Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Journey of the soul...

Image
The heart is an unusual organ. It is the size of a fist but, although it's small size, is the most important organ in the body. Without it, there would be no life at all. Made of muscle, connected to the brain, the heart pumps vital blood to the body while removing waste to keep the body healthy and strong. The heart, a crucial piece of us, also is where our soul is centered.

Our soul is the center of our being. It is where our life, spirit, and consciousness come together as one. The soul guides us, directs us, it is our guide through this life. Many philosphers have written about the soul in an attempt to understand it. Plato believed that the soul was in three parts: the logos, located in the head and relating to the mind, the thymos, located in the chest and related to emotion, and finally eros, located in the stomach and related to desire. Rudolf Steiner, and Austrian philosopher, believed that there are three stages in the development of the soul. The first, the sentient sou…

Habits of Mind...

Image
The Habits of Mind are a set of problem solving and life related skills that are necessary to operate within the world. These habits help each of us navigate through a variety of situations so that one can have positive outcomes. Habits of Mind, like persistence, flexibility, taking responsible risks, finding humor, responding with wonderment and awe, and applying past knowledge to new situations, help us in ways beyond what we can even know. These habits help us form other types of habits that create the foundation of the life we want to live.

I think about my own life and how I have integrated these habits to make my life better. Persistence is easy. That goes without saying. I am persistent in my work, in my play. I'd like to think that I have persisted through times that have been challenging in my personal life, times from my youth, times in adulthood, times with Javad. I sometimes think my stubborn qualities work in my favor in this area. I can be like a dog, unwilling to le…

Goodbyes....

Image
The school year has ended. It was a long one, filled with thirteen snow days and an extended year that seemed to last forever. My chosen career is one that I love...I can't imagine doing anything else. When a year comes to an end, it's a time to say goodbyes.

Goodbyes can be healthy, a way to move forward, a way to close one door and open another. Fresh beginnings can be a beautiful thing. A flower pushing through the soft dirt, stretching in the sun. Its face turning toward the sun warming itself.

Goodbyes can also be difficult. A closing of a door, a dark alley that is closed off with no where to go. An ending of sorts but these endings can allow for new beginnings to arise. It's cyclic, a never ending circle, one leading to the other.

Watching my students move forward, beginning their new lives was a gift, a glorious moment of success that will last for years to come. Ending their lives as high school students and moving toward new and better things.

When does one know,…

Who would you be if you weren't afraid?

Image
Fear...a driving force in so many of our lives. The thing that stops us from doing great things, acting a certain way, reaching goals. Tonight I read a NY Times article on Lady Gaga written by David Brooks. It was excellent...I highly recommend it. One line that really stuck with me was "Who would you be and what would you do if you weren't afraid?"

This line encompasses where I am in my life. Here I am in the middle of my life wondering what would I be. To some this would be a shock...I am a successful teacher, I run a great after school program, I am involved in a variety of professional activities, I am starting a side business. I do many things. I am perpetually busy. Some comment on the fact I am so busy as a reflection of my inability to be still. This is not entirely true...being still is a goal, but a struggle for me.

Back to the line, "Who would you be and what would you do if you weren't afraid?" If we really examine this line is is both a challen…

Dear Seniors...

Image
Dear Seniors,

Tomorrow I start the last week of school for this school year. Last week I watched you graduate. It was a moment unlike I have felt with other students. You, as a group, hold an extra special place in my heart. I have watched you grow, from sixth grade to now. You started as children and now are young adults.

You seem to have special bonds with one another...more than other groups I have taught. Even as you have grown, and maybe not hanging out with each other as much, you still have a great deal of respect and love for each other.

You have experienced great tragedy together and great joy. You have had experienced that no one your age should have had to experience and yet, you rose above, you stood tall and showed the world what you are truly made from.

I remember when you would have lunch in my classroom in middle school. You were such a large group that I would talk to my friends about the unique qualities you had as a group and individually. So grown up and mature and …

Love....a journey of the heart

Image
Love...the mention of the word gives feelings of butterflies, makes your heart pound, your heart soar. As a high school teacher (in the Spring), love is is the air. Teenage love is special. It's the first time that someone near you really makes your heart beat, that you feel a bit out of control. It's an exhilarating and frightening feeling, the edge of control. I watch my students, googly eyed, looking at the target of their affection, whispering "I love you." I remember those feelings, just wanting to hold hands, a touch that implies more. Young love is glorious and lays the foundation for love of the future.

