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What Does it Take to Improve The Academic Performance and Social/Emotional Well-Being of Diverse Student Populations?

I am so humbled to be able to serve as keynote speaker for the national conference hosted by the America Camp Association. The conference will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. I will deliver my keynote on February 20, 2019.

In preparation for this event, and in alignment with what I believe should be a national focus for our country, I can’t help but to think about one of my favorite quotes written by William Bracey and it is: We know where the problems exist, we know where the resources are needed, the question is to what extent do we possess the political will to act on what we know?

I would like to give compliments to national leadership at the American Camp Association. In my estimation, they serve as examples of “political will” in action. Recognizing their goal to equip their staff with the cultural competencies needed to ensure that campers have great experiences, they have sought to keep conversation of this nature at the forefront of discussion.

My greatest hope in writing this blog is that you will be inspired to “do something different with what you know.” As you know, we are all working to produce high performing, socially and emotionally sound students. In order to do so effectively the need exists for us to create culturally responsive learning environments in the school, and in the case of my recently published article; the camp setting. I believe that you will develop a very deep appreciation for the information stated in the article whether you are a school district superintendent, board of education member, community member, teacher, parent, camp director or counselor.

To set the stage for what is to come next, my plans for this blog series is to address, on a weekly basis, various aspects of the article. From time to time I will invite guest bloggers to share their thoughts and expertise as it relates to each topic. So… let’s get started. Happy reading!!!

Sonya Whitaker

website: sonya
Facebook: Dr Sonya Whitaker
Twitter: drsonyawhitaker@sonyawhitaker

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Educators! How bad do you want it?

As we work toward our goal of preparing our students for success in school, and most importantly in life, it has become imperative that we continue to grow intellectually. It is my belief that this goal is best accomplished when we combine our intelligences and share our professional experiences with educators that have similar missions to ours. This will become even more important as we continue to be faced with the fact that more pressure has been put on us to produce results than ever before in the history of public education.

As educators we are now being asked to do more with less and yet many of us work hard to maintain the same level of energy and enthusiasm for the profession that we had when we first
began this journey. Most recently, after reflecting with a non-educator about the high level of unfunded mandates educators are asked to adhere to on a daily basis, I was asked, “how do you
remain excited about the work that you do?” My response was and still is, I remain motivated by focusing on the lasting impact my work (and essentially your work) has on the lives of precious

They are counting on us to fight the good fight on their behalf so we can’t get tired, we can’t give up. We can’t quit. To further elaborate on my point, I can’t help but to reflect on the recent accident that Kevin Ware experienced during the final minutes, of the first half of the NCAA basketball tournament. Without recalling the painful details, I have found myself amazed by what he shared with his teammates while in a great deal of pain.

It is my understanding that it is during the moment that his injury was so intense that people could not even bear to see it, that he called his team over and said….”win the game…win the game.” All in all, I guess what I am suggesting is that this work that we are committed to doing on behalf of children is not and will not ever be easy.

At times our tasks may even seem too difficult to accomplish. However, as school leaders and teachers, we have to dig deep and stay focused.

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Welcome to Sonya Whitaker’s Blog


I would like to share that I am thrilled to unveil My New Website to you!! This website has been developed with you in mind. My goal is to remain in close contact with you as we grow to
develop a better understanding about how to best meet the needs of our diverse population of students.

In the past, very often after I have interacted with educators in a particular district, I have received feedback from educators indicating that they wanted to “keep our lines of communication
open and thoughts flowing” long after the workshop or keynote presentation has ended. My website serves as a direct response to that request. Please consider this website interactive. From
time to time I will post information relevant to various different research articles and books that currently inform my thinking. After doing so, I will invite you to share your expertise by
responding to the text. I am so looking forward to our experience.

Thank you very much for your interest in Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading. I am very much excited about the opportunity to blog with you as we continue to develop the cultural
competencies needed to ensure high levels of learning for all students. I believe that by remaining in constant communication regarding the strategies that we are implementing at the
classroom, school and district level, we will be able to create a data base of information specific to “what works for our students.” By blogging on this site with me and other educators you will have direct access to a rich data base of information and that’s powerful!

This blog site has been created for one reason in particular. I felt that it was necessary for those of us that are serious about improving student learning to be able to come together and learn from one another. This is so exciting! My only request is that we remain as positive as possible throughout the blogging process. In other words, as opposed to admiring problems, we will focus mainly on recommending solutions. This blog site is a great place to “let down our guard” and get comfortable with asking for suggestions and providing recommendations.

Here we go!!!! I have been anxious to hear from you. Let’s start out by having you share with me your thoughts about the presentation that I just conducted on your behalf.