Better Serving LGBTQ+ Students with Patti Hearn
August 16, 2022
Better Serving LGBTQ+ Students with Patti Hearn

Belonging is vital if our kids are to learn. They need to feel understood and safe, and that often starts with teachers. But teachers have a lot on their plates already, and new legislation has them fearful that they’ll do or say something that might jeopardize their jobs.

While this podcast episode doesn’t solve this challenge, it spotlights the need for more conversations around creating spaces for youth who don’t want to fit in a box that society created for them.

Patti Hearn is a school and educational leader in the Pacific Northwest who started a school for girls and gender non-conforming kids so they would have the opportunity to “become competent risk takers and courageous mistake makers.” In this episode, we talk about why parents and leaders might want to build their own school, why it’s so important that we listen to our youth, how to honor student rights, how the legal landscape is impacting our ability to serve all learners, and so much more.

Patti has been there and done that and she’s now using her knowledge to support other parents and educators in ensuring that more kids have access to the space and education they deserve.

About Patti Hearn:

Patti Hearn is passionate about education and believes in working to help individuals, families, and schools forge authentic paths. Patti was the Founding Head of Lake Washington Girls Middle School in Seattle, where, for over two decades, she offered girls and gender non-conforming kids the opportunity to become competent risk takers and courageous mistake makers. She then brought her knowledge and passion for innovative middle school programs to lead Seattle School for Boys, and she launched Verge Consulting to provide consultation and coaching to educators, school leaders, and founders of new schools, as well as school placement support for families.

Patti shares her thinking and work in feminist, anti-racist, and LGBTQ+ inclusive education, social-emotional learning, startup culture in education, creative confidence, STEAM, executive functioning, and inclusive leadership. Her conference presentations include the National Association of Independent Schools, the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools, the Seattle Interactive Conference, the Teaching and Education Summit, and the Northwest Association of Independent Schools.

Jump in the Conversation:

[1:33] – Where Patti’s school transformation began
[2:55] – Helping students to become competent risk takers and courageous mistake makers
[5:25] – Why you might want to build a startup school
[7:17] – How to make a change
[8:19] – Youth speaking up about gender noncoforming; we need to address that
[9:40] – All kids have value; it’s about loving the individual not about the labels
[10:26] – how the legal landscape is impacting our ability to serve all learners fully
[11:56] – All kids benefit from inclusion
[12:45] – Teachers aren’t clear enough about they can and can’t say and they fear for their livelihoods
[14:32] – It’s life-saving to have a caring adult at school
[18:27] – How to honor student rights and be an advocate
[20:30] – Turbo Time
[22:39] – What people need to know about serving LGTBQ+ kids
[25:48] – Patti’s Magic Wand
[20:02] – Maureen’s takeaways

Links & Resources



Maureen O’Shaughnessy 0:03
Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at education evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education evolution, micro school coalition, and co founder of at active, I consult and train with schools and leaders who are fiercely committed to changing the narrative, reimagining the education landscape, and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive. If you are new, welcome to the podcast. Please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:07
Hi, Patti, it is so good to have you interviewing today on education evolution.

Patti Hearn 1:13
Hi, thank you for having me.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:16
And listeners. today I’m chatting with Patti Hearn, fellow Northwest school founder and trailblazing school leader, Patti, we know, our schools must evolve to serve all learners, you’re creating schools that do just that. Where did this story of school transformation begin for you?

Patti Hearn 1:37
You know, I think I sort of lucked in and landed in a in a school that was new and nimble. And early in my career. So I had the beauty of being able to start in a school that was brand new, that was like Washington girls Middle School in 1998. And I had just my 15 kids and a lot of freedom and trust to meet that kids where they were and figure out what we needed to do and, you know, stay aligned to the mission and stay within the purpose but really be responsive and nimble, as we saw how the kids were evolving and, and really honored what they brought to the table to because, you know, kids all show up with their own gifts and strengths. And and honoring those and saying, Okay, what what do you really want to do what’s exciting to you what, galvanized, you don’t want to learn more. And because it was just me and that small classroom, and we were totally a micro school. Before, I think that was a word people were using the right, we really could just go with it. It was great.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 2:42
Love it. Yes. And, and you hosted me at Lake Washington girls middle school, back in 13, when I was preparing to open lead prep, and then again, more recently in your newer facility. I’ve seen you live the vision that I’ve saw, I’ve seen written of girls and gender nonconforming kids having, as you say, the opportunity to become competent risk takers, and courageous mistake makers. Love it. What guides you as you create and lead schools.

