Monday, January 19, 2015

Reclaim Your Vision!

In a post I wrote last may - Hold Gently I described how practicing Circle of Trust@work has made such a difference in my ability to be resilient. I said, "In Circles of Trust we learn to hold the spirit of others gently, like we are holding a small bird, careful not to hold to tightly, or to push the bird before it is ready to fly. The dream of a new kind of school is something I hold each day and long for it to come to fruition. And while I work hard to make things happen, I know that I must “proceed as way opens” (the words of a Quaker phrase, quoted by many). 
Those words speak to the resilience I have found to persist when things don't work out right away. I have not been able to get a new type of school off the ground, yet, and I work so that the way may open. Like the bird in my essay, we sometimes find ourselves stuck in situations and places that test our souls. I have found healthy exploration of these challenges in Circles of Trust.

Sometimes we need a takes a moment to catch our breath and start over again. Sometimes we need help! I hope Morgan and I can help you reclaim your vision!

See the information below for more details, click here to register, or call/email Morgan or Pat!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

When will the water flow?


Stopped in time,
The water is held until the sun and the air 
elevate, rise, move.
All connected, one movement of the tiniest creature
and a cascade of action erupts.
We impact each other and the earth.

How can we not see 
the smile, a footprint,
a glowing cigarette butt flung into the wind
creating a tsunami of hope or grief?
We crack the earth, 
greed and survival flung against
want and despair.

We touch each other 
whether we want to
believe it or not.
We stretch further than our eye,
our touch,
our words, blasting beyond our being.
Our footprint
the beginning of the swell of the rising

When will the water flow again?
Bless the earth!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cold, Icy Branches

You never know what you will find.
Faced with the cold brittle ice of winter,
Deep in the woods.
The grace of god in the branches.
Not knowing -
What will come next?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

BSN Jubilee - Join Us

Blended Schools is having a Jubilee!

We are inviting people who have broken the mold and moved to personalized learning to help students meet their potential. Please submit a proposal to deliver a conference presentation for the Blended Schools Network Jubilee on April 15th 2015! 
We are looking for every academic disciplines to participate. So join us! The Jubilee will feature a day of presentations and discussions.The benefit of this event is that all presentations will be presented through Blackboard Collaborate. Presentations will be 30-45 minutes in length. You won't need to travel for this event; you can present from the convenience or comfort of their office, classroom or home.
To submit a proposal, complete this form

The deadline for submitting proposals is March 10, 2015. Questions may be directed to us by emailing

Monday, December 29, 2014

Un-Cluttering Day 1

Un-Cluttering – A Year of Figuring It Out

So, it started simply. My daughter and her boyfriend gave us a set of new food storage containers. It was like the children’s book “If YouGive a Mouse a Cookie”. One thing let to another and I realized just how much “stuff “ I have in my life. I know I am not the only one, so I resolve to try to move one piece of clutter from my life each day. I am sure that this will be an interesting journey. One that may help me to look at all the things I do in my life and realize which ones just might be holding me back.

This morning I was going to eliminate the sugar from my coffee, but I failed at that already. With so much clutter in my life I figure that I will deprive myself of the sugar a little later in this game. There are so many things that I have to much of; food, clothes, guilt, shoes, socks, expectations, books, pens, paper, ideas, furniture, broken promises, sporting equipment, cards, …. The list could go on and on. So today I will need to figure something besides the clutter of sugar in my coffee – to remove from the clutter of my being.

I wonder why I couldn’t just say no to the sugar this morning? I wonder why I can’t quite sit still? I wonder why the trinkets, purses, electronic gadgets are so important in my life? I have an amazing life filled with amazing family and good friends. Yet I still long. Is it the call of the media? Is it the aching empty hole that I see on the ads on TV? Is it the constant barrage of emails with offers of products reduced and sales to good to pass up? The advertisement in the mail with a peel off sticker – the offer to good to refuse? So I have blankets and travel bags. I have purses and jewelry. I have more food than I should eat as I must purchase “2 for the price of 1”!

What is it that I will streamline from my life today – and what will the end result be? I hope for less sleepless nights. I hope for making the time to play each day. But I am not sure that I can give up all this clutter – or what I will find underneath all the things.  But I will try. I will try today to free myself from judgment. I will try to speak only good words and eliminate the clutter of gossip and demeaning language. I will start small. I will start with myself. No judgment about adding the sugar for one more day.

Maybe no one will notice. A small start on this journey of un-cluttering, to remove the mess that I create by judging others, by judging myself. Today I will begin by replacing my judgments with kind and gentle words, or better yet, no words at all. That is a start. And if I fail – rather than judge, I will try again with a joyful heart until I succeed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

All things find their road?

