MLK Day

The Holiday for Martin Luther King

Each year in January and many more times throughout the year I ponder how children and teachers think about MLK. I wonder about the ways and perspectives they think about him, his legacy, and his life. 

In this year 2020, now more than ever, I hope it conjures thoughts about freedom. I hope MLK’s life connects students and teachers to thinking about freedom. Examining what freedom means to them as people and citizens of America.

Freedom is at the center of the idea of democracy. Demo – people and Cracy – governance – This country is based on the idea of a nation state run by the people – for the people. The freedom to speak your mind and to vote are central to the American ideal.

This year, I hope that teachers and students remember, celebrate, and learn about our American freedoms in honor of MLK. I also hope they learn that he was equally passionate about all people being free from poverty and war.

There are few among us willing to give their lives for the furthering of nation and species. MLK and many who were part of a long tradition connecting the American shame of slavery to present day civil rights challenges lived and gave their lives in this way. 

I was seven year old when he was killed. The desegregation of schools, race riots, and Lennon’s “Power to the People” were all part of my childhood. More than anything, his putting Love at the center of everything was what my mother taught me as primary. This message precludes everything. When humans lead with Love they have little opportunity to consider race or other characteristics that separate us as a species.

In this year 2020, now more than ever, I have hope for Love and Freedom. I know that schools and teachers play a key role for many children in helping them understand their importance and significance in being an American and human being.

Here’s to Martin Luther King Jr., a human each child on the planet should learn about and learn from.  

Math Power… What’s it all about…

Math power rules our money and in many ways money rules the human world and has deep impact on the physical world as well.

Math power rules computer mediated systems such as social media etc.. that have deep impact on our communications, social and emotional identity and well-being.

Math power rules our healthcare systems which has profound impact on our well being and longevity.

Math power rules our politics in many ways which have deep impact on how we impact or are impacted by political decision making and planning.

Math power rules our lives’ simple logistics in many ways from cooking, transportation, purchasing, educational choices, and on an on.

This list could be much more extensive and well described but I think the point is made. Math interest, fluency, meaning making and application are thoroughly woven into human existence in the modern world. 

If we accept, as many do, that a great majority of people… like 70%.. are just not good at math.. Meaning – they do not have the right born in “math stuff ,” than this excludes all those people from basic access to these power domains and as such, to power over their own lives in a free society.

In our schools, we have a responsibility for this outcome during our citizens’ youth. From age 5 to 18 say…. those 13 years of K-12 schooling are what we must own. If we send the majority of children out into the world feeling “math powerless” and maybe being “math powerless” what does that say about what we have been doing those 13 years. 

Aside reading and writing literacy issues of the last 100 years, math literacy has been hanging in the shadows of our focus. Lip service paid for sure.. but little done that perception tells us is as at least equivalent or approximate to what has been invested in over these years in terms of our citizenry’s language literacy. For sure, the assertions in this paragraph can and should be challenged but you get my point… I hope. Math power needs some attention…

Along these lines, the Rio School District and other organizations have been toying with Improvement Science as a method for solving or at least acting on BIG problems like the math power problem. One initial activity of the Improvement Science process is to “fish-head” the problem by getting stakeholders to generate causal factors that connect to the initial problem statement. Of course crafting the initial problem statement is a giant challenge to begin with because it seems so simple but the entire network of improvers needs to be clear on it…. So I say the problem with math power in our American society is too few have it…. That is, the problem can be clarified to the small percentage of Americans who have the math interest, fluency, and meaning making practices sufficient to navigate the many societal power structures that are dependent on math. Now that might not be so clear but this would indicate that no one writer should be crafting the problem in isolation in this networked methodology. Still, it’s my two cents.

So if we temporarily accept that the BIG problem to improve is that too few people have MATH POWER, then here is a list of causal drivers and sub-drivers, and sub-sub drivers that contribute to the overall problem. In Improvement Science, once we have networked and exhausted this problem analytic visual then we collaborate to choose one or two drivers to improve, the ones we think collectively will contribute the most to the overall problem solution with the least amount of effort. Ergo, the elegant action solutions. Here is a short list of causal drivers that first come to mind today;

  1. Math is taught out of context in schools.
  2. Math learning is mainly focused on procedures and computation.
  3. Math teachers who have equal parts high level math pedagogy, math interest, and math knowledge are in scarcity.
  4. Math learning is often isolated from other learning.
  5. Math learning environments often fail to provide necessary time for deep exploration and deep learning.
  6. Math learning is often overly competitive.
  7. The myth that math ability is more nature than nurture is still rampant.
  8. Math use in societal contexts is often hidden intentionally.
  9. Math is rarely taught as it relates to its beauty, fun, or profundity. 
  10. Math is rarely taught as a family activity.
  11. Math learning is most often taught through abstract/symbolic activities with a growing demand for visuals but rarely taught as hands on/ minds on.
  12. Little time is afforded for math play.