Patti Hearn 3:16
You know, I think both in relationship to girls in schools, I think something that I was really looking for in the early days was wanting girls to have a space where they could fully lean into their learning. You know, an integral school kids get just continual exposure and experience of being of girls being the first hand raised in class and the first one called on and the student body president and the problem solvers. And so during these, like really important middle school years, where they’re forming all kinds of identity and values, they never have the experience of being interrupted in class by a male classmate. And they never have the experience of being passed over for a boy right in class by a teacher or an ally in a leadership position. And so they get to see themselves in those roles and really practice it. And so then, when they go on, and they’re in schools and workplaces, with people of all genders, they know kind of deep in their bones that they have just as much right to be there as anybody else. And that’s like, the thing we’re all trying to do with kids, right is that sense of belonging. We want them all to be able to walk into school and say, I belong here.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 4:19
That sense of belonging is everything. I actually put my younger daughter in ninth grade and an all girls school for those same reasons. It didn’t turn out to be the right fit because she felt so much pressure to be in five AP classes. And it was it had a different focus. But I totally believe that we need all kids to belong and sometimes it’s not set up in a way that everybody can feel that and that’s why our school is intentionally staying a micro school because I haven’t been able to keep that going. You know, when I’ve been leaving a school of 1000 or so it just so hard and small seems to be a piece of it. So I want to kind of think about startups. My board president and I wrote a book in 2019, about creating small schools or schools within schools, for this inclusion, celebrating differences, belonging. And I know those are the values you’re talking about and are super dear to your heart. But you and I both know, startups aren’t just rewarding, but they’re really hard work. So maybe you could talk to us about why and how others might build a startup school?

Patti Hearn 5:31
Yeah, I think you have to have someone at the helm, who really, truly is in it, right? Like you have to, you have to believe in the purpose and really want it in to run because it is, it is an amazing amount of work. And then we have this vision of like, a tech startup, right, and everybody’s there, and they sleep on the couch, and there’s popcorn or something. But in a school, it’s, it’s some of that, right? You’re working long hours, and it’s really intense. And schools are really emotional places, because we’re doing really big important work. And we’re doing it with people’s babies, right, where they’re like here to serve their children. So the stakes are incredibly high. So I think that isn’t like, here’s your answer. But I think what you really need is someone who’s completely driven by the mission and who can, who can see it, right, who has a vision of what it’s going to be like, and then that person needs to bring people around them who, who can get on board and who want it to. And then once it’s going right once you’ve got those those successes those days, where you see that you’ll walk through the school, and you’re like, oh, yeah, we’re doing the thing we said we were gonna do, then it can perpetuate itself and it will grow.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 6:41
So I know now you’ve shifted after founding the Girls School and helping the boys school you founded to consulting. So if I am like, a disgruntled parents, maybe with an ADHD or artistic kid or a gifted kid, and I want to help create something different. If I came to you and said, Hey, you consult you’ve started schools? What is it take for me to get going? Are there some specific pieces of advice you would have for an interested parent, especially somebody that’s disgruntled and has a passion to make a change?

Patti Hearn 7:16
Yeah, I think my first if I were to sit with you and ask you questions, and in consulting space, I would, I would try to get you to talk about what you really want, right? I think sometimes we go, we don’t want that we don’t want that we don’t want that I would try to lead you to what is the what’s the beautiful vision that you can see for your kid and other kids, and then build from there. And, and then I would encourage you to do lots of logistical things that are boring and not as exciting as the vision work. There is all of this stuff that really matters. That’s about do you have? Do you have enough financial backing? Do you have? Do you have the space? Do you have those pretty basic things, and it doesn’t have to be bright and shiny and big, right. But you do have to have some pretty essential tools in order to make a school work. And so I would encourage you to do some thinking about those things, too.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 8:04
I appreciate that. Yes. And we are starting year 10. And we are still not bright or shiny or big. Right? You’re right. It doesn’t have to be I want to focus in on our youth right now. Many are speaking up and saying, hey, I want the right to be gender non conforming, I want the right to be exploring. How is your leadership in both a girls school and a boys school addressed to the LGBTQ plus learners and this time of gender not having to be one of two boxes that gets checked off?

