A Message from the Twittersphere

“Last night my North Star faded to black.  But the thing is: Stars don’t disappear.  They explode into stardust that is showered throughout the universe.  You did not leave us.  You simply became more expansive.”

My sister saw this on Twitter and sent it my way a few days ago knowing that my mother’s birthday was coming up and knowing that it might help me feel a little better about losing the woman I loved so very much.

It does help.  I love looking at stars.  I love the idea that my mother is not gone, but is showered throughout the universe and has become even more expansive in death than she was in life.

Thank you, Twitter.

Thank you, dear sister.



My 31st Birthday

Today is my 31st birthday.  OK, I’m not 31 years old (how I wish that were so), but 31 years ago I did give birth to my first child, and so today I am celebrating. I’m celebrating my 31 year old daughter, Mackensie.

Mackensie has already lived a pretty spectacular life and grown into a pretty remarkable person.

She’s accomplished a lot in her 31 years:

-She’s overcome childhood cancer (I’m sorry to start with that, but it’s a big one.).

-She’s the best sister a sibling could ask for.

-She can sing, act, draw, play piano, cook, and sew.

-She’s a caring, kind, interesting, and fun daughter.

-She’s traveled throughout Europe, and even into Africa.

-She’s scholarly and oh, so smart.

-She’s lived a year  in France.

-She’s completed her undergraduate and graduate studies.

-She has a good job.

-She has her own company.

-She’s been financially independent for years.

-She lives her own life in New York City.

-She loves art and music and dance.

-She has incredible friends, and she is an incredible friend.

-She loves her family, and we love her.

-She loves animals and the natural world.

-She reads… a lot.

-She’s incredibly creative and talented.

I could go on …..

I am not claiming that my first born is perfect.

-She can be complicated.

-She has strong opinions (that are not always in line with my own).

-She can be cranky (especially when she’s hungry – or hangry, as she calls it).

-She can be a bit inflexible at times.

-She is sometimes tough on me (I am her mother!).

But overall….

Mackensie is brilliant, without being an intellectual snob,

She is strong, without being callous.

She is kind to others, without pandering.

She is loyal, without losing sight of herself.

She is fun, without being crazy.

She is responsible, without losing her ability to take risks.

She is tightly connected to her family and friends, without losing her independence.

I could go on…..

But for now, I’m just going to celebrate my 31st birthday and my 31 year old daughter!


Finding a Focus

The school year has started, and I am already running at top speed.  We are only three weeks in and orders are unpacked and delivered, I’ve attended lots of meetings, materials have been created, lessons are being modeled, curriculum is being unpacked, new teachers are being trained, and assessments are being completed.  My schedule is full and it feels good to be off to such a strong start.  I think teachers are happy that they are receiving so much support from their Literacy Coach at this early time of the year.

However, I’m also concerned.  I know that supporting teachers is important and  that building relationships is essential.  Teachers really appreciate it when I help organize a classroom library or create materials for upcoming lessons.  They thank me when I help them score prompts and copy rubrics for a grade level meeting.  They are appreciative when I come to their kindergarten classrooms at the end of the day and help with pack up and dismissal.  But my work as a coach is more than that.  I’m responsible for taking the long view of literacy in my building and in my district.  I recently heard Barak Obama’s biographer say that President Obama always had the long view.  He saw the long arc toward justice. I need to keep my eye on the long arc toward literacy for all students. I need to be sure that my coaching does more than just “lend a helping hand.”  That will only get us so far.

I need to find my focus for the year.  Will it be:

building student and teacher independence (vs. compliance)?

helping teachers personalize the teaching and learning in their units of study?

studying student work to determine success?

I know I have to do the “hard work” of coaching, not just the nice helping work.  I need to help teachers to bring students to new levels of literacy learning.

What are your ideas for this school year?  I’d love to hear them.