Credit to Ed Schipul

The Promise of a New Year

Danielle Brown Current Affairs, Education, Life in the Classroom, Teacher Leadership, Uncategorized

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Recently, I listened to one of my favorite educational podcasts, Kids Deserve It! I love these podcasts because they speak to the positivity, innovation, and solutions for the work that is done by educators, from the building administration to the classroom teacher. This particular episode of Kids Deserve It, focused on preparing for a new year. During this podcast Cori Coburn-Shiflett, the special guest, said something that resonated with me.

“We should celebrate our beginning of the school year, as sincerely as we celebrate the end.”


As we head back to school, we have lots on our minds; the preparation we have done over the summer, the fact that the summer is ending, the factors that will impact our students before we even meet them, and the list goes on. This reminder to celebrate the beginning of the school year was also tied to the idea of a New Year. As we ring in the New Year on January 1st, it’s all about celebration, excited for what’s to come.

Shouldn’t our new year with new students feel the same?

This continued to resonate with me, a few days later when talking to a colleague and she shared how she made a commitment for the year, to build strong relationships with her students. This conversation automatically put me back to the mind frame of celebrating the new year! We often celebrate the New Year with resolutions that may last a month or two, and then we lose the resolve to follow through.

As educators we have to go beyond resolutions and celebrate with commitments.

After hearing both how we should celebrate the new year sincerely and the idea of making a commitment for the year, I decided that’s what I’d do.

My commitment was simple: a commitment to GROWTH. 

Growth in relationships: This year I commit to building and growing relationships with students, parents, peers, colleagues and the community. Commitment to growth in relationships is paramount, because without relationships you have nothing. The relationships built are what impacts my students directly. Relationships will determine how I am received, how students will learn, and what supports I can gain from parents, peers, colleagues, & the community.

Growth as a practitioner: As a Core Advocate, I had an awesome opportunity over the past year to really dive deep into the standards. I have such a clear understanding of the standards that it has transformed the way I teach, interact with curriculum and engage my students in learning. This growth as a practitioner is liberating exciting! Knowing that I have the experiences and knowledge to explain myself as a professional has been paramount.  I want to continue my growth as a practitioner as I better engage students and coworkers, to advocate and make change in instruction.

Growth as a supporter: As I begin to celebrate my new year, I realize the support roles I hold in various capacities & organizations. As I champion National Board candidates or build/sustain the deeper understanding of math standards at my school site, I want to ensure that I am available and dedicated to the task at hand. As I help, I want to empower, providing time and space for others to find that greatness is in them!

Growth as a collaborator: Collaborating ties together my growth in relationships, as a practitioner and as a supporter. Collaborating engages all of the areas that I commit to make growth in. The commitment to listen, share, and listen once more will allow me to be a better advocate for the profession. Through collaboration I have gained experiences, that I wouldn’t experience had I been isolated. In collaborating, I have found my voice, my purpose, and my vision in the world of education, which is to advocate and shine light on the positivity that is found in my profession.  

As we begin a new year, whether, this is your 1st, 8th, or 20th, there are commitments to be made and people counting on us to make them.

What commitment will you make in celebration of your new year?


Danielle Brown

Sierra Vista, Arizona

My name is Danielle Brown, and I am a PROUD, National Board Certified (EC-GEN) public school Kindergarten teacher in Southeast Arizona. I will begin my seventh year teaching, with one year as the arts integration specialist and 6 years as a kindergarten teacher. I have a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and am currently pursuing a Masters in Educational Leadership.
I believe in Board Certification and I support teachers, as a Candidate Support Provider, in their work to achieve Board Certification. I am continuing my journey of teacher leadership from the classroom as a 2016 ASCD Influence Leader, focusing on engaging educators in policy, as well as working as a National Policy Teacher Fellow with Hope Street Group, as well as a new member on the Arizona Teacher Solutions® Team. I love connecting with other educators, staying solutions oriented and growing as a professional.
You can find me on Twitter @TeachDB17, reach out, connect and let's grow together.

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Comments 6

  1. Angelia

    You made your point and ask so eloquently in your story! This reminds me of the blog Donnie posted a few weeks ago and you are both spot on. Each of the 180 days we spend with students are a gift (even the rough ones) and we are lucky to be a part of that time. Thank you for weaving in the podcast and speakers name. I appreciate that our Stories From School AZ blogs always give me something to think about and seek out.

  2. Beth Maloney

    Great motivation to set some goals, my friend! I plan to “talk less, smile more” and really listen to my students. I love to celebrate the beginning of the school year. This year, our PTO set up adorable photo frames and had parents act as paparazzi as the students entered the building. What a celebration it was!

  3. Alaina Adams

    A commitment to growth is exactly what teachers expect from their students, so it’s fitting that our commitments as adults should be the same for one another. Thank you for this timely reminder at the beginning of the school year!

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