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A teacher is never the giver of truth but the pointer to the truth – Bruce Lee

Pearl Arredondo: My story, from gangland daughter to star teacher

Pearl Arredondo: My story, from gangland daughter to star teacher

Pearl Arredondo grew up in East Los Angeles, the daughter of a high-ranking gang member who was in and out of jail. Many teachers wrote her off as having a problem with authority. Now a teacher herself, she’s creating a different kind of school and telling students her story so that they know it’s okay if sometimes homework isn’t the first thing on their minds.

Pearl Arredondo helped establish a pilot middle school that teaches students to be good communicators in the 21st century.

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER?

Pearl Arredondo grew up in the impoverished East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. She was raised by a single-mother, a long time Los Angeles Unified School District office secretary, who saw firsthand the challenges facing students in public schools. To ensure that she got the best education in the district, Arredondo was bussed to schools almost an hour away from home.

Arredondo graduated and moved on to Pepperdine University, where she received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Education and Instructional Leadership. She was the first in her family to graduate from college and began her teaching career at San Fernando Middle School (SFMS) — the very middle school she attended eight years prior.

At SFMS, she embraced the mission of enhancing educational opportunities for historically underserved students. To do so, she launched the school’s Multimedia Academy, which serviced 350 low-income students. After three successful years, the Multimedia Academy faculty decided it was time to make a full split and become a separate school. In 2010, she helped lead an ambitious reform agenda, through a pilot reform model, that focused on technology development, improving outcomes for children and strengthening families. The team founded San Fernando Institute for Applied Media (SFiAM), the first pilot school established in the Los Angeles Unified School District at the middle school level.

Arredondo is passionate about increasing student access to technology and closing the digital divide, and is a tireless advocate for technology-based curriculum that prepare students to enter a global economy. Her goal is to make SFiAM a model of educational reform.

Currently, Arredondo is pursuing a Master of Science in Educational Administration and is a 2013 National Board Certified Teacher candidate. She is also part of the 2013 Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship and serves as the Vice President of SFiAM’s Governing Council. She is featured in the short documentary film TEACHED Vol.1: “The Blame Game,” and is a role model for young Latinas seeking to make a difference in their communities.

 

Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to spark learning

Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to spark learning

It took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity. In a fun and personal talk, Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works.

As a high school chemistry teacher, Ramsey Musallam expands curiosity in the classroom through multimedia and new technology.

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?

Technological innovation in education can be a slow and painful process, with new technology difficult to acquire, implement and adopt. But that doesn’t stop Ramsey Musallam, a chemistry teacher at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco, whose mission is “to meaningfully integrate multimedia into a hands-on, inquiry-based learning cycle” and to empower other educators to do the same. Musallam is a vocal advocate for tools like flipteaching, tabcasting, video podcasting and screencasting in the classroom. He runs the education blog Cycles of Learning, where he gives written and video tutorials on how to turn everyday apps like Google Docs, screencasting from an iOS device, YouTube, KeepVid and word clouds as effective teaching tools. Musallam received an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco in 2010.

 

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

Rita F. Pierson has spent her entire life in or around the classroom, having followed both her parents and grandparents into a career as an educator.

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER?

Rita F. Pierson, a professional educator since 1972, has taught elementary school, junior high and special education. She’s been a counselor, a testing coordinator and an assistant principal.  In each of these roles, she’s brought a special energy to the role — a desire to get to know her students, show them how much they matter and support them in their growth, even if it’s modest.

For the past decade, Pierson has conducted professional development workshops and seminars for thousands of educators. Focusing on the students who are too often under-served, she lectures on topics like “Helping Under-Resourced Learners,”“Meeting the Educational Needs of African American Boys” and “Engage and Graduate your Secondary Students: Preventing Dropouts.”

“Parents make decisions for their children based on what they know, what they feel will make them safe. And it is not our place [as educators] to say what they do is ‘wrong.’ It’s our place to say maybe we can add a set of rules that they don’t know about.”  Rita Pierson

 

More is caught through observation than taught through learning

More is caught through observation than taught through learning

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