Love in your twenties is like a series of tests, figuring out who you want to be with, what traits you desire. Each date, each look, each touch laying a foundation for your future. What do you want? What is your desire? What do you need from another. So many questions, so many answers.

What is love? An emotion? A feeling that you convey to others? Are there le…

Calling Dr. Who..

Image
I don't mean to focus on school, but as a teacher, in my final week...HOW CAN I NOT? The week continues with students begging for ways to pass math (the class I teach). It is all I can do to not give a snarky answer like, "Call Dr. Who...see if he can take you back in time!" Today I had a student, who has literally done nothing all semester ask if she could turn in the project we've been working on for 4 DAYS! in late. (insert my eyeroll here!) I just can't even.

Now, don't get me wrong...I am a committed teacher. I want my students to be successful, but after months of having private conversations with students, pep talks, encouraging conversations, I just don't know what to say when TODAY (four days from the end of their school year) is the day that things become a priority! Sign...I just am at the end!

Maybe some lessons will be learned. I can be hopeful. Unless, seriously, Dr. Who shows up, transports them back in time, they (somehow) figure out how t…

Procrastination....a student's nightmare

Image
The end of the year is here and for many teachers, especially high school teachers, the lights are finally beginning to flickeron some of our students eyes. The looming 40% is beginnning to incite panic in their procrastinating hearts. Today alone, I had four students come to me, asking what they could do to improve their grade. I held my snarkiness, the instructions to find a time machine, and tried to explain to them that the final week of the semester is not really the time to try to figure out how to pass.

One would think that one of the thousands of conversastions I have had earlier in the semester would have sparked some movement, but, alas, nothing. I spent time explaining that when you have failed all tests and haven't turned in any assignments, it is going to be hard to turn things around so late.

I work hard for my students. Most would tell you that I am there, available, at lunch, after school and beyond, but sadly, some of the students can't find it within themselv…

Not my Circus...

Image
Sometimes life is crazy...I am really feeling that as I approach the last ten days of this school year...Students are starting to blow out right and left, teachers are feeling it too! Teaching is more than a job...Especially at the end of the year.

This year has been especially crazy with thirteen days of snow which has caused two additional weeks of school. Exhausted and dragging, we are approaching the finish line. Each of us, pulling each other to make it to the end.

Let's not forget that while we are exhausted and barely making it, we still continue to teach, bringing final knowledge to our students to finish the year. Everyone's brain is tired....to top it off, this year, our classrooms are hot and there is construction going on everywhere at the school. It adds craziness of the end of the year.

Teaching is a job with purpose and meaning. It is one that molds the next generation and guides them along the way. Regardless of how we feel, we need to take the bull by the horn…

Reading the signs...

Image
In our lives we are presented with signs. These signs lead us down a variety of paths, guiding us along the way. Signs that direct us, help us make choices, give us information about the dangers and potential pitfalls as well as notification of joys ahead.

What do we do when the signs are muddy, making them hard to read. We can get up and wipe the mud away, decipher the sign and move forward or, try to read the sign through the mud.

Knowing how to read the signs is one of the most important skills we can learn. What direction are we being directed toward, what our future holds. Each link along our journey guiding us toward a life that we merely tolerate or a life that we love. Finding our personal paradise can be through a variety of paths, but most importantly, we must see the signs and be willing to heed them.

What motivation do we have to follow the signs? Really, it is the ultimate motivation...peace, joy and love, things we all deserve and desire. What can happen if we choose not…

Fanning the flames...

Image
The end of the school year is rapidly approaching. The blissful snow days of the Winter have turned into blazing hot days of Spring. The E hall, where my classroom is, is extremely hot and I mean temperature wise! Currently in the mornings, when I arrive, it is almost 80 degrees and often by the end of the day it is above 85 (today it was 87 degrees at the end of the day).  It's a rough way to teach.

Spring, as a school teacher, is no picnic, especially at a school that serves a large population of low income and refugee students. We are fighting battles on all sides. For many of my students, the end of the year and the beginning of summer doesn't bring excitement and joy, but rather it brings concern and fear. The regular schedule of school brings stability for many, regardless of their desire to actually be in class. Socialization and regular food, as well as interaction with guiding adults, provides stability.