And the list might go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and it should and then it should be arranged into a complex fish with drivers and sub drivers and connections etc….

And thus, the soap box version of keyboard linked thinking out loud yearns yet again towards a social justice and democracy bent… Change the world? Change the distribution of Math power – Math Interest, Fluency, Meaning Making…. And have some fun while doing it…. The fun comes in when we learn to struggle for things within the delayed gratification and sometimes joy not only of accomplishing or learning something but even more powerfully – for the joy of the struggle itself…. We commonly glorify this pursuit in the arenas of sport… that are now so fully “Billy balled” with maths…. that there is little difference in the Math/Sport domains in many ways……  still there is a giant chasm of interest that separates the two…. And yes fantasy football and sports gambling may have dragged some folks temporarily into a math powered world only to be left out again as they attempt to make meaning from their medical test results, mortgage papers, or daily weather report.

So here is to doing some social justice work…. Changing the distribution of math power. Inverting it. 30/70 to 70/30 aiming towards 100/0 of course…. Now where shall we begin? 

 

  

 

2020 a Collaborative Post – Melissa Wantz (T.O.S.A.) & JP (SUPT.)

The year 2020 is certainly an interesting numeric configuration. If you subtract 1776 from 2020 you get the 244 years of the existence of the United States of America. If you think of the last time a year’s numbers lined up like 2020 (repeating) that would be 1919, which was 101 years ago. Twenty twenty in Roman numerals looks like MMXX, which is cool. The Mayan system counts with 20s, and 2020 looks pretty elegant in this culture, too. Mayan numbers read vertically, and so the shell at the bottom is 0. The dot in the middle is 20, and the line at the top 

is 5 (400s) or 2,000. 

 

Twenty is ten twins. The Mayans had twin gods Hunahpu and Xbalanque, who as kids were challenged to play a game of pok-ta-pok after angering the rulers of the land of the dead. Pok-ta-pok is like a mix of basketball and soccer, played by shooting the ball, literally, from the hip into a small hoop. The twins won the game and were welcomed back home as heroes. They later became rulers of the Earth after one was turned into the Moon and the other the Sun. Our sun has an outer shell called a corona that is 2 million degrees. In literature shells are typically perceived as feminine symbols representing birth, good fortune, resurrection. A conch shell in William Golding’s 1954 novel “Lord of the Flies” governs the boys’ meetings. Whoever holds it holds the right to speak. Freedom of speech has infinite value.

The year two thousand twenty seems like an opportunity to stop and think about numbers. Numbers lead us in many directions conceptually, and one attractive focal point is time. We measure time by counting numbers of events, some related to physical phenomena and others more arbitrary. I like to talk with children about their age, their birthdays, and how many orbits around the sun (years) they have traveled. To my mind, this helps ground them in realities they may not have considered. Thinking about numbers can provide context, and context can help us know the world or the self.

One can be an interesting number. One Euro is what you can buy a house for in the Italian village of Gangi in Sicily. Or 1.12 dollars. Gangi has a population of 189 people and a bunch of empty homes from the 1800s. The emptiness is sad for the citizens because it represents a progression of sons and daughters going somewhere else. The village sits on a hill and looks from a distance like a turtle shell. The Maya associated turtles with water and the earth, and also with thunder and drumming. The father of the Hero Twins, the Maize God, is sometimes shown emerging from a turtle shell or holding one as a drum. Another Mayan deity, Pauahtun, wears a turtle shell on his head as he supports the world all by himself, like the Roman god Atlas.

As inhabitants in the 21st century, we are clearly immersed via our screens in a sea of information that challenges us to wade through its depth and complexity in order to understand a simple sense of what’s going on in the present. For many, the ever-growing, exponentially increasing current of information and our access to it renders the “knowing and connecting to the past or future” even more troublesome. If we can’t see in the London fog-like sea of present information, how are we to know where we have been or are going. Numbers, I say, numbers are a useful tool for this wading.

