Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Finally getting around to posting about the PeaceJam Global Call to Action Conference that 4 of my students + myself went to on Sept. 11-13 in Los Angeles.


First of all, if you are not familiar with PeaceJam, check out their website -- it is a great organization, and an awesome thing for kids to be involved in. Nobel Peace Laureates work with youth on service learning projects, and there is an excellent curriculum for the adult educators to help the kids develop their projects.

In their written reflections after the conference, my students said the most memorable part for them was seeing how other teenagers have developed projects to meet needs in their own communities. There were kids there from all over the world doing awesome things, and getting so much love from peace activist superstars.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Kicking back.

Week 1 down. Already it has been SOOOOOOO much better than last year. And already I had a conflict with another teacher, and resolved it using our schoolwide restorative justice process, which I believe in deeply, and I am so happy that I can now say to kids "It works -- I know from personal experience."

Meanwhile, I am running out the door to school again, even though it's Saturday. ACT prep class waits for no man, woman, or anxious teenager!

p.s. Though I will never volunteer to do the schedule for the whole-school orientation again, I am glad that I scheduled in a schoolwide game of kickball.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Reality check

Have been having an experience at school that makes me feel sort of isolated and crazy. Meanwhile Chris has the RNC going on in the background which is sort of amplifying the effect.

Last year we had a few students who thought it was funny to draw pictures on the whiteboards of "Mexican" people wearing sombreros and mustaches, and in one case standing behind a barbed wire fence. When I would ask the kids to erase these pictures, and later write them up for it, I got very little support from the other staff members. They would say things like, "Well, personally I don't find it offensive, but if Julie does then we shouldn't have it in our school."

On Friday, I noticed that our Spanish teacher had hung up a poster outside her classroom with a drawing of a chili pepper wearing a sombrero and a mustache, saying "Ole!" Long story short, I am basically the only teacher in the school who finds this culturally insensitive. I am getting no back up from our school leaders, one of whom actually told the Spanish teacher not to take it down so that it could be used as a teaching tool.

What do I do? Am I crazy that this is insensitive and doesn't belong in a school?