Being a teacher is so much more than just planning lessons and d…

The lies we tell ourselves...

Image
Life can be complicated. I am not sure that would be a hard sell to anyone. Some days are good while others, well, we can leave those behind. On those days, the crummy ones, we sometimes have to tell ourselves lies to move forward with our day. Lies swirl around us, challenging our body image, our competence at our job, our ability to connect with others.

Sometimes these lies are bigger, deeper, darker. These are lies we tell ourselves to keep us safe. The world can be a crazy place and self-protection becomes the most important goal. So many things are out of our personal control, decisions coming at us from all directions. How do we keep ourselves sane? How do we filter through all the information coming at us? How do we determine what is right? What do we choose? There isn't always a clear path.

So we begin to walk down the rocky path, weighing each option. We hold our hands outstretched to gather the wisdom surrounding us like a fog. Grasping at the air, hoping for clairty to …

Creating a life you love...

Image
Sometimes, when the world is swirling around you, it can be hard to find your way. The dusty chaos of life can cause your vision to be clouded. Without a clear vision, life can seem overwhelming.

So many times in our lives, we allow the cracks to become chasms and sometimes crossing over can be such a challenge. Dodging the storm can be exhausting and sometimes depleats you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

This is when you have to refocus and find a way to create life that you love. A life that springs you out of bed in the morning and fuels you forward throughout your day. Creating a life you love means that every element of your life is considered. Your work is play and, even though challenging, brings you joy.

So, what happens if you are still in the storm? The swirl of the clouds around your head fogging your mind? You find time, make peace...now it's time for self-help.

Want to stop time and breathe? Kiss Want to travel, see the sights of the world, experience new lan…

Planting a seed...

Image
Have you ever planted a garden? You till the soil, sprinkle water, and create a bed of earth that is soft and receptive to the plants. Gently, you place the seeds into the ground and begin to care for the plants to grow. Each seed, covered in a hard shell to protect it, must soften it's shell to receive the nutrients so it can grow. Over time, with the right conditions, the seed sprouts and begins to press itself through the soft earth seeking the sun.

We, as humans, are more like the seed than we may like to admit. Many of us, covered in hard shells, are buried deep down in the earth of our lives, afraid to break through. We have weathered the brutal storms and the crisp air of pain has hardened our shells. The earth, frosted over in times of turmoil or sorrow, is holding us into this stage. We lay dormant in the earth, covering our heads to protect ourselves, looking deep within and not up towards the sun.

One day, the earth warms and, deep within, we feel the change. Curious an…

Keeping us safe...

Image
The heart is a muscle. It is crucial to the survival of our body and mind. It's job is to take oxygen throughout our bodies and feed all the organs that help our bodies work. The heart is also the place that holds our spirit, our soul. It is where we say that we love from. It is the center of our being.

If we examine deeper, energy comes forth through the seven chakras. The heart chakra, Anahata, is the fourth chakra. It is the chakra that brings unification and wholeness. The heart is the place that bonds us to others. Self-love, generosity and kindness flows from the deepest part of your soul. Anahata helps us to recognize that we are connected to others, a thin line that connects us, an intricate web of relationships that, together can heal.

Anahata is the path of love, healing and compassion towards others. It means being open and allowing the feelings flow over and through you. This flow brings self-love and through this love feelings flow over onto and through others.

So wha…

Throwback Thursday

Image
This week we are having our final Spirit Week of the year. It was Throwback Thursday. Many of the students came dressed in the eras of the 70's and 80's. I saw afros and aviator glasses, giant mustaches, and fanny packs. It was fun but I think the sweetest was one of my sweet girls from Burma. She was dressed in a traditional dress from the past, one her parents would wear. A beautiful representation of her country of origin and her culture. I loved that even though it is Ramadan and she is fasting, she wanted to participate and brough a touch of "home" to our day.

Her spirit, and so many of my other students, are a constant reminder of the melting pot we are, one where new and old can come together. Throwback Thursday, for may of my American students, is a way for them to look at the past twety years ago, while for many of my foreign born students whose countries have existed for thousands of years, it's a way to celebrate their cuture and what they bring to our…

Three Men...One World...

Image
Recently in Portland, the city that I have lived in for most of my life, there was a horrific killing on the MAX train platform in the Hollywood district. A man, harrassing two teenage girls, was called out by other passengers, sadly resulting in the death of two men and the brutal injuring of a third. These men, who didn't know the girls personally, are heroes. They embody what it means to be human and care for others.