Patti Hearn 8:43
Yeah, can be really challenging, right? There are these I’ve worked in a single gender schools that were also really inclusive of kids who didn’t fit into either of those boxes. And so it’s almost paradox. But particularly, I’d say in the girl school early on, we were aware that kids were evolving in their gender identities. And that seemed to happen. Well, that school is older, but it happened pretty early on in the life of like Washington girls Middle School. And so we were able to do a lot of thinking about what that meant for a girl school, and what that meant for our students. And so a long time ago, we shifted our language. We kept the name of the school, obviously, but we shifted our language to what you just mentioned earlier, girls and gender nonconforming kids, and then goodbye girls, we met anyone who identifies as a girl. So that’s a pretty broad range of students. And we did a lot of thinking about how we can support kids and all of their very gender expressions and their identities. And really that at the girls school, at the Boys School at any school that really comes down to understanding that kids are all kids and that they have value and validity and that they should be loved and cared for however they show up.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 9:55
Oh my god. microp it’s all about loving each individual. Not Got the labels off? I so agree. I just had Karen Hauser on, just because I was trying to understand, as she talked about our hands conference, Roe v. Wade, yes, abortion stuff has such a ripple to our schools. And I was like, what? And so she unpacked a little bit more about that. And I know you kind of keep your eye on that piece, too. In terms of our current legal landscape, what are you seeing that might impact our efforts to serve all learners fully?

Patti Hearn 10:36
Yeah, I actually feel pretty worried about it. Some of the legislation that’s been enacted, and that’s on the table in in states is actually pretty dangerous. You know, when you tell a teacher, for example, much like the law in Florida and other places, that they can’t talk about different kinds of family, right? Like, if our state had such a law, then my child’s own teacher wouldn’t be able to acknowledge that she has two moms in school, right. So when you censor this way, you call it to question the validity of queer people’s actual lives, like their, their right to exist. And I think that, you know, things to know, are that all of this legislation, whether whether the legislation gets enacted or not, the fact that it’s being discussed is really hard on on people that makes them feel very unwelcome and unsupported. And we know that queer kids in particular in in schools all over the place are generally don’t feel very loved and supported, right and about, I think 36%, of LGBTQ youth report that they’ve been actually physically threatened or harmed due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. And then we know that that translates into self harm and suicidal ideation, and all kinds of mental health challenges. Yeah, and the other side of that is that all all kinds of studies have shown that all kids not just queer kids benefit from a curriculum and a community that’s really inclusive. So all of this exclusion in the legislation is really challenging for everyone.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:09
I agree, it’s so painful. And Karen also talked about shadow dockets. Even if something isn’t legislated, the conversation behind it is super impactful, and that SCOTUS can use that to send a message, even though they haven’t made a formal decision. So it’s pretty tricky, how all of these conversations are impacting our national psyche and the direction of, of how we accept and love each other.

Unknown Speaker 12:40
Yeah, yeah. And I think I think what’s happening for teachers now, in in places where these laws are being enacted, is they don’t really know they’re not clear enough, they don’t know what they are allowed to say, and not allowed to say. And so of course, the default then is going to be well, I don’t want to lose my job. And so I’m just gonna really, you know, throw out more books and censor more conversations and not not validate a kid’s experience or identity, because it’s gonna get me in trouble.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 13:07
And we know that I mean, in neuroscience is supporting kids need to feel safe, they need to feel a sense of belonging before we even get to the learning. So if a teacher is like, I can’t guarantee any safety, I’m going to that belonging thing might get me in trouble. So we’re just gonna go straight to the learning that kids aren’t going to be connected, and that the learning is not going to happen. So the whole system loses out when we can’t love everybody and help them belong.

Unknown Speaker 13:36
Right, right on like a neurobiological level. They can’t learn if they don’t feel safe, right.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 13:40
Yeah. So yeah, yeah. So we’re, we’re undoing the whole learning potential in our country, when people don’t feel safe. And we’re creating more of this lack of safety. And you know, what I see in Yes, I’m in Seattle, and we’re liberal. But I see my students like, No, hey, teacher, the gender the student has as shifted gender shifted name, get with it, and like really supporting, I don’t think it’s our kids or kids are like, Hey, this is who this person wants to be, of course. And if we’re out of the way, kids aren’t having a problem with this, it’s this kind of this control thing by old people like me over 50 It’s like scary.