 

Birds that wade include herons, cranes and snipes. Snipes are real, but a snipe hunt is a practical joke started in the 1800s. It is a quest in the dark for a squirrel-like bird that doesn’t exist. The Byrds were a Los Angeles band, not a joke, and their 1965 hit “Turn! Turn! Turn!” gave comfort to people during a complex time by explaining the seasons of life in a simple way. Joni Mitchell was nine years old at the time of the London Smog of 1952, four poisonous days in December when people died and birds smacked into buildings due to air that was 66 times more toxic than normal. Some 18 years later she sang “I have come here to lose the smog and I feel to be a cog in something turning,” but she was talking about Woodstock, New York, not London. She also said we are stardust.

When I think of 2020 and the 244 years of the USA, I think of dividing the difference (244) of the minuend (2020) and the subtrahend (1776) by a conservative 20th century average American life-span, say 70 years. In dividing 224 by this 70-year life span, we get 3.2. This makes me think that just 3 life spans and some change takes us from today’s America to the moment of its inception in 1776. It seems so long ago, 1776, so distant, and yet just three life spans stacked upon themselves reaches back to the days of our Founding Fathers — yes fathers — in just three life spans somehow the singularity of “Fathers” seems repugnant in our enlightening to gender issues in 2020 America.

 

Split 3.2 in half, and you find a pair of 1.6 twins, which is pretty close to the Golden Ratio (1.618033), related to the Fibonacci Sequence, a pattern where each number is the sum of the two before. Seen in flower petals, pine cones, tree branches, conch shells, DNA double helixes and spiral galaxies, the Golden Ratio is not, however, found in black holes, which are examples of singularity. In mathematics, singularity is the point where a function takes an infinite value, especially in space-time, where matter is infinitely dense, as at the center of a black hole. It is at this point that math ceases to be “well-behaved” (a person entering a black hole would undergo unequal stretching or spaghettification, a term coined by the late physicist Stephen Hawking). Not well-behaved was Virginia Woolf, a 20th century English writer who places characters in situations where they feel, interiorly, time-space boundaries stretch and collapse. Rhoda in Woolf’s 1931 novel “The Waves” stands at the edge of a cliff in Spain one day to watch the ocean and feels that she is being dissolved by the passage of time. “Beneath us lie the lights of the herring fleet. The cliffs vanish. Rippling small, rippling grey, innumerable waves spread beneath us. I touch nothing. I see nothing. We may sink and settle on the waves. The sea will drum in my ears.”

Still, in my numerical and arithmetical wonderings, I chose to sidestep the more multi-step mathematical calculations that might drag both me and you into the potentially confusing and perplexing world of statistics. I could have easily researched the average lifespans of the various centuries and averaged those numbers. And I could have considered the average age that people have had children. If I used that calculation, say between 20 and 40, I could have infused my musings with these calculations to more accurately depict the idea of generations of a single family reaching back to the birth of our nation. With these numbers, I might have talked about how many grandmothers, how many great grandmothers it takes to reach back to that national birthday. I didn’t use those numbers and calculations though, because I was trying to make a simple point: that 1776 really isn’t that long ago—just three 70-year old people in a row gets us there.

 

Oliver Jeffers paints and writes children’s books. He also investigates the intersection of art and science in a series of paintings called “Measuring Land and Sea.” In these, he places statistics across beautiful landscapes — waves, prairies, mountain ranges — trying to dissolve an impasse between feeling and reasoning. However, this doesn’t work, he admits: “Rather than increase our understanding of the work, this combination makes things less clear by providing superfluous distraction…” In pok-ta-pok, no doubt, any distraction at all may result in defeat.

Yes, 2020 is calling out to us in all its morphemic and phonemic splendor. It beckons us to ponder numbers and their impact on our lives. And 2020 is there for at least 365 and ¼ days, till we discard it for another fascinating series of values, 2021… ah, a progression.

 

“The Progression” is a 2010 poem about absurd numbers and putting up houses for absurd money. It was written by Omar Pérez, a Cuban poet who earned an English degree in Havana and studied Italian in Tuscany. Pérez believes poetry is a natural function, like drumming rain and the twin spirals of DNA. “The fact that we can give notice of it does not mean that we make it.” Pérez found out at age 25 that he is one of three sons of the late revolutionary Che Guevarra, but this news did not distract him from his purpose. He told PBS: “When I was 25 years old, I was already a human being….I didn’t want to become anything different. I was…what I wanted to be, a poet.” 

