When we acknowledge something, it becomes the gift of knowledge for someone else. In the classroom, this usually plays out as assessment. We acknowledge what students know or don't know or we acknowledge how students are behaving or misbehaving. In this case, another word for acknowledgement is assessment. Through assessment we give ourselves and our students the gift of knowledge.

Recently I was in an assessment academy, and in their definition an assessment should inspire hope. This resonated with me like a mallet hitting a gong. It reverberated through my soul. I have not had the experience that assessment has inspired hope. In this revelation I realized that we (the big society we) aren't looking at knowledge as acknowledgement. When we acknowledge what students don't know, we aren't giving them the knowledge of what they do know. And if we spend a majority of our time acknowledging their intellectual ability, we aren't acknowledging the things that make them human - their capacity for love and growth and joy. We haven't given our students the gift of knowledge of what makes them whole.

I'm going to go for the gold here and say that we probably aren't assessing ourselves or others in our lives in a way that inspires hope either. I know I don't acknowledge myself for the love that I put into my work, nor do I do a great job of acknowledging my daughters or my teammates or my friends. I don't give the gift of knowledge to these humans that make my life fabulous and joyful.

Acknowledgement doesn't have to be all sunshine and kittens and rainbows. It could be acknowledging a failure with an emphasis on how to get better next time. I could say to my daughter, "Sorry you are grounded because you threw your i-Pad at me. I know that you were upset and we can work together to make sure this doesn't happen again." Now she has the knowledge of my support and love, and she has hope for the next time she's faced with anger.

Just for fun this month, give the gift of knowledge to yourself and to others. Add a square to your to-do list that is "build knowledge by acknowledging." Physically write down these acknowledgements - even the ones to yourself - so that people can tangibly hold knowledge and hope in their hands.

I acknowledge this community for the passion and excitement it builds for education. Your ability to listen to my ideas and hold space for them in your heart fills me with hope.



All the LOVE to our 1st Vanguardian of the Flame!

Annie Mitchell

  • Vanguard Emeritus Cohort I
  • Economics Teacher at Bendwood

Vanguardian of the Flame is a new annual honor that is bestowed upon an Emeritus fellow that has exemplified the Vanguard ways of being a green dot, sharing their learning and practice, and leading themselves and others. The name Vanguardian was created penned by Robert Dantzler, Cohort IV fellow and we are very grateful to him for sharing this term with this community.

Congratulations to Annie Mitchell for leading the way in guarding the flame that is Vanguard!

Happy Birthday!

1 - Jeanette Choy

4 - Josephine Stringer

7 - Annie Mitchell

25 - Romie Jimenez - Garcia

Congratulations to these fellows for completing the Shift Series! We are so proud of them and their commitment to be self lead and putting their attention on what they are committed to! If you see them, give them a high five and ask them what they are shifting.

Annie Mitchell

Amy Root

Laurie Guerra

Sara Herzog

Lucia Flores

Baily Dizdar

Seda Dawson

Jennifer Roberts (JR)

Gail Dunn

EdCamp Spring Branch Success!

Thank you to everyone that participated on a rainy and cold Saturday morning! Great conversations and connections were made. Mark your calendar with the next EdCamp SB in January 2021.

Spring Book Study

Innovate Inside the Box by George Couros with Katie Novak

The book study kicks off February 1 and 38 fellows have signed up to participate! Huge thank you to Nichole Sala for being game for taking the lead and creating a new way for this community to engage with each other!

Mark Your Vanguard Calendars!

Thank you Rosie Garza-Lopez, Cohort V fellow for being a green dot for the Vanguard community by creating this challenge! Take care of yourself this month and inspire others to do the same by sharing selfies of your self being nice to yourself! Tag your tweets with #VanSelfLoveSelfies.

NEW Vanlearning Online Series - Show UP!

Session 1/4 - Thursday, February 27; 8:30-9:10 pm

Session 2/4 -Thursday, March 5; 8:30-9:10 pm

Session 3/4 -Thursday, March 12; 8:30-9:10 pm

Session 4/4 - Thursday, March 26; 8:30-9:10 pm

Click here to register.

The Shift series is a required pre-requisite for this series.

Vanguard Virtual Community Circles

Time and distance of the 2 biggest barriers to the work of the Vanguard Fellowship! To overcome these barriers we are now hosting 30 minute share and listen conversations conducted via video chat. There will be 2 sessions hosted on each of the days listed below to accommodate schedules. To protect the virtual room space, the links and session passwords will be sent via email. You can attend one or both... it is up to you. The benefit of attending both is that you may be able to connect with different people each time. We are very excited about his new offering! We hope you find it convenient and meaningful to your learning journey as a Vanguard Fellow.

  • October 24 - 4 pm or 7 pm Complete:)
  • November 14 - 4 pm or 7 pm Complete:)
  • December 12 - 7 pm only Complete:)
  • February 20 - 4 pm or 8:30 pm
  • March 26 - 4 pm or 8:30 pm
  • April 16 - 4 pm or 8:30 pm

Twitter Chats

We will continue the great interaction, connection, and conversation with our community Twitter chats. Join in on the Vanguard Twitter chat fun at #sbvanchat at the following dates and times!


October 28, 7-8 p.m. Complete:)

    • Topic: Authentic Learning Experiences - Why, How, and What
    • Moderators - Melanie Marshall & Maria Luna

January 20, 7-8 p.m. Complete:)

    • Topic: I'm Vanguard. Now what?
    • Moderator: Gail Dunn

April 20, 7-8 p.m.

    • Topic: TBD
    • Moderators: Jeanette Choy & Sarah Chu

Future Vanguard Social Events

"Don't Let the Door Hit Ya" Party!

When & Where: Thursday, May 21 at 4:30 pm; Location: Buffalo Wild Wings - 9435 Katy Freeway