In the wake of a tragedy, I felt broken hearted, I sat with my reflection, praying and hoping for a kinder world. Do all things find their road? Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes people get lost. I know I was lost and now, not as much. I had the opportunity to be at the PASCD 2014 conference this past week. It was definitely a road home as I visited with friends and colleagues who I had not seen for a while when I felt set adrift in the sea of public education. While the road may lead to home and the path may be clear many of us get lost. Not everyone finds their path, accepts their path, or lives the path of wholeness.

How do we live in the tragic gap of broken-heartedness? It took me long times to find my way wading through life with others who hid, who were afraid too. We had no champions as young gay people. No, not everyone finds his or her way. The road is long and hard. It took me a long time to find my way. It took courage to accept love. And some days it is still hard to stay the path. The road is treacherous without protection as a gay person (PA does not have an anti-discrimination law). I can't comprehend the pain of people who cannot hide their race, color or language differences, who face subtle and not-so-subtle degradation every day.

The pain of otherness cuts deep. Many of us feel it. When we don't know what to do, we can push and fight, like children who don't know how to express themselves. We become the very violence we abhor. We hide in the margins undetected until that last straw breaks. All the rage, pain, anger and fury bubble to the surface. If we could just see it their way! Can we heal? Can we find the road? Can we find our way home? I think we can. During this conference I met my friends, old and new, educators, who care so much for children and I find hope.

I am angry about the systematic degradation of people; upheld in schools and public places. Can we be sure we are not teaching another generation to hate? I watch broken-hearted trying to figure out why one persons' child is more valuable than another. I find hope when I stand side-by-side with others who are willing to make a change, not just talk about it. Or when I meet others who are willing to have respectful and hard conversations. I am hopeful when I find my heart broken and sit in this tragic gap with others who are heartbroken too, longing to teach every child, every teacher, every person that we all matter. We are all a part of this great journey of life…. Finding ourselves, out passions and our way home!

*Several of the concepts and ideas of broken-heartedness and the tragic gap are from the works of Parker J. Palmer. They are linked directly to his catalog of works.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Great Fall at BSN Learning Institute

It is hard to believe we are already one-fourth of the way through the school year. The Learning Institute at Blended Schools Network has bustled this fall with the addition of courses like Physics, Chemistry and Probability! The Language Institute has made the transition to the Learning Institute as districts like Glendale, North Penn and Shikellamy needed alternatives to help students with courses that were not available due to certification issues or just lack of time in the school day. We have been excited to help with our award winning courses and certified teachers!
Over the past few years we have dreamt about building on our strong World Language program delivering high quality live, on-line instruction. In our inaugural offering as the Learning Institute we are hosting 360 students who have chosen World Languages and 147 students who have chosen Physics, Chemistry, English, Probability, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Social Studies, Health and Physical Education. Building on this strong foundation we have expanded to Advanced Placement, Core and Elective Courses for districts. Schools often looked to fill the needs of students who want to extend and enrich their school opportunities. With our unique approach that includes both a mentor, a teacher AND live on-line classes students can participate in course that meet both student and districts needs.
As new and emerging technologies make their way into classrooms we can help districts bridge the gaps with innovative ways to help schools discover, develop and deliver authentic and meaningful content. Scott at Tuscarora School District recently sent me this feedback, ..." I’m in a position where I have to judge/assess, somewhat, the effectiveness and progress of students in language courses (async vs. sync). We have nearly a split roster of language kids --- equal async and sync --- and while my feelings in the past have been mixed when it comes to the pros and cons and each, and which may be the better learning tool, I’m leaning more and more of late toward the “live” instruction model." He reiterated what we believe at Blended Schools Network when he said, "You each take a great, personable and relative approach to teaching these languages. Async courses have some things to boast about in the way of convenience, but they fall short in the flexibility, monitoring and “care” departments."
So whether you need to supplement your current curriculum or build the confidence in own teachers to deliver courses in online and blended platforms we are here to help:
  1. Supplement your schools' spring schedule with Blended Schools' Learning Institute Core, World Language and Elective courses! Our courses are developed and taught by certified teachers trained using Blended Schools Professional Development.
  2. Explore our credit recovery options for students who really want to graduate, but need a few extra credits. Our specially designed credit recovery courses are competency based and offer a problem based learning solution to provide an authentic learning experience.
  3. Enroll in an online Professional Development course. Our BSN teachers use our Professional Learning Opportunities to sharpen their skills!! Sign up and meet new colleagues with great ideas or join a course with a group of friends (near or far).