20/20 vision is rare after a certain age.

In honor of 2020, poetry, math, and creative collaboration, I offer this poem for 2020;

Twenty twenty

A repeating year

Numerical meaning

With struggle

Comes clear

The non – numeric

Left to the heart

The mind

The pen

Today 

I will start  

Principal Profile December 2019

Maria Hernandez, Ed.D.

Principal

Rio Real Dual Immersion K-8 School

10 Years as Rio Real Principal

13 Years as Principal

7 Years as Teacher

This is Dr. Hernandez’ 10th year as principal of Rio Real, previously she served as principal at Rio Del Valle Middle School. Dr. Hernandez was a teacher in the Ventura Unified School District and  before entering into public schools work, Maria served as a correctional officer/youth counselor at the California Youth Authority.  

Dr. Hernandez earned her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and Masters in Educational Administration from California State University, Northridge. She earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from California Lutheran University.

Maria enjoys traveling with her family. She grew up in Oxnard and has served her community for years. Family is central to her life both personally and professionally. Her ongoing travels with family helps her see the world through the eyes of her children.  

Dr. Hernandez has helped guide Rio Real as Rio’s first K-8 Dual Immersion Language School and has been a leader in dual immersion  learning at the local, county, state, and national levels. Maria connects families, culture, community, and academic leadership into a quiet and reserved leadership. Her roots in the community have created countless opportunities for children and family alike and are living embodiments of the potential of local children to develop and grow to their highest aspirations while remaining deeply humble and connected to the local community. Maria is there for children and families and for the power of language and cultural identity that enriches individual and collective lives.

We asked Dr. Hernandez the following three questions and her responses follow each;

 

  • What do you think matters most to children when they attend school?

 

When a child comes to school in the morning they expect to be happy, have friends with which to play, be physically and  emotionally safe, and lastly, whether they will be able to engage in the learning process. When we create an atmosphere in our schools that meets these needs and allow these processes to happen, we provide the conditions for children to learn and grow. Children want to feel noticed, cared for and loved to them, learning is secondary.  

 

  • How has your leadership changed over time and experience?

 

Through my years in leadership positions I have learned there are several big picture priorities I have to keep in mind. 

First,  I am part of a team and a community in my organization and at my site. My work does not happen in isolation, we have a collective commitment and focus to what we do and who we serve. I have to rely on my team and let my team rely on me as part of the process of building teams.  

Second, my entire staff and I have to be committed to our school vision and goals in order for the organization to move forward and grow. 

Third, the wisdom of us together is greater than that of any one individual. We have to listen to others to lead and be led. 

 

 

  • What has working in schools meant to you in terms of your own development as a person, mother, and citizen?

 

Working in Youth Corrections before coming into education helped me to understand the utmost gravity of the work we do in elementary education.  Working with elementary students specifically has helped me develop relationships and see life and learning through foundational needs. I have developed relationships that have meaning and I have become a better person, mother and citizen of my community because of my work with children and families. I have a sense of commitment and a need to serve that goes beyond the 8-5.  It is my hope and dreams that I make a difference in the lives of students and my community through the work I do.  

 

Rio and the Arts

Rio and the Arts

The Rio School District supports the Arts. It provides opportunities for learners to learn and develop as creative, making people. It also provides chances for the community and other experts to engage with the arts being made in Rio. This takes many forms. In many and most classrooms, classroom teachers embed and integrate arts activities into learning of all kinds and levels. Rio teachers also teach art for art’s sake. Visual arts, musical arts, theatrical and dramatic arts, dance arts, video arts, animation arts, and performance arts all have a prominent place in Rio learning. We acknowledge that to be human is to have the arts in our lives.

Rio uses its limited funding for these purposes. We want to make sure that Rio learners have these opportunities in their lives. One day, in a better “educational world,” the educational budget will declare this priority at a state level. Regardless, sustaining and developing the arts is up to us as a local community. 

Life is better because of the arts.

Simply put.   

Math Interest, fluency, and meaning – making.

MATH INTEREST

MATH FLUENCY

MATH MEANING MAKING

 

Math Interest, unlike motivation, means exactly what it says – that a person is interested in mathematics. Math as language, math as a way to solve problems, math as a skills set, math as a historical human phenomenon, math as a structure of the universe – or the human mind – or both, math as beauty and elegance, math as wonder, math as origami or baseball stats or airplane flying or biology or medical matters – or anything that people might have an interest to learn or do math because they want to, at their own discretion. Math motivation, on the other hand – often seems like someone else is trying to motivate other people to do or like something they don’t like or want to do. Math motivation sounds Skinnerian. I think of Math Interest in more Rogerian terms. 

