January 16, 2023
By Aleta Margolis, Founder and President of Center for Inspired Teaching
Hooray for Monday is a weekly blog filled with questions, ideas, reflections, and actions we can all take to remodel the school experience for students.
You can now listen to Hooray for Monday on Spotify! Check out our podcast here.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day has become synonymous with service, action, and reflection on the role we all play as citizens and communities in helping make the world a better place. The work of Inspired Teaching is driven by the belief that all children deserve a school experience that nurtures their curiosity and engages them in reaching their full potential. We invest in teachers to achieve that vision. And that work requires the service and action of an amazing community of colleagues, some of whom I’d like to introduce you to today. Their contributions are evident in Hooray for Monday and in the other programs we run.
I am grateful for this team:
Maria Salciccioli, our research specialist, leads us in asking, “How are our programs impacting teachers and their students?” “How can we gather more insights from our teachers in order to strengthen our programs?” and other thoughtful questions about what teachers and students need, and how well we are meeting those needs. Like any social change organization, we want to know what kind of impact we are having. Maria helps us craft the questions, surveys, focus groups, data collection protocols, and studies that reveal how well we are doing, and push us toward continuous improvement. All of that data informs what we share with you each week.
Michelle Welk makes our toolkits, guidebooks, programming, and resources clearer, stronger, and easier to access. She’s been instrumental in helping us adapt our materials (print, video, audio) to evolving preferences in how teachers seek professional learning. This includes serving as producer for the Hooray for Monday podcast. Michelle is remodeling our website with new features like this interactive introduction to the Inspired Teaching instructional model, in order to make our materials more accessible to teachers who are working to bring this instructional approach to their classrooms and schools.
Cosby Hunt launched our youth programs years ago so they could serve as models of Inspired Teaching in action. He leads Real World History, our student-driven honors level course for high schoolers that teaches history through inquiry.
Cosby continues to lead our youth programming today, along with Max Peterson, a historian who specializes in oral history work. Our youth programming provides great opportunities for local students, and a wealth of insights into student experiences that inform the content we include in Hooray for Monday.
Jaqueta Abbey provides technical support for our youth programs and teacher programs. This includes everything from managing relationships with school administrators to gathering insights from our teacher Institutes. Jaqueta compiles resource booklets from each Institute (for example: Games that Build Student Expertise), which we share with hundreds of teachers in the DC region, and many more across the country.
Christine Sheridan ensures all our databases, platforms, and systems are in place so Hooray For Monday can find its way to your inbox each week, and all our other programs have what they need to run. Christine also writes the grant proposals that inspire our funding partners to invest in Inspired Teaching, and enable us to provide these resources free of charge.
Jenna Fournel designs and runs our monthly Institutes, our Speak Truth Fellowship program, and a number of other professional learning initiatives for teachers. She also serves as the design and production editor for each week’s Hooray For Monday, and co-authors many of them with me, including this one! Jenna solicits input from teachers of all grades and subject areas to create our resources. In her role and in collaboration with our whole team, she also helps chart the organization’s strategic direction.
It takes a lot of people to create and sustain a movement. And Hooray For Monday is part of Inspired Teaching’s movement to create a radical shift in the school experience for every child, away from compliance and toward engaging, curiosity-based learning. You are part of this movement too. Your ideas and input, priorities and needs, and the artifacts and findings you share with us, shape the work we do.
In his 1963 March on Washington speech, Dr. King spoke of the “fierce urgency of now” and said, “this is a time for vigorous and positive action.” Today I am thinking with gratitude about how my colleagues demonstrate that action. I wish you a week filled with the same.
Download Our New Booklet
Play helps us learn better; but play can feel at odds with all we have to “get through” in our curriculum. This booklet comes from our January Institutes where we explored how play and instruction can go hand-in-hand, while building student expertise. When, for example, students are tasked with working collaboratively and using their bodies to demonstrate a math concept, they must rely on what they know and understand to accomplish that task. Centering their knowledge in this way builds confidence and it’s also fun! Check out the booklet here.