peers better, and feeling more confident in the classroom and the school.
What we are listening to and reading:
Anita – One Bad Mother Podcast – she likes it because they have frank discussions about parenting, being a working parent and that they often consider what it is like to have a child who is different.
Amy – Adulting Made Easy – after finishing a Master’s Degree (during the pandemic) and teaching a Life Skills class for the first time, Amy found the resources and blog to be a big help to her in the classroom.
Pat – The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida -this memoir demonstrated for me how one person with autisms might think, feel, perceive, in ways few of us can imagine. As a parent – this book helped me to imagine how much I don’t know and how much really is happening in the head and heart of my child. I can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t think that each human with some difference is curious, loving, smart, awesome, strong, and complex.
Every day I get a few newsletters in my inbox. Here are a few that ignite my thinking and support some of the work I do:
- The Learner-Centered Leader by Dr. Tom Butler – Tom provides an overview of concepts for school leaders as they relate to being learner-centered. I value his candid remarks and honest approach to difficult subjects. (Go to the bottom of his newsletter to subscribe).
- Leadership Thoughts by Dr.Patrick Crawford– Pat gives us a lot to think about every week from his extensive reading list. His passion is leveraging professional learning to inspire, support, and influence leaders in education! (Go to the bottom of his newsletter to subscribe).
- The Leadership Freak by Dan Rockwell – Dan gives you tips and news you can use in under 300 words. It is refreshing and easy to digest.