Unknown Speaker 14:23
Well, we all you know, we all had to catch up and learn the kids are always gonna lead on that kind of thing. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I think that along those lines that I don’t know that a lot of people have thought about, but, you know, if a kid is being treated poorly at school, because of their race, for example, there’s a pretty good chance that a person at home shares their racial identity, or at the very least, that they are aware of their racial identity and affirming of their racial identity. So they’re likely to be a source of support and care for them like a you know, like I see you I get it kind of conversation can happen, but LGBTQ kids just did. Historically don’t usually have a parent at home who shares their identity. And about 1/3 of the time, their parents don’t know. So that it’s not, most of the time, they can’t go home and get that kind of loving support. Which is why being able to have a caring adult, trusted adult at school is so, so important for LGBTQ kids. And, and we, as teachers, as educators really need to show up and be those people. And there’s some challenges there at but it’s, it’s, it’s actually not to get dramatic. And I don’t actually think it’s dramatic, because it’s facts, but it’s actually life saving.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 15:40
salutely Yes, and that’s an important difference that sometimes we when we think of people who are not being respected for who they are, we forget how much lonelier and perhaps even more dangerous, dangerous it is for LGBTQ kiddos. Right? Yeah. So you are always moving and shaking. And now that you have left the Seattle Boys School, what’s next for you and your mission.

Unknown Speaker 16:06
I am hoping to do some support for schools and organizations and families around some of the issues we’re talking about today. So I’m doing di consulting for schools around LGBTQ issues, helping people think about their curriculum or their policies and procedures, and then also doing some work with families who are looking for admission to, to figure out what the right match is for their kids. Because as you know, sometimes you you think a school is going to be the right place for your kiddo and then you get there. And, and it’s not it’s not exactly what they need. So because I’ve been around for so long. And as a middle school person I’ve gotten I’ve been lucky to know both Elementary and upper schools. So I’m going to help people with admissions counseling and and hope that I can facilitate some of those perfect matches.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 16:57
I love that. And I feel a little challenge when people like trash one model is like no charter schools have longer days in Washington State, they’re in low income neighborhoods, they’re doing this this this, they’re serving this population. No, this this all girls are this larger. Oh my gosh, yes, I work there. And I didn’t stay there. But they have the best drama program, the best volleyball, they have so many. So it’s not that there’s a right or wrong. It’s just like as adults, we choose all these different careers based on who we are and what we’re passionate about. So for you to help families say, hey, if your kids into that are wanting this or needing that this particular school or these schools might be a better fit. So people that get it black and white. It’s like how can it be black and white when our kids are this amazing rainbow? Right? Exactly. Yeah. Very cool. I’m glad to know you are out there, because I do get parents saying what, and I can share what I know and offer opportunities, but it’s always nice to have and consult consultants that really know the lay of the land some. So it’s good to add to my radar.

Unknown Speaker 18:04
Thank you. Yeah, it’s overwhelming, right. I remember even as a preschool parent, I had my spreadsheet and I was going to all the events, right. But and I’m, I know a lot about schools, and it was a huge overwhelming task for me. So when you’re new to the landscape and trying to figure out it’s it’s really big.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 18:19
Yes. Yes. So education, evolution. When I think about that, I’m wondering, do you have a few specific ways that others can help us forge ahead in terms of honoring student rights, and empowering true learning mistakes? And all the parents educators? What would you say, Hey, guys, doesn’t even have to start a new school, you can do this to be an advocate,

Unknown Speaker 18:45
I would say, for, for educators, and I think for parents to that that thing that I started talking about around meeting kids where they are and honoring and loving their gifts. You know, I think it can sound a little hokey. But I do really believe that it’s the crux, and that’s the crux of building strong relationships with kids. So even a teacher just in their classroom, regardless of what’s happening around them, if they focus on knowing and understanding their kids, and then meeting them where they are. I think that that is its own tiny evolution revolution. Right? Because they’re there. They’re starting with the beauty of the kid that’s in front of them,

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 19:24
starting with the beauty. And that means we acknowledge there is beauty, and we take time to figure out what that might be for each individual kid. Right? Yeah. And I have seen parents do that too. Sometimes the parent at home, it’s like, oh my gosh, this kid never makes her bed and it’s hard to get to school. But the best friend’s parent is like, oh my gosh, what are you doing with your horses these days? And how’s this going? So parents, I don’t think they realize that their influence maybe not on their own kids but on their, the friends of their kids. They can truly be that mirror that helps that student feel valuable and feel that sense of belonging. So it’s educators and parents can be doing right.

