Our school is 2 hands old! This Spring we will have a number of opportunities to celebrate City Neighbors Hamilton's birthday (stay tuned!). This is a great time to think about what CNH means to you and how you can support it in that way. What might your birthday gift be to the school? How can you help it grow into the next year confidently and with pride? To me, CNH means family to me -- a family that supports, pushes, disagrees, and celebrates each other. The definition of the word "family" has had many different meanings throughout my lifetime. As [...]
About Shyla RaoThis author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Shyla Rao has created 21 blog entries.
"I Am More Than You Think You See" Yesterday, I had brunch with one of my mentors. We discussed how we all think we see others and how our own histories and experiences impact our perceptions of what we see. This conversation reminded me of my personal campaign, "Today You Art Beautiful." In an earlier blog post last year, I described this campaign, inspired by brain research, that suggests when you are happy, your body releases hormones that promote happiness and inhibit unhappiness, meaning that happiness breeds more happiness! With that, I wanted to remind others that they are beautiful today. It [...]
Believing Punxsutawney Phil Every year, we ask an oversized rodent to predict the end of winter. And, every year, we all talk about it in the news, around water coolers at work, and with our friends. For the past 130+ years, North Americans have looked to Phil for answers. What's funny is that Punxsutawney Phil has only been correct 40% of the time in those 130+ years. It literally is more accurate to flip a coin! So, why do we continue this tradition? When winter feels long, the days feel short, and the sunshine feels limited, it somehow feels right to [...]
Finding Our Own Special Recipe of Perfection I often binge-watch the show, "The World's Most Extraordinary Homes" on Netflix. I find it amazing the ways in which people interpret what it means to be "home." Some people desire windows that frame the landscape from the inside while others want to live where the outside comes in. Some people want a large bedroom with lots of light while others prefer the most intimate of spaces with room for a mattress that folds into the wall. Each family has a different definition of perfection for themselves. The show makes me think about learning [...]
This weekend I was struck by the significance of our national holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King's work as Americans marched in Washington expressing their beliefs and as people gazed into night's sky to spot a blood moon sailing high above in the sky. It's only a paper moon Sailing over a cardboard sea But it wouldn't be make believe If you believed in me Ella Fitzgerald's voice sang "It's Only a Paper Moon" in my ears all weekend. Dr. Martin Luther King believed that the future could be better than the present and that he had the power to make [...]
The New Year is a great time to see ourselves in our best light. We can forget about the regrets of the previous year and envision a year filled with all of the right decisions. What will I commit to for the year? 364 days from now, what do I want to remember about this year? Something that I have always found beautiful about teaching is that every day feels like a New Year’s Day to me. Each morning is ripe with the possibilities of a new day and the potential for great learning. I live by the motto at the [...]
Reflections as we Embark Upon a New Year In this last school week of 2018, I have been reflecting upon the fall semester. What a fall we’ve had! We welcomed new teaching fellows and teachers who embody student-centered teaching and have had such a dynamic impact on each teaching team. We have engaged in vibrant new arts programming with two full-time arts teachers and new curricula that prepared us for an amazing Trimester One Arts Showcase. We are eagerly anticipating the 8th grade trip to Puerto Rico and exciting fieldwork in all grade levels in Baltimore, DC, and New York [...]
Are you fully present with your loved ones? On Sunday, I had the privilege of spending the afternoon with a group of adults and children at CNH who were fully present with one another, whether it was their child or someone else's. One of the beautiful things about CNH is that we are more than a school - we are a family. On days like the Family Work Day at the school on Sunday afternoon, you could see children helping their parents, helping other people's parents, and parents working together like old friends, even if they had just met. Witnessing [...]
The three-day week last week was jam-packed with greatness! Third grade conducted fieldwork at Frank's restaurant, as they are learning about what people eat around the world. Mr. Smith's 8th Grade Advisory cooked a pancake and sausage breakfast for 1st Grade because they donated the most Thanksgiving foods for families. Ms. Mencer's 7th Grade Advisory hosted the Fall Festival to raise money for gifts for kids who are awaiting medical treatment. 8th Grade students, De'Quan and Seamus, organized and hosted a Faculty-Student flag football game as our own unofficial Turkey Bowl. So much greatness happening in our school! We all left [...]
Week 12 One evening, when I lived in New York City, I was sitting on the 1 train heading home after meeting up with friends after work on Friday evening. Fridays were usually a night I didn't go anywhere after a week of teaching; they were usually used to collapse and recuperate! This had been a particularly challenging week -- one of those weeks when you question your effectiveness as an educator. So there I sat, eyes half closed, on the expressway uptown, when a man approached me. "Um, excuse me," he said. With a long blink and hesitant breath, I [...]