Saturday, October 24, 2015

Be BOLD.....

Be BOLD!! That was the theme of this year's NEU National Convention in Dallas, Texas. I was privileged to have spent the last four days with educators from across the United States. We are all part of a "fraternity" as founder Damen Lopez refers to the No Excuses University network of schools. We are like-minded individuals connected through the NEU Network. What makes the network special or unique? The fact that we are all committed to doing whatever it takes to make EVERY one of our students successful in school AND in life. It isn't just about academics. It is about the whole child and there was no better keynote speaker to hit that home than Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade.

Our day two keynote speaker is one that I heard a year ago while attending a conference in Monterey. He has now brought me to tears twice. Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade from Oakland, CA spoke to us Friday morning. His presentation was nothing less than "REAL." The research is clear, and the single biggest protective factor against the toxic cycle many students experience is a caring adult. A few quotes from his keynote: "The master gardener never blames the seed for not growing. We need to change the conditions so our students can grow!" "You have to win the heart to win the head. Keep pouring love." "We might not change the world...but we can spark the mind that does." "The point of education is not to escape poverty, but to end it."

Dr. Andrade spoke about an encounter that Tupac Shakur had with Maya Angelou. An encounter that Tupac's mother states, "Changed his life." Ms. Angelou didn't even know who Tupac was at the time of the interaction.  She responded to him as a young man that she considered just as valuable and important as if he was a son of her own. As educators we MUST be aware of where our students are coming from and what they are experiencing in their lives. We MUST each commit to being a caring adult in their lives. If you can commit to understanding, learning, adjusting, and being that caring adult, then you are exactly what we need at Fairfield High.

Here is a similar keynote of Dr. Andrade's from a TedTalk in 2011. You have to watch this to appreciate the message!!

Each year the NEU Network of schools has a Charity of the Year. This year's charity is Together We Rise. A non profit helping change the way thousands of kids experience foster care in the US. All NEU Network schools are going to join together to raise as much we can to support this great cause!!

Our ONE goal: To graduate every Fairfield High Student and to ensure that they leave FHS college and career ready!!! 
Inspire, Engage, Excite, Lead, Foster, Create, Empower!!

Many more great things are in store for Fairfield High!

Continue to be innovative, creative, and a model of excellence!


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