Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bettendorf Middle School Students Ready To Change The World!

I have big news! I mean BIG news.

This might be the biggest project undertaking I have ever been part of and I cannot remember a time I have ever been so excited.

On Tuesday, September 3rd our 8th grade students will have the pleasure to work with one of the greatest educators game changers - Angela Maiers

We are bringing Angela Maiers to our school system to kick off what is going to be one amazing project. The students are going to answer the question, "What breaks your heart?" Not only will the students be answering this question, but they will begin to come up with a solution to this issue that they hold dear to their hearts.

This is part of her cause, Choose2Matter. Last year we had students go through this project on a much smaller scale. This year we will be moving this to a massive first semester project where students will identify an issue in our community, develop an action plan, and attempt to put the action plan into action. Our goal is to give back to the community while helping students discover more about themselves and the community.

I speak daily about passion and living a life that speaks to what we hold dear to our heart. I feel blessed and honored to have connected with Angela and am even more excited to have her come to our school, in person, to reach out to our students. This is personally one of the biggest moments in my education career. I know that this will lead to even bigger moments when students realize their voices CAN be heard and they DO MATTER!

As we work furiously to pull this day of learning off to jump start a large semester project, I cannot help but give praise and thanks to my administration, teachers, parent link organization, and everyone involved in our building to help make this happen. The credit goes to our administrators here at Bettendorf Middle School for allowing us to take this on and to help come up with necessary funds, materials, and logistics. Lisa Reid and Jayme Olson have been very supportive in allowing us to take this project on and without their help and support this would never work. Our high school administrator Jimmy Casas has opened up the high school to allow a great learning environment for the students while our middle school is in the process of expanding and upgrading. The teachers of 8H1 and 8H2 have been awesome in allowing me to meet with them, work with their ideas, and willingness to change their approach to teaching as we merge this project into the curriculum and teaching of language arts and social studies. The rest of the teachers for being flexible enough to adapt to changes in schedule and ideas as we work to make this project successful. Our very own Parent Link has been awesome in helping make sure we have what we need to get things started as we work on grants and further funding and resources. In the end this has been a Bettendorf School District family project. Many other educators and building staff are excited as well and ready to see what develops.

This is what it is all about. We are seeing and feeling the power of our school district. People are invested even if not directly connected to the project..........yet! I feel empowered by this and it has not even started yet! The kids are the power source and once we get them going I can only imagine where they take us.

The unknown can be daunting. I am sure we will make mistakes, but as long as we learn and stay connected to one another and cause, then this is what education is all about.

In the end I want to say Thank You! Thank You before it starts because much work has gone into this quickly and I am ready to change the world!

Please follow our journey. I will be sharing here on this blog as well as developing a website directly connected to this project where teachers and students will be sharing out the journey.

The hashtags that we will be using will be #choose2matter and #bettpassion so please follow along on Twitter and Instagram as things develop.

Last, but not least, we would love to hear from you. If you could send a message via an social media outlet of your choice wishing the students good luck, message of motivation, etc. we would love to share this with them on Tuesday, September 3rd to let them know the world is already watching them. The more the merrier so please spread the word and I will collect all the messages. Just use the hashtags above or leave a comment here or email me at

Here is an article just published by Angela in the Huffington Post -

Here are some links to things we developed last year at the end of the school year.

Passion Is Key To Education (this blog post has links to all other links on this topic)

Here are some links of the Choose2Matter movement taking place

Here is a good summary of Choose2Matter-there are several slide decks below with images and examples

Here are some of the passion/compassion projects

And BEST example--students actually changing the word:

Their perspective of what that means: Students created this!!

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