California Educator

March 2017

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In "Embracing the Gender Spectrum" ( p a g e 2 0 ) , s e v e ra l C TA m e m b e r s t e l l reporter Sherr y Posnick-Goodwin that children are expressing their authentic selves at earlier ages. "Kids are way ahead of us when it comes to comfort around gen- der diversity," agrees Joel Baum of Gender Spectrum, which offers professional devel- opment about gender-diverse students to school employees. While our story focuses on transgender youth, supporting all students on the gen- der spectrum — meaning the full range of gender identities and expressions — allows educators and schools to build safe and accepting environments that help all children succeed. It also liberates students from the constraints placed on them by traditional gender norms. What does that look like? Junior high school teacher Dawn Davis doesn't ask stu- dents about gender or separate them into boys and girls when lining up or choosing teams. Educator Lucia Lemieux created a workshop for staff at her high school about gender-diverse lingo, the law, and compas- sion. "I treat all my students with honesty and empathy," Lemieux says. "When they feel comfortable, they do well." Authenticity of a different sort has been in the spotlight lately : fake news, its pro- liferation, and the distressing number of people, including students, who cannot distinguish fact from fiction. Our stor y "A Search for Truth" (page 34) looks at educators who are helping students under- stand the importance of critical thinking, credibility and fact-checking when it comes to sorting truth from falsehoods. With the Internet and social media's often indiscriminate dissemination of news and information, learning to recognize what is real and true is crucial to becom- ing an informed, discerning citizen. As high school journalism teacher Mitch Ziegler says, "Teaching students how to evaluate information is the most important reading skill we can give them." Teaching students how to save lives is valuable in a different way, as the educators behind the K-CORPS program at Kelseyville High School know. "To the Rescue" (page 16) describes this unique program, possibly the only one of its kind in the nation, where juniors and seniors learn how to track and assist persons lost in wilderness or hurt in disasters. Not surprisingly, instructors say that K-CORPS develops students' leader- ship skills and confidence. Educators' leadership skills are at the h e a r t of o u r e x c e r p t f r o m C a p t u r i n g the Spark: Inspired Teaching, Thriving Schools, a new book by David B. Cohen (page 39). The excerpt details how mem- bers of the Fresno Teachers Association, the San Juan Teachers Association and the Fortuna Union High School Teachers Asso- ciation are leading the drive to improve schools and teaching, ensure professional growth for colleagues, and create innova- tive new programs. T h e c o r e o f w h a t t h e s e a n d o t h e r e d u c a t o r s t e a c h a n d s t a n d f o r i s authenticity — searching for and teach- ing truth, being true to themselves and t o o t h e r s , a n d e n c o u r a g i n g s t u d e n t s t o d o t h e s a m e . A s J o h n F. K e n n e d y once said, " The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dis- semination of truth." Educators are real leaders and beacons of truth . Katharine Fong E D I T O R I N C H I E F Authenticity, in All Its Forms Teachers of the Year: Any Questions? At CTA State Council's meeting in March, I'll be lucky enough to meet up with several of the 2017 California Teachers of the Year, including Jenny Chien Ander- son, Shaun S. Bunn, Isela Lieber and Corrie Traynor. (See earlier coverage at Have a question for these outstanding educators? Send it to with your name and chapter, and I'll make sure to get an answer — possibly published in the Educator. 7 March 2017 Transgender student Lilly speaks with our reporter for the story on page 20.

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