For teachers, the end of every year feels like the conclusion of a quest: you’re physically and mentally exhausted, you feel deeply bonded with your traveling companions, and as you look back you recall your feats of courage, dexterity, and cunning, as well as your questionable choices, missed opportunities, and all the people you wish you had done more to help.
And then, there’s this year: the year that we went on a quest by staying at home, the year that started at least twice, first online, and then haltingly, gradually, back in the buildings.
We hope never to see another year like it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it. And so in this issue we are looking back on the year, as well as at what came before, and looking forward to building a better world together. Schools are the laboratories where children and adults work together to design the future. This has always been true, but it’s especially true right now, which me to why why we chose a mural on a liquor store as our front cover image.
This mural was designed and painted by middle and high school students from National City and Chula Vista, California, in collaboration with local artists, as a part of the Market Makeovers project by A Reason to Survive. In this project, artists and community activists are helping liquor stores and small grocery stores to sell fresh produce and healthy food, while giving the outside of the shops an actual “makeover” with a mural.
This notion of “rebirth” is a theme not just on the cover, but throughout the issue. Jay McClain asks if the loss of “normal school” is such a bad thing, and imagines what the future of school could look like; Amanda J. Meyer explains how schools can use improvement Science to journey towards that better future, 3rd grade teacher Mara Gonzales explains how she remade morning meeting as a space to discuss social justice and fighting oppression, Brittany Perro explains how her school transformed their approach to the ELPAC test and their broader support for Emergent Multilingual Learners, Avery Barnes shares an elementary school project focused on “Radical Self Love,” Brent Spirnak explains how sixth graders are designing adaptive video game controllers for people with disabilities, and, for those who are continuing to work in online learning, Patrick Yurick shares his advice for “designing the largest classroom” online.
Thanks for joining us!