TOOLS & TIPS
Celebrating What’s Right in the World
Before George Floyd’s murder and the emotional and physical explosions that ensued, I wrote this blog about celebrating what’s right in the world and in education. I considered holding off,
waiting for another time to post it. But perhaps now more than ever – as we witness the objectification of people of color, protesters and police alike – it is time to remember the good in humanity. I hope this story touches your heart just when you need it… as it did mine.
In this time of emotional turmoil and pain, it is healing to celebrate the good in people and how they care for others. Recently, I had the pleasure and honor of reviewing the nominations for the Strengths in Action awards sponsored by Adams 12 Five Star Schools near Denver, CO. The awards recognize staff that exemplify the district’s core strengths: care, collaboration, empower, engage and focus on students. Reading so many inspirational and moving stories made me smile and filled me with deep appreciation for teachers and all the staff who care for our young. Knowing how our educators have had to be especially nimble, navigating online teaching and physically distanced recognitions, makes me want to celebrate them even more.
The story that especially moved me was called Rainbow Day. It tells how a third-grade teacher at Stellar Elementary saw a need and then acted to empower a student’s success.
The teacher, Cathy Zensen, discovered that one of her students was color blind and that it was affecting his classroom performance. Convinced that glasses could help him, she did some networking within the district and with community businesses. She scheduled him to be fitted for EnChroma glasses at 20/20 Eye Venue, which helped cover the cost of the two pairs of glasses together with Compassionate Home Health and Hospice Care and the district. Cathy then organized a special celebration, Rainbow Day, to present the glasses to her student. From seeing the need, to finding the answer and then planning a perfect celebration, Cathy showed her dedication to empowering her students. These pictures say it all.
Another celebration of what’s right in the world is the way the district honors and amplifies its core strengths. The core strengths came from the district’s Elevate community-driven strategic planning process a few years back. The awards program and other Elevate-inspired activities ensure that the community’s priorities remain front and center as the district supports nearly 40,000 students, especially in these challenging times.
To educators and educational staff, thank you for all you do. Let’s keep sharing the stories that celebrate what’s right in the world, so these stories can become the foundation for addressing what needs to change.