Happy #GivingTuesday! I wanted to share this note with a little reminiscing that reminded me how fortunate I am to work with Schools That Can.

When I was home over Thanksgiving, I was looking through old pictures that I’ve been keeping in my mom’s basement and came across a bunch of pictures from my first year of teaching. What a trip to think back to that first year. As you know, I was a Teach For America Corps Member down in Atlanta, teaching special education at a middle school just south of the city. Not that anyone tells you it’s easy, but boy was it hard! Students – especially middle schoolers (sorry to my HS and ES teacher friends!), especially those from underserved communities – are no piece of cake.

I’ll admit, I didn’t like my kiddos every minute, but I always loved them – and still do. I remember feeling so inadequate in my first year. Sure, I had some great mentor teachers down the hall, but largely felt on my own. I certainly had nothing like what we provide to our educators through Schools That Can.

At Schools That Can, we unite leaders to expand quality urban education. We help schools connect with each other despite differences (in governance, funding, etc.). Together, we crystallize their strengths and share them with peers in a way that facilitates deep learning and progress. Just yesterday, I was sitting around the table with leaders from 3 cross-sector schools from Harlem and the Bronx – 1 district school, 1 charter school, and 1 independent school. These leaders visited classrooms together, shared feedback, celebrated successes, and identified similarities in an effort to continuously strive for greatness with their own students.

I am so inspired by the leaders in our schools, as they are committed to greatness – not just in their schools, but beyond their walls. We know that students deserve the best we can give them. And we know that this work isn’t easy. But it’s so worth it.

I hope you’ll consider supporting Schools That Can today, on #GivingTuesday.

Help us break down silos. Help us connect leaders. Help us share practices to advance student learning. We know our students deserve success and they can achieve it. Schools That Can show us that every day. #BecauseStudentsCan