A team of us from my school arrived in Chicago on Sunday afternoon for the first annual No Excuses University Conference. we became a No Excuses school this year and this conference is a gathering of No Excuses schools throughout the nation. During the flight, I tried desperately to write my first draft of entry 1 for my National Boards. I got through about an hour of typing with my elbows pinned to my sides and my laptop skewed at an unnatural angle to accommodate the lowered setback of the guy in front of me. I'm still avoiding that entry. The question I'm stuck on wants me to describe how I will use my student's writing samples to plan future instruction. I feel like I answered that question already in a previous section, so the writing of it makes me feel like I am doing something wrong. Can it be that repetitive?
The conference started yesterday and immediately, I was crying. Logan Smalley was our first keynote speaker. About five years ago, he made a documentary about him and his friends taking their friend, Darius, on a road trip across the country to get his wheelchair decked out in MTV's Pimp My Ride. Darius has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, for which there is no cure and the life expectancy is usually late teens or early twenties. Their story is inspirational and I was struck with the power of changing just one person's life. Best part is, they gave all of us copies of movie, so I'm bringing it back! Check out their work at www.dariusgoeswest.org.
The rest of day was filled with sessions where I learned about community building, goal work instead of homework and the systems of a middle school in Texas. I still need time to process all the information, but it all looks promising.
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