 

The kind of interest I’m thinking of is not unlike when people enjoy reading and literature. Regardless, there are a million and one reasons to be interested in math – or perhaps seven billion reasons, one for every human on earth

 

Math fluency is the domain I think schools are most comfortable with and they tend to fall into things traditional schooling seems apt to attempt to develop as skills, practices, short term and long term memory related capacities and what I will call automaticity borrowing from traditionally used language for reading literacy. Fluency in this sense is what students can do and easily act on without a great deal of deep thinking. That is, can they carry out the basic math operations, can they recall and convert fractions, decimals, percentages, can they carry out the basic procedures required to demonstrate mastery on grade level standards or expectations. This fluency is what standardized tests have traditionally required to demonstrate mastery and now in new more demanding forms these skills and fluencies are the prerequisites for students to be able to work on problem solving tasks without the impedance of struggling without their automatic access. In simple terms, it’s hard to solve complex problems when you can’t easily access and perform the skills and practices needed to work through the problem.

 

Math meaning – making is the aim of the learning. We aim for learners to be able to understand the world they live in as well as conceptual abstractions through engagement and use of math language. This meaning – making  can result in a number of basic to complex outcomes including applications to real – world problems as well as wondering about the greatest questions and paths of inquiry. I see meaning – making as connected to fluency and interest. The more meaning we make the more we are interested in many cases, while the more fluent we become we are availed of greater opportunities and levels of meaning – making. Ultimately, meaning making is socially constructed from a Vygotskian view and these meanings are shared and connected through discourse and various forms of exchange. Math meaning – making takes place in every form of human interaction and scales  up and down with personal and mathematical development inclusive of interest and fluency components. 

 

Framing and discussing these suggested frames on math learning are intended to disrupt the systemically failing systems of math instruction that have historically turned the majority of learners away from interest and potential meaning – making all the while diminishing the fluencies that have overwhelmingly been the focus of math learning activities and targets.  

 

Principal Profile – Ryan Howatt

This year I have decided to write and post a monthly Principal Profile. Principals are key leaders in their community and within the school system itself. Rio’s principals are great examples of a diversity of pathways to manegament/leadership. We ask so much of them on multiple levels and they deliver and help our District grow and improve along the way. I hope these brief profiles spark more thoughtful consideration about their work and about the individuals who step up to this middle management/ Instructional leader challenge. So goes the principal, so goes the school in many ways. Our first profile is Ryan Howatt, principal of Rio Rosales Elementary School.

Principal Profile – Ryan Howatt

THRIVE19

This week we held our first annual THRIVE conference, THRIVE19. On two days in late September we came togethers as leaders in our educational community. Students, teachers, support staff, parents, partners, business and other leaders came together to celebrate and learn about what is THRIVING in our schools and educational community and to begin to touch on what still needs to THRIVE. We began with imagining three trees…. A THRIVING tree, a resilient tree and a tree that is just surviving. 

All too often, in our American society, we envision and resource our public schools as places that are just and should just survive.

But we are doing far more than surviving.. In many ways we are THRIVING. Perceptions and narratives though are powerful influencers on those within and those outside the educational community. 

And so this first THRIVE conference in the year 2019 held on the beach in ventura overlooking the great Pacific ocean, set out to establish and experience and reflect on the THRIVING. 

We thank everyone who came. Each was an integral element to the event. We will continue to process the experience by sharing and editing video captured, making websites, sharing thought exchanges, doing some additional surveys and other activities including planning for THRIVE20.

We especially want to thank those who presented or facilitated workshops, explores, or speaker sessions.

Thanks to Sabba Quidwai from Apple for her speaker session on design thinking.

Thanks to Terry Thoren from WonderMedia for his speaker sessions and  David Romano for workshops on StoryMaker animation software.

Thanks to Heli Ruokamo and Marjaana Kangas for their speaker and workshop sessions on playful learning.

Thanks to Jarkko Myllari and Ignacio Mendoza for workshop sessions with students showcasing summer science academy student leader technology activities.

Thanks to Sam Strothers from DMTI – Developing Mathematical Thinking Institute, Fawn Nguyen, and Cesar Rosales for math focused workshops.

