I've been thinking a lot about the school librarian who wore a plastic tiara to school on Monday. She won a huge award for writing some short vignettes for her 5th graders to read aloud. She wanted to help to bring medieval England alive for them. She went To the Ends of the Earth for her kids, and she won a big award for it.
I'd like the para pros at my school to win a To the Ends of the Earth Award. They work with the trickiest kids (behavioral and learning challenges) every day and they are always cheerful, always patient, and always trying to find one more little thing that we can do to nudge these kids along.
A plastic tiara to the school nurse, who works tirelessly on behalf of the needy families in her district, tracking down beds, and washers and dryers, and warm clothes.
An interview on the Today Show for the ELL teacher who advocated to keep a second language learner out of special education. She knows that in the next five years, his English will develop at a faster and faster rate, if we just give him time. She also knows that if he ever goes back to his native country (a real possibility) with a special education label, it is likely that he would get NO education. (Now, if only we could only convince the NCLB'ers that he should be able to take a test that shows what he CAN do, not a test in a language he hasn't yet mastered.)
A special To the Ends of the Earth Award for the primary teacher who kept a school chess club alive even though she herself does not play chess, and another to all the teachers and librarians who support students in after school activities (or lunchtime poetry clubs) that develop them as thinkers and learners.
Please join me in handing out To the Ends of the Earth awards. Who are the people in your schools, who work with your children or with the children of others, who deserve a plastic tiara for the day?