Sometimes when I look at things around me, I feel like we have totally lost our way. We have become a society that does not notice or care for one another. People are stuck with their faces in their phones, lost in technological forest of Facebook, Twitter and the like. We have lost the ability to connect on a personal level, have conversations, see eye to eye. My students talk of texting a friend that is sitting next to them in class, days filled with Snapchat stories and livestreams. The personal connection of days past have given way to a world where personal co…

Pieces...

Image
It  is interesting when traumatic events happen to people. It's like a giant rock blows through a window and pieces of the window fly in every direction. Gently, we pick up the broom and sweep the pieces into a small pile where glass shards of varying sizes lay. Each of these pieces came from the original window, but when you carefully try to glue them together, you find that although they fit together, there are rough edges and chips that don't quite fit together. Technically, the window is now whole, but is it like it was before?

Trauma can come in many forms...each of us experiencing the world in very different ways from different views. When something happens that shatters your world or your heart, it is not easy to just pick up the pieces and move on, unaffected. Picking up the pieces sometimes causes bloodshed, pricking of your fingers as you gingerly pick up the smallest shards of glass. Each piece is crucial. You need each one to put your life and your heart back toget…

Healing...

Image
Grief is a strange and amazing teacher. The last two years have been filled with lessons that I never imagined were necessary to experience or learn yet one has followed another. It has been, at times, so difficult that I thought I would break. Grief is also strange because it is an intensely personal, yet public emotion. Others try to understand and support, but really no one can wrap the feelings up other than yourself. It is a journey that must be walked alone. One of the loneliest journeys I have experienced, a time when even those who care deeply have been kept away.

The Five Stages of Grief are real and tangible. I think about two years ago in the months following Javad's seizure, I was stunned and in survival mode. I was going through the motions, in denial that the outcome could be anything other that compete and full recovery. Six months in a medical coma began to shift my feelings. I would talk to a God that I wasn't sure I believed in, asking for healing of my sweet…

Problems to Solve...Teaching to do...

Image
Today is the first day of Spring Break. Well, to clarify, at 3:10pm today, I was officially on spring break. This year I am trying to find some solace. I have some specific goals that I want to accomplish, some of which I have been trying to get done for a few years.

Two years when Javad had his seizure, I went into a deep depression, a hole that I struggled to dig myself out of. At work, I coped, barely getting through each day without crying. My room piled with piles and my life was a disaster. I have been trying to dig myself out for the last year. Then my Grama died this last May and that was a definite setback. I looked forward and continued because not continuing wasn't an option. One day at a time I have been healing, one breath at a time. I am better than I used to be, but still not better.

I don't cry every day. Sometimes days, even a week goes by without crying. I feel accomplished when these weeks happen. Somehow through all this, Imanaged to do my job, not well, bu…

Dear Javad....

Image
Dear Javad,

Today marks two years since the day that changed our lives forever. Two years ago, while I was at school at African Family Night, I got a call from your older brother saying that you were unresponsive. My heart sunk because in the background, I heard your dad's voice and the panic was clear...something was very wrong. I told your brother to call 911 and I gathered my things and began the long drive home. I called home as soon as I was in the car, after calling Grami to go to our house to be there for support. Grami, who arrived at our house amazingly quickly, answered at first and told me that the paramedics were doing CPR...your heart had stopped. My heart was pounding and for the longest time (four long minutes), I waited on the phone, wondering if this was it....wondering if you were going to slip away and I wouldn't be there. I could hear my heart in my heart and began taking deep breaths, almost panting in the car. My legs were on fire and numb...I couldn'…

Just Breathe...

Image
Every day we are now being assaulted with news...news that is frightening or untrue or crazy or worrisome...news that is overwhelming and disturbing. In the last four weeks, I have listened to more podcasts about politics, read more articles, listened to speeches. I am more politically active than I have ever been, but sometimes it is too much.

I have anxiety and there are often times when I am a ball of nerves inside. If you are looking at me, you may not even notice. I am, mostly, able to manage. The last four weeks, I have to admit, has rustled up more feeling of anxiety than I am used to dealing with. The issues at hand are hitting me from all sides making it, at times, more difficult to manage. I need to remember that this could be a long run.

