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5. Grades


Welcome to Monday October 12th 2020. We are in the last few days of Hispanic Heritage month. This is a time when we reflect on all the cultural contributions from people with Hispanic Heritage. There are so very many. Look it up and see. Mr. Manzo says we should definitely check out the record “La Pistola y El Corazon” by Los Lobos. According to Mr. Manzo that record has made a deep impact on him. 

Also, shout out to the Seattle Storm! Last week they added a 4th WNBA Championship title! Way to to Storm!

Today is Indigenous Peoples Day. Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates the cultures and contributions of Indigenous People. There are many ways to observe this day. If you are interested you can join a live event from the Simthsonian National Museum of the American Indian. The event is called Youth In Action: Conversations About Our Future, Mascots, Monuments, and Memorialization. It's at 1pm eastern at this location.

It is also Disability Awareness Month. Similar to Hispanic Heritage Month Disability Awareness Month gives us time to reflect on the cultural contributions that individuals with disabilities have made. Mr. Manzo also says to check out the The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  or I.D.E.A. IDEA is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children.

That law helps protect the rights of all students. It also helps to make things fairer for people. And speaking of fairer, that is the theme of our moment of SEL today as we continue reflecting about citizenship. So, let’s get to it. 

Grades, grades, grades. What do grades mean? Some people say they reflect how much effort students are putting into their learning.

Some people would say that grades are a measurement that teachers use to share with students the range of their performance in a class.

Some people would say that grades are a way of not losing your phone.

Some critics of grades would say that grades promote risk-adverse behavior. That is that students would not take chances in their learning for fear of getting a lower grade. 

Whatever your opinion of grades when we are in physical school, we should take a minute to think of what grades may mean now that we are doing all this remotely. 

Students have the right to use grades to measure their progress in class.

Teachers have the right to use grades to also measure student progress but here are a couple of things that we should consider about school these days. 

Zach: What are the responsibilities around grades these days? Here’s our teacher Ms. Poort talking about this when we surprised her with an interview!

((Interview with teacher on the audio, no transcript available))

Kai: Very interesting points. Here’s a situation from Mr. Manzo that you should consider when reflecting on things that impact us all. Go ahead Mr. Manzo.

((Interview with teacher on the audio, no transcript available))

Thanks Mr. Manzo. Thanks for giving us a super difficult situation that is intentionally hard to balance. Here’s what we thought about it and here’s some solutions also!

((Interview with teacher on the audio, no transcript available))

What does this have to do with citizenship and rights and responsibilities? I’m so glad you asked. If you are a person who has decided to be a teacher, or a counselor, or a principal, or an education director, or a school board member or any type of politician, you have declared to everyone that you are a leader! The larger the group you serve, the more leadership you feel you have to share. 

But when you become a leader, you are not a leader just for the people who like you, you are a leader for everyone. And that means that you have the responsibility to give time to figuring out how to meet ALL the needs of the people you serve. That means you are willing to try to figure out solutions to these very large issues. 

Kai: Many people do not know that leadership is much more than just getting a certificate that says you’re a leader. It is in fact a commitment to working for all people. It is in fact a commitment to being responsible for ensuring the rights of all the people you serve. 

It’s a big deal and you may feel sometimes like it’s hard to find good models of leadership these days, but here are a couple of things you can do. Think of a situation. Consider multiple sides, use your empathy, and ask yourself, “Who is represented in this situation?” “Who is not represented in this situation?” “Who benefits from what is a happening?” Who does not benefit from what is happening?”

You can also ask, "Who is telling the story?", "Who benefits from this?", "Who is missing from this?", If you are taking the responsibility of leadership than you are committing to concerning yourself with the rights of all the people you serve. And we could definitely use people who are down for this now more then ever.

We look forward to connecting with you all in whatever way we can next week. Until then, may your thoughts and feelings be with you. 

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