Unknown Speaker 20:08
Right. Yeah. And, and, you know, do what we can to instill it in our own children, right, their own sense of that. There. They’ve got they’ve got ideas and value to bring to the table.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 20:19
Yes, I guess, I’m gonna pivot. It’s always fun to get to know you personally, as well as what you’re about in terms of education evolution. So I have some turbo time questions.

Patti Hearn 20:32

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 20:34
What’s the last book you read?

Unknown Speaker 20:37
Um, let’s see, the last book I read was Billy Porter’s memoir, unprotected, and it’s good and heartbreaking. You know, he talks a lot about the importance of teachers, actually, who saw him and understood him so that that trusted adult that we were talking about, you know, his number of adverse childhood childhood experiences was incredibly high. But he was so resilient, and largely because he had one of the most important protective factors there is, which is caring adults, and he calls them his angels. Yeah, he says something like they could see me before I could even see myself, which is like, you know, what we hope for?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 21:19
Oh, shivers. Yeah. How about two inspirational folks you’d love to meet?

Unknown Speaker 21:26
Let’s see, okay, I would love in the same room, I would like to have Brene Brown and Bryan Stevenson, because I think, you know, everybody loves Brene Brown, but she’s all about emotions and vulnerability and how to like name and navigate those. And Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer, but really, he works with humanizing people helping us see that there are real humans in the in the legal system. So together, they could really, I think, break down how humans are more than the sum of their emotions or more than their worst mistakes. And it would be really interesting to see how they would build something together about that. And that’s for me, that’s all relevant to education and what we do with kids in classrooms.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 22:06
Absolutely. How about a TED Talk that inspires you?

Unknown Speaker 22:11
Okay, this is kind of an old one, but I still love it. A reader Pearson’s every kid needs a champion. You know, she’s like, so it’s so fun and so great. But it’s all again all about relationships, and have a good teacher knows that it’s their job to know their kids. It’s a good one to go back to every every school year,

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 22:30
completely agree. What’s the biggest thing you wish folks knew about serving our LGBTQ students in schools?

Unknown Speaker 22:42
You know, I think this may seem obvious, but I really think it’s the crux of the issue. What I wish people knew what they like really believed is that LGBTQ kids, like all kids deserve to learn. And that goes back to what we were talking about, you know, that they deserve to feel safe and, and have that not have their, have them feel safe enough to learn at school, which is really important, and that it’s actually really not that hard. All they need is a trusted adult and a little bit of care isn’t it isn’t like a big framework or something that has to happen. It’s really just caring adults.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 23:16
Exactly. What’s a pet peeve of yours?

Unknown Speaker 23:22
Okay, when people talk about someone being a natural born teacher, it’s kind of a pet peeve of mine, because it’s this idea that you like, have some innate talent, and you can walk in and just do it as though it doesn’t require skill or strategy. And I don’t really believe in Natural Born teachers any more than I believe in Natural Born pilots or surgeons, right. Like, you might have an inclination, you might really want to do that. But it does require a whole set of, of work and training and skill.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 23:50
So that’s an on going, it’s not like, Okay, I took this college program, and I’m set for life. It’s a journey. Yes. And art and science blended.

Unknown Speaker 24:01
Agreed, responding to what’s in front of you all those things.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 24:05
Yeah, yeah. And continuing to add tools as, as we learn more to respond differently. I’m responding a lot differently to racial conversations and topics than I would have 15 years ago because there’s so many more resources, so much more awareness now. So yeah, it’s not like okay, you’re a natural, you’re done. It’s easy. Never. Yeah, yep. What’s the passion you bring to single gender, which is not as we know, schools and leadership?

Unknown Speaker 24:37
Um, you know, I think it’s possible to envision a world where, and this is for me, mostly focused on girls and women. It’s possible to envision a world where the voices of girls and women are like, not just, they’re not just included, but really truly valued. And so, when people when when girls and women and gender expansive people see themselves as People who belong, then they can really lead and make change. And so that that passion kind of drives my, my way of thinking about how we approach schools, both girls schools and and boy schools

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:13
and what is something that most people don’t know about you?

Patti Hearn 25:19
Let’s see, lots of people don’t know that I am a black belt. I got my black belt. 14 years ago, I think. And I can I don’t know if I can still but I did one spread to concrete block with my elbow.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:33

Patti Hearn 25:36
My little secret

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:38
labs, like, I have a badass. That’s cool. Love it. Patti. I like to end the interviews with a magic wand moment. So if I have you a magic wand, and you get to make one decision on behalf of our Supreme Court, what one decision would you make in terms of our youth, and learners?