In these times when there are so many mixed messages and so much information being thrown at me from all directions, I need to remember to breathe. I can't take it all on, I can't take it all in. If I do, my ability to manage will c…

Soccer Church...

Image
Tonight I went to a preseason Timbers Soccer game. It's interesting heading to the stadium and being around those who have been so supportive to me these last few years. I stood in Section 105 and looked across the pitch and felt myself breathe it in. For two hours I felt the stress melt away and just enjoyed the game.

Soccer has been a part of my life for years but after Javad's seizure it took on a different meaning. Soccer became the lifeline that kept me sane. Through Javad's healing, I have found solace in the people, most of who didn't know me before, coming to support me without question. Being a part of the community is a unique feeling, one that I can't really describe. All I can say is that it feels wonderful.

Most of my fellow Army friends refer to the stadium as "church." In many ways it is...it's a place to gather and celebrate something that is commonly loved. It's a place to feel uplifted and sometimes deal with sorrow. It is a plac…

Taking Shifts...

Image
Tonight on a Facebook thread, I was talking about how rough, on a personal level, the last few days have been. The confirmation of Betsy DeVos yesterday hit at a place that was unexpected. I (unfortunately) watched the  confirmation hearing yesterday and immediately began feeling such a sense of panic. I have spent twenty-five years in the field of Education. I am lifelong learner, having earned two Masters degrees and a variety of continuing education credits. At the end of the day, I came home and cried. I questioned whether the work I have done my entire adult life has been worth it.  Hard work just seems like it didn't matter. It was defeating.


Today, Congress confirmed Jeff Sessions, who had previously been denied a Federal Judgeship due to his history of racist remarks. Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts, tried to read a letter aloud that had been written by Coretta Scott King and was quieted. Two male Senators, one from Oregon, picked up the letter and continued …

When you disagree...

Image
This morning I saw a post on Facebook by a friend who talked about a political opinion that varies greatly from my own. I found myself thinking how to handle this...do I unfriend? Do I unfollow? Do I do nothing? This is one of those times when I really needed to examine how I feel about our current political situation and this impacts my feelings about people I know and respect.

Our current president has written executive orders that directly affect me in so many ways.  I teach many students that are refugees. These students often came from camps where they spent their entire lives or were possibly born there. These camps are tent cities or make-shift houses that are dirt floors and essentially four walls. There may not be running water. Their entire day is spent waiting in line to get staple foods that they may then share with their neighbors. They also stand in line for water and other important items. School may or may not happen for these students. These families have waited for y…

Thoughts on Trump-land...

Image
I've been doing a lot of thinking about our current political situation, our president and the repercussions of decisions being made. As each day goes by, I realize more and more that those in Trump-land honestly are way over their head. A group of people with no experience are trying to run the country as if it was a business. There is no ultimate boss here, there is a series of checks and balances that were put into place by our founding fathers so that a dictatorship can't happen. Apparently those in Trump-land have not studied much history, nor have a real understanding of the constitution or the way that government works.

In the two weeks since Trump-land has been in charge, I have seen wrinkles form on the face of a man who values his image. He looks tired. I think this job, one he desired because he felt it gave him ultimate power, is more than he expected. A week ago he signed a ban on immigrants and refugees entering the country, which caused a worldwide uproar. A jud…

A political break...time to talk about giraffes

Image
This week there have been many things that have happened. I know that since yesterday much has happened in Trump-land...questioning a federal job and going on vacation. Tonight I decided to do something different...ignore the news. I am taking a break and focusing on something else...Javad, my little giraffe boy.

Many who read this blog know about my son, Javad. He is fifteen and is affected by a very rare musle disorder called Myotubular Myopathy. He is a gentle and wise soul, one who makes me a better person. It has been a long journey with him, spending a lot of time in the last fifteen years in the hospital, sometimes barely surviving. It has been a emotional challenge for all of us.

