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About Carla Gerstein

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So far Carla Gerstein has created 24 blog entries.

Hands On Turns the Fun On!

Can learning be fun for students and teachers?

Teacher of the Year, Heather Glanz, who has been teaching fourth grade in the Santee School District for the last 17 years, says a very enthusiastic yes to this!  She shared that thinking like a kid is how she does it.

How do you think like a kid?  Glanz says, “Start by putting your hands on everything!!”

The more hands on you can be, the more fun they, and you, will have.  What would a kid really enjoy?  That’s what Glanz asks herself when she is teaching, and for her that works.

We asked Glanz about implementing the new Common Core standards.  She says that most of what she’s already doing with her students, including developing critical thinking skills, is in alignment with the Common Core standards, so it will not be a big transition for her.  She continues to implement the “best practices” that she has perfected over the past 17 years. 

Glanz’s attitude towards students and learning helps her classroom stay fun and exciting.  Many of her students have come back years later to visit her.  They remind her how important her teaching is, and that she really makes a difference.  One such student claimed that Glanz’s passion about science developed in him a lifelong love of science, and inspired him to major in science in college.  How awesome is that?!!

To our question about one thing she would like to see change in education, Glanz answered, “More money and resources allocated for the classroom and the students.”  For example, science needs to be taught through hands on experiments, which requires materials.  “Students can’t learn how a rock forms just from a book,” says Glanz.  In her school, she shares only five […]

By | March 21st, 2014|Education, From the Staff, Teacher|1 Comment

Music Can Help Bring The Grades Up

Does music matter in schools?

Many students can’t even take a music class in school anymore, but for the ones that can and do, it matters a great deal.

Recently we had the chance to interview Spencer Caldwell, this year’s Teacher of the Year for Cajon Valley Union School District, a band and choral teacher at Hillsdale Middle School for the last 17 years.  Caldwell was also Teacher of the Year in 1996 and 2005.  Clearly he is doing something right!

One of the many ways Caldwell has made a difference for students is by founding a nonprofit parent organization called Hillsdale Music Department Parent Association, to help raise money to support his music program, as well as the district’s five feeder elementary schools’ programs.  They raise about $30,000 annually, which makes it possible for students to have music education and performance experiences that extend beyond the basic classroom curriculum, providing instruments and concert attire at no cost to students experiencing financial hardship, providing funding for an assistant band director, piano accompaniment and individual instrumental coaches, supplemental choral instruction, and more.  Some of the parents involved have kids who graduated from the program 5-6 years ago, but they have stayed on the board because of their dedication to the cause.

Spencer Caldwell Spencer Caldwell

When it comes to implementing the new Common Core standards this year, Caldwell feels like he doesn’t have to change much, because he already uses many of the strategies they espouse, and his students are all very engaged.  Also, when they tracked SAT scores, they found that kids who took music classes were ahead of the rest by an average of 60+ points. However, he […]

By | February 28th, 2014|Education, From the Staff, Teacher|0 Comments

Stop Bullying Flash Mob

We all need to be more aware of bullying and the effects it has not only on children, but on adults as well.

Just last week a freshman at Serra High School in Tierrasanta was arrested after it was discovered that he brought an unloaded semi-automatic hand gun to school to confront a bully.  The young man was expelled and arrested with felony charges, in his efforts to protect himself.  No one was physically hurt (in this instance), but clearly damage was done to all involved.

In an effort to raise awareness about bullying and encourage the community to get more involved, Daril Bonner will be presenting an epic Flash Mob at Horton Plaza Mall Square on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 at 12:30 pm.  This performance will be a heart-wrenching dance drama designed to inspire people to be more than just silent bystanders, but to get involved.

As reported by the “East County Magazine,” San Diego actually has a higher suicide rate than the nation at large.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide ranks tenth in causes of death nationwide.  Daril says, “If we remove the social stigma that comes from seeking help, we reduce the risks.  Stomp out bullying flash mob is designed to counterattack the social stigma that bullying is not that big a deal. The facts and statistics prove otherwise.  It’s vital that the community of San Diego get involved. We are exerting our efforts to help prevent teen suicide and reduce school violence related to bullying in San Diego.”

This flash mob will be a moving, eye opening experience.  If you can make it, please do, and share this […]

By | February 7th, 2014|Bullying, Empathy, From the Staff, Safety|0 Comments

“A Taste of Transformation!” Workshop Launched!

The first day of our six week mini-series is in the books and wow what a great group we have. The focus on this first meeting was empathic listening.

Active, or empathic, listening comes from the theories of Carl Rogers’ person-centered-therapy. This type of listening involves a person listening to another person, and then responding to that person using techniques such as paraphrasing. In this way, the listener restates what has been said, which demonstrates empathy, and shows that he/she was listening and understanding what was being said. This is very useful when a person feels they have something meaningful to say, because they will feel much better about, and be more likely to share it with you if they feel you are actively listening.

Overall the first day of this series went great, as the participants shared many useful things they had gotten from it. We look forward to the next 5 weeks as we explore even more ways the Person Centered Approach can be used in schools.

By | February 3rd, 2014|Empathy, PCA, Workshop|0 Comments