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preparation for life

Independence Day-- or Equality Day? What are we celebrating?

by Gary Kaplan

What are we celebrating?

The Declaration of Independence is a curious document. Much of it consists of grievances against the actions of King George III which are summarized as “the establishment of an absolute Tyranny.” There are 27 discrete articles in the catalogue of complaints.

The themes are familiar: arbitrary governance and legislation; usurpation of justice and the rule of law; military occupation; economic imperialism in taxes and trade; overt military aggression and incitement of domestic insurrection. All tourists on the Freedom Trail and fans of the Boston Tea Party have heard these complaints recited since childhood.

There Comes a Time We Must Come Together, WE Are The World

by Greg Cunningham

The world must come together

“Check your egos at the door.”

This sign, inscribed by Quincy Jones, greeted 46 world-famous singers who showed up  at the A&M Studios in Los Angeles the night of January 28, 1985, to record We Are the World for USA For Africa to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. A drought of a magnitude never seen in the region had caused famine-scale food shortages. Thousands were dying every month and horrific images of starving children haunted nightly news broadcasts around the world.

The song soared up the charts as soon as it was released, juiced by a promotion hatched by Georgia DJs Bob Wolfe of WROM-AM and Don Briscar of WKCX-FM that brought it to a wide audience, including President Ronald Reagan aboard Air Force One.

Stress and Pressure: Helping Students Navigate

We need to help them manage expectations effectively.


by Eileen Wedegartner, Blended Learning Specialist

Growing up, I remember there were high school students around me who had either attempted to take their own life or had done so. As a teen, it shook me to think that anyone felt that alone. It was sad, but it was also an anomaly.

In the last few years, a community near mine experienced a spike in suicides among high school students. It was enough of a crisis that the Boston Globe wrote about it in the article “After suicides in Acton and Boxborough, A Communion of Sorrow.”

Philosophy in a Traffic Jam; Pondering Uncultured, Aggressive, Rude Behavior

Acrimony and outlandish behavior the new norm?

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

Adults are not always on their best behavior. One need only drive on the Expressway during rush hour to confirm this truth. We do the best we can, especially around children, but sometimes we’re forced to explain the behavior of other adults who should absolutely know better.

How to explain bad behavior to students

How to explain bad behavior to students

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

These are difficult times for teachers. With MCAS looming, budgets due (and most likely cut from last year), and antsy students counting the hours to year-end, teachers have a small mountain of things on their plate. Add the storm of controversies in pop culture (which students pay more attention to than Algebra) and the classroom can be a complex and complicated storm center. Students who grew up listening to R. Kelly are going to have many questions even before getting to the recent revelations about Michael Jackson. And now English teachers have to confront the news that Charles Dickens tried to have his wife committed to an insane asylum so he could be with another woman. (Divorce was apparently too much trouble.) Throw in John Wayne’s recently rediscovered racist rants and Joe Biden’s hair fetish and your head spins like a scene from The Exorcist.

Words and Meanings - The teachers’ job, Ask Questions

The teachers’ job

by Eileen Wedegartner, Blended Learning Specialist

The job of the English teacher is to ensure that students can read a complex text with comprehension and formulate ideas about it orally and in writing. Teachers often walk a fine line between imparting their own views and facilitating an environment where students can formulate their own judgements based on their own knowledge, values, ethics and beliefs.

Education and Inequality, trying its level best, the “Great Equalizer” needs a lift

Education and Inequality

The “great equalizer” of education can only nudge the scales so far.

By Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

In his FY20 budget proposal, Governor Charlie Baker has waded into the discussion of fair funding for school districts in Massachusetts. He has proposed large increases for districts that have been clearly underfunded for years. While presenting the proposed changes and recognizing the fight many districts have been waging for years, some even threatening legal action against the state, Baker proclaimed the adage we have heard many times: “Education is the great equalizer.”

Curiosity and Courage
Curiosity and Courage in the Classroom

by Eileen Wedegartner, Blended Learning Specialist

WGBH, one of our Boston NPR stations, recently ran a three-part series titled, “Teaching the Future: Climate Change Education on Cape Cod.” The series explores the challenges for teachers who are trying to teach about climate change when they have not had deep training on the subject.

Words Matter, Language and liability in a sensitive time

What did he say and When did he say it? And what did he mean?

By Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

When I read recently that UMass Amherst football coach Mark Whipple had been suspended for using the word “rape” in a press conference, a burst of memory went off in my mind. I flashed back to the high school cafeteria line where a classmate blurted “I just got raped by that calculus test.” No one blinked. My first thought was not about his choice of words, but my GPA. His grades in calculus were usually higher than mine; if he had done poorly, my grade would probably be zero.