I am lucky that I have three other great children who, although the times were rough for them too, have loved their little brother unconditionally. It's hard to be a sibling of a chronically ill child...all the focus is on them much of the time. In many ways it is like living two lives, the "…

#DressLikeaWoman

Image
As I sit here ready to write, I have so many feelings bubbling up. For most women, the insult "Like a Girl" has been thrown at them in many different ways. Watch the video...it gives great insight on what it means to be told that you do something "like a girl." For each one of us that identifies as a female, we have no choice but to "act like a girl..." because we are girls! We have no option to do something in a different way. We wake up in this body, we have the feelings we have, we are what we are...Who said that doing things "manly" means better? The insult is thrown at men too. "Quit acting like a girl..." The ultimate insult from one boy to another or even worse, from a girl to a boy. Why is this? LGBQT youth are told they are "like a girl" in a way push them down and make them feel less. It is the ultimate slam insult. Why is that? Who decided?
It should be that being "like a girl" means that you are powerful…

Come together...

Image
I laugh each day when I think about writing my nightly blog..."Who knew I would write a political blog?" I often say. I never have really been deeply interested in politics until this election cycle. Don't get me wrong, where policies have affected Javad and his medical care, where policies are impacting immigrants and refugees, both due to my personal connection as well as my school connection, I have been interested, and of course, anything impacting education has been on my radar, but mostly I feel that I am fighting a battle in the trenches daily and don't have extra time to fight with battles that are happening across the country.

Sadly, those battles are now infringing on the areas that I am most passionate about, my job, my students, my family, my son's health. Now, they are poking the bear. Anyone who has ever dealt with me regarding these topics will tell you that my passion and willingness to fight is pretty strong. I am unwilling to back down from a fi…

Wearing the scarf....

Image
Today was World Hijab Day, an event that is celebrated yearly at my school. It is an amazing day. Many of our Muslim students bring their own scarves from home to share with other students and staff. Many women on the staff don the scarf before school to wear the entire day while students can get a scarf at lunch. About ten girls proudly attended to students, wrapping their heads and pinning the scarves in place. Staff and students wore the beautiful scarves proudly throughout the day.

I always find it interesting on Hijab day, especially the reactions of the Muslim students. The girls smile and often comment about the scarf and how beautiful I look, while the boys often enter the room and their face breaks into a large smile. I liken it to it being the first time they have truly "seen" me. "Miss, you look so beautiful."

Sometimes when I look at the scarf, a symbol of modesty, I see into the eyes of these beautiful girls. Some of my students wear the Hijab while ot…

Educate Me...

Image
Think about applying for a job...You spruce up your resume, write a mission statement, and prepare for the questions you may be asked.

Today I learned something new...when it comes to high ranking government jobs...none of these things matter. Money does.

Today a new secretary of education was confirmed. Betsy DeVos, a woman with virtually no education experienced was hired by the United States Government to lead educational policy. Let's be clear...I am NOT qualified for this job, but I believe, with a Bachelor degree in General Science and two Masters degrees, one in Education with a focus on SPecial Education and a second in Mathematics Education, I am far more qualified than she is. I have experience and desire to improve the quality of education and opportunties for our students...all of them regardless of their social standing, the color of their skin or their religion.

It seems tht we are moving into a new realm in education. Over time, teaching has become a career that is s…

When women stand....

Image
Today, a woman stood. She said no. She refused to follow. She was fired.

The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, told Justice Department lawyers not to defend the Executive Orders on Immigration restrictions recently signed by those in Trump-land. Sally stood up to the bully behavior that has been thrown about in Washington. She acted as a warrior for those who were being abused.

Last week a universal ban on refugees was signed by Executive Order. Refugees that have been fully vetted and were waiting in their country of origin. Some were already on the plane on the way to the United States while others were told upon arrival. Those with visas, work permits, even green cards were held in airports around the country or put on a plane back to the country where they started.

Attorneys were camping out in airports and representing refugees, pro bono, computers on their laps, sitting on the floor. They were working in teams connecting with families who were desperately trying to get inform…

Refugees Welcome...

Image
I teach at a high school of 2,800 students, small by some state standards, but large for Oregon. Each year we "compete" for the 'biggest school award' with a neighboring high school. I have been teaching in this district for seventeen years and in these seventeen years our district has gone from a mostly white middle class district to one that has welcomed hundreds of refugee families, families that have been pushed from their homes in other areas of Portland due to gentrification, and families seeking affordable housing. A district that has changed from one with less than twenty-four percent non-white to a diverse population of more than seventy-four percent non-white where over fifty languges are spoken. Every day students enter our school who have recently entered the country, many from Africa, Myanmar, Iran, and Iraq. These students have seen and experienced things that no child should. Violence against themselves or their family, packing quickly and fleeing duri…