Thanks to Dr. Maria Hernandez, Margarita Mosqueda and others for their workshop on bilingual learning.

Thanks to Steve Anderson from Thoughtexchange for workshops on thoughtexchange social media tools.

Thanks to Mike Vollmert and Heidi Baynes for their workshop on Rasberry Pi technologies and Mike’s beach walks.

Thanks to Joe Bruzzese from Sprigeo on his workshops on middle grades learning.

Thanks to Phil Shapiro for his multiple workshops and general contribution to the conference as a whole.

Thanks to partners from OUHSD, CSUCI, CLU, UCSB, CDR, Learning Priority, MJP computers, Ventura County Watershed Control,  Myers, Widders, Gibson, Jones, and Feingold Law Firm, Sage Inc, A4E, and other partners for participating in the partnership forum.

Thanks to Juliet Herman and VCOE and Rio teachers for the VC Innovates workshop.

Thanks to Dr. Cordova, Dr Yeager, Dr. Hirsch Dubin and Rio teachers and students for workshops on Inquiry learning and instructional design.

Thanks to Oscar Hernandez and student leaders from RSD and OUHSD for the student leadership forum.

Thanks to Jay Sorenson from OUHSD for his workshop on HighSchool Technology.

Thanks to Gena Mathwin and fellow Rio teachers for their workshop on garden learning.

Thanks to Rene Hohls for her workshop on Library learning.

Thanks to Dr. Carolyn Bernal for her women in leadership forum.

Thanks to BiJian Fan for his workshop on origami math art.

Thanks to Dr. Jerome Clifford for his workshop on Summer Science Academy and beyond.

Thanks to Julee Vollmert for her workshop on empathy and learning.

Thanks to Heather Behrens for her workshop on the Rio/ Channel Islands Maritime Museum partnership workshop.

Thanks to Lacey Piper for her workshop on food and health.

Thanks to Rio art teachers for workshops and explores.

Thanks to Rio music teachers and students for their presentations.

Thanks to Dianne DeLaurentis for her workshop on the dramatic arts.

Thanks to HipHopMindset for their performances.

Thanks to TRSB – The River Songs Band for their performance of Songs of the Pacific

 

Thanks to all those in Rio who worked hard to plan and make the event happen. Thanks to the students – children – who wove the thread of THRIVING into THRIVE19 and who are the reason for the work.         

the THRIVE CONFERENCE is coming!

Come check out the Thrive Conference…..

9.23.19 version of the brochure is right below….

brochure long as of 92319

 

Public Schools in 2019

Public schools serve multiple functions in our 2019 American society.

  • They work directly with children, families and community to foster the development and learning of children.
  • They harbor children and keep them safe during the school day while most parents are engaged in work or other related activities.
  • They offer children and families the opportunity to engage with other children and families in the community providing social and other types of learning opportunities less easily accomplished in isolation.
  • They provide adults in the community with opportunities to learn and contribute to the community at large.
  • They foster the development of the citizenry in the American democracy.
  • They provide children with opportunities for affirmation and care by adults and children other than their family.

The list of functions provided by American public schools is extensive and far exceeds the aforementioned central roles. As each new school year approaches and I interact with parents considering what school to have their children attend, there are inevitable narratives that emerge. Some highlight test scores, others that tend towards the logistics of afterschool day care and many that attempt to look far into the future and connect the early grades experience with family’s aspirations for their children down the road. It is rare, however, to have deeply informed conversations about what schools actually do and what they actually are in a societal sense. This I think is partially due to public schools often having challenges in communicating their functions beyond the cliche or superficial level. Many times, as we all likely are, parents have the individual concern for their child. They want their children “to be challenged” or to “get the help they need.” Apart from the academic side of things, they want their children to have a safe environment where they can have friends and grow and develop their well being. 

One thing to consider beyond these narratives is how their children and their family contributes to the lives and well being of others in the local community. By engaging with and in the local community schools families more readily help to construct and develop the type of community they want to live in. This is a more participative and citizen based approach than a strictly consumer based notion of school choice. Ask not what the community can do for your children but what you and your children can do for the community as JFK might have said. Of course the value to the consumer or citizen comes back to them when parents and families and children are more connected to each other in their local neighborhoods through one of the last public agoras in our American democracy (public schools). 

Rio will continue to invite all our local children and families to fully engage in co-constructing the best possible educational environments and outcomes striving to THRIVE as a system and community.