Unknown Speaker 26:07
My magic wand would be that the Supreme Court makes decisions that are grounded in our belief that all children deserve the same opportunities. All humans deserve the same opportunities and the same rights. Which is, you know, really what’s supposed to be guiding the country and I think if if they could really just use that frame, then all kinds of things would be better for people.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:34
I love it. And that actually is like how to get more than one wish out of a wish. Because every decision. Absolutely, Patti, I really respect all of the work you’re doing for schools and our learners. And thank you for being a guest today.

Patti Hearn 26:51
Thank you so much. It was great to talk with you.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:02
Patti is truly that school leader. She shines in a field of strong leaders here in the Northwest. I was so appreciative the summer before I opened my micro school that she was a happy and willing resource for me. Finding mission driven leaders who are successfully running schools aligned with their values has been so powerful for me. I appreciate Patti’s emphasis on belonging. We all agree that every child deserves to feel safe and learn. The two part formula Patti mentions sounds simple, but that does not make it easy. every learner needs a trusted adult, and a little bit of care. What can each of us do right now. If you’re a parent, or aunt or neighbor, who are the youth you come in contact with. And who among them, can you take a little time and check in with get to know a little better, you can be that non judgmental, trusted adults. And you can forge that relationship by creating little pockets of care.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 28:24
When you come in contact with that youth. It’s surprising the simple interactions that can have a profound effect on another. Please don’t underestimate what your love and care can mean to one of our precious youth. Patty’s insights were so thorough and complete that there is only one other part I want to unpack. And that was her magic wand. I love how she took having a magic wand and the ability to make one Supreme Court decision and stretched it. She changed it up in a way that I think aligns with what our country’s founders wanted. as imperfect as the Constitution may have been since it was made by humans. I really believe that the Constitution was forged, believing that all humans deserve the same rights and opportunities and chance to be happy.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 29:28
Right now there’s a lot of focus on entitlement and white privilege. I know I’m regularly reminding myself of the blessings I have, through no particular hard work of my own. And I’m grateful and I really want to make sure I’m paying it forward. Wouldn’t it be nice for every child to be able to grow up with a roof over their head food, access to medical care. And as Karen Couser my lawyer friend said in a recent interview The right to literacy. Build on to that Patti’s emphasis. I’d love for every child to have access to literacy, a caring adult, and that little bit of care that can go such a long way. What steps can you take today in the life of a specific youth, go out and be that difference. And, as always, thank you for being a part of the education evolution.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:42
If you are finding yourself thinking, I need to do this in my school. Let’s talk about it. I consult and also have a book TEDx talk an online course to support starting learner driven schools and programs. My goal is to help schools and individuals find new innovative solutions to reaching every student. Let’s create an action plan together, visit to book a call and let’s get started. Education evolution listeners, you are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen, heard, valued and thriving. We need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. I’d be so grateful if you’d head over to your podcast app to give a great rating and review if you found this episode valuable. Don’t wait. Please do it right now. Before you forget. I really appreciate it. Thank you listeners. Signing off. This is Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.

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We all want what’s best for our learners, but oftentimes biases get in the way of having productive conversations about what learning should look like in the classroom. Instead, we need to have evidence- and research-based conversations that support what truly works...

Early Life Nutrition is Key to Wellness with Cynthia Jackson

Hopefully we all know the importance of nutrition early in life, but not enough schools offer nutrition education. And since children often do what their parents do, adults’ poor food choices get passed down generation after generation. This week on the podcast, I’m...

Latest Blog Posts

Why Isn’t Educational Change Happening?

School change is so much harder than I thought! When I did my doctoral research on school innovation and created a hands-on learning school-within-a-school in the 90s, I had no idea that I’d spend the next few decades making tiny changes. Changes that often...

Instilling a Practice of Gratitude in Uncertain Times

Thanksgiving looks different this year. Traditions are being shattered in 2020 and new realities are emerging. Thanksgiving is no exception. After Canada’s Thanksgiving in October, COVID statistics jumped, reminding us that, sadly, the pandemic isn’t taking a break...

Building Interdisciplinary Learning into Traditional Classrooms

A traditional classroom setting is just that...traditional. Teachers must teach specific subjects for a required amount of time, often using prescribed curriculum materials that may be a decade old. There’s little consideration for the individual learner--their...

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