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Inspiring Educators: Weekly Roundup 10/07/19

The new school year is now in full swing, and maybe it doesn't feel so 'new' anymore. As things get hectic, what inspires you in the classroom? This week we've rounded up some stories of teachers and administrators who inspire their students in their own ways -- by remembering their heritage, believing in their power to overcome, and setting them as the motivation for change. We hope you are inspired by these educators, and let us know who inspires you! 

The first story is really a series of stories, that could take up this entire roundup all on its own. At an awards ceremony in British Columbia, 10 teachers were recognized for their inspiring work in the classroom. One elementary and secondary teacher was awarded for being a "game-changer" who weaved mental health into her classes and showed particular attentiveness "to students’ social emotional as well as physical health." Another teacher was recognized for helping students create connections outside the classroom, having "created educational opportunities for his students at both local and global levels.” Read more to learn about all 10!

Oregon's 2020 Teacher of the Year is special education teacher Mercedes Muñoz, a teacher who really makes the effort to connect to her students and look to a brighter future. Her belief is that education can be the biggest element to changing her students' lives. Says school Principal Chris Frazier, “She leads with her heart. She loves her students. And her students recognize that.” She truly cares about them and wants to be an "anchor" in their lives, to help them prove to themselves they can make it. Watch as Muñoz expresses her convictions in this brief video interview.

 Isabel Lozano, Principal at Kendrick Elementary School in Waco, Texas, never thought she would end up where she is today. Lozano's parents migrated to Texas from Mexico, and she grew up in San Antonio. After high school graduation, she never thought she would go to college. It wasn't until the bilingual program director, for which she was then a secretary, Yolanda Lopez, encouraged her. Now, with years of hard work, Lozano is a role model to her students, and seeks to keep her heritage alive primarily by speaking to them in Spanish. She says, “I think speaking the language is important because if you lose the language you lose everything." Check out Lozano's story, and read more about how she inspires her students. 

 One year ago, Principal Reginald Bush began working at Kashmere High School in Houston, Texas. The school was struggling academically and was failing Texas' state accountability standards. This year, things are looking much different. The school went from an F to a C in state accountability ratings (that's a jump of 26 points on the scale) and their overall culture has improved by getting to know the students, and giving teachers ongoing support. Read more about his approach, what made it work, and what the results have been.