California Educator

December 2014

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Page 9 of 63

"Olive! Olive, the other reindeer!" "Which one?" I asked, mentally running through the list again. The answer prompted peals of merriment that were contagious. I grinned, remembering the book and movie about the dog who wanted to join Santa's reindeer team. I'd been talking to the parents about books, noting that CTA members recom- mend books for all levels of readers four times per year through our California Reads program (page 16). They were somewhat surprised CTA does that. The kids and parents laughed so hard they snorted. I'd been asked to name all of Santa's reindeers, which I recited perfectly, I'm sure, and was informed I'd forgotten one. And I was surprised they were sur- prised, because CTA does good things like that year-round in schools. And since 'tis the season for do-gooders to do good deeds (say that three times fast), I will note that Student CTA members put smiles on the faces of children by delivering 58 Christmas trees and gifts to needy families at Rio Vista Elementary School. For many, those may be the only gifts they receive this year. Donations were coordinated through the SCTA chapter at CSU Fullerton. The one that brings tears to my eyes is what students in Lancaster are doing for a vet paralyzed in Iraq (f acing page). They're building him a "smart house" and raising funds for construction! Our students are amazing that way, don't you think? As you can tell, this issue is full of good news. Enjoy reading about colleagues who teach in "paradise" — otherwise known as Catalina Island (page 36). That they com- mute by boat or helicopter is something else, though. And I love the glowing reviews autistic students in Bakersfield are getting for teaching their peers about solar power (page 46). In this magazine, we're not the only one sharing the good news. Check out how teacher bloggers (page 18) are promoting what's best for schools and best teaching practices. It's easy to be positive when writing about all the good that you do in our schools and our communities. So as we celebrate the season, please take time to celebrate you. Because of you, California's high school graduation rate topped 80 percent. Kudos to you! Our students' reading scores are rising faster than anywhere else in the coun- try. Perhaps kids are getting help reading from the likes of Olive — and Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. Happy holidays! P.S.: Journalism teachers! Showcase your students' good work by participating in the CTA Journalism Contest. Check out the details on page 5. Cynthia Menzel E D I T O R I N C H I E F editor's Note 8

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