We thank you. We appreciate you. And because of the three of you all of this was able to come to fruition. Countless hours, energy, and brain power.
This webpage does not even begin to display the magnitude of thanks we all have for you, but it’s a start.
From Heidi’s tattoos to Noah’s succulents to Jeromes theatrical nature. I’m glad I have been and continue to be involved in something larger than myself to help FGLI students. It really comes down to timing and reconnecting with Jerome to see Ben Williams continues to be an event in my mind that changed my trajectory. Working with you all this summer alone has solidified this is where I am supposed to be. So thank you all and I can’t wait to see what we all come up with next!
Heidi, Jerome, & Noah:
Where do I begin?
Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to participate in the Pivotal Network this summer. I was really in a bad place for much of the school year and your inclusion of me in this program helped reinvigorate me. I am so grateful that you care so much about the students at Georgetown that you’ve created a program to appreciate, value, encourage, and inspire their teachers.
This is a program like none other. It has been so encouraging to be surrounded by educators who operate like me. People who care about their students and give their all to them every day. It can be daunting to be around such an incredible group of educators, but I have felt welcomed and seen during every sprint. If there is anything that you ever need from you, consider it already done.
Forever in your debt,
Here is the email in my inbox today from my student, M: “I may be a few months too early, but I’ve been thinking about colleges a lot lately. I’ve narrowed my decisions down to 3 schools with one having a lot more weight for me than the others. The school that I would really like to go to is Cornell, but my biggest concern is cost. Do you think it would be possible for me to get enough scholarships to actually go or is that just not realistic for me?” I still don’t know the exactly how to answer M, but I have found a group of allies in the Pivotal Network who will help me to support this student’s journey. I appreciate all of the work that you have put into the past few months because I know that ultimately, you are trying to provide M with the same opportunities as everyone else. The people in this world who earn a place in my heart are those like you who work tirelessly to open doors for every student. Thanks you, from myself and from M.
Dear Heidi, Noah, and Jerome,
The pivotal network has been a completely unexpected bright spot in what has otherwise been a very challenging time to be an educator and person generally. Thank you for all the time you have put in to well structured and innovative approaches to teamwork and collaboration towards a meaningful goal. It is rare that someone outside of the classroom confers the care and respect towards teachers that you do. It’s also been re-energizing to talk with new, diverse and intelligent people about this work. I think the pivotal network is my 7-year luck for my re-entry into the classroom this year.
Each of you brings a common set of values, authentic curiosity, and tangible care to this work as well as your own individual strengths and skill sets. I feel honored to be part of this team. Thank you so much for all you have done and not being afraid to embark on something new.
I want to express my sincere appreciation for the work you all have done for us and with us during the design sprints for The Pivotal Network. The work you have done to build our community in a virtual space should be commended as it feels like we have known and worked with each other for much longer than we actually have. I always look forward to signing in and participating in the work and conversations of the day and getting a chance to work with my fellow educators and yourselves. I appreciate the support and feedback you have provided us your willingness to always listen. Thank you.
Heidi, Jerome, and Noah:
What an amazing experience you created this summer! I feel blessed to have played a small part of this summer’s design group facilitated by such an amazing team. In the midst of some very dark times, you were a source of joy and light. Thank you for the encouragement and respect you extended to the pivotal educators. Your efforts are a source of hope, which is essential for success in education.
All my best,
I want to thank each of you for attending to us as teachers. I know you did not plan any of this for a pandemic, but in a way your efforts have made this time less traumatic and frustrating, and a perfect way to help us know how to go on. By having us sprint through this covidtime, you have reminded us how we need to find others who share our care for this world, and the young people who find themselves thrown into it, and how we in our best selves are responsible to each. I know each of you have stretched your minds and hearts with us, and that needs to be acknowledged as what teacher leadership looks like, and I am grateful to have shared theses moments with you all.
Heidi, Jerome, and Noah, when I would write recommendations for my students I would pour my heart into it because I believe that a good college education can be life-changing. But for so long, it felt as if I was shouting into a void.
Then one day, Jerome’s voice answered back. There is LIFE out there! Someone heard my shouting.
To the three of you, you have been the consummate professionals. You are organized, prepared, open-minded, innovative, and genuine in your passion for justice. I have found my time with you to be the highlight of 2020 (I know the competition wasn’t stiff this year, but even on a good year you would make the top two.) I have never felt so valued as a professional.
Heidi, you feel injustice to your core, but what makes you so special is your ability to see it as a call to action. Thank you for challenging injustice and complacency. Thank you for seeing all the possibilities in people that most see as ordinary–high school teachers. Thank you for your humor and your spark. I deeply enjoyed working with you and getting to know you.
Jerome, I have never felt so affirmed in an interview! The first time we talked I was immediately impressed with how present you were and how you could make people feel so valued with your intent listening. You naturally make everyone feel included and welcome. You have been such a wonderful leader and “glue” for our group. I am beyond impressed with your leadership as a facilitator and your role as our digital visionary with the Mighty Networks. It has been a joy to work with you.
Noah, what an agile mind you have! I have admired how you can listen to many voices and ideas and then deftly distill the essence of our discussion. Your comments were always incisive and thought-provoking, and your kindness and patience is so abundant it that filled the Zoom room making everyone feel comfortable with taking risks and dreaming big. I always looked forward to working with you because I wanted to get your feedback and ideas.
It’s been a journey! I’m supremely pleased to be a part of this team. I can’t say enough how much the group has made me reflect and grow in my thinking about our profession. It’s no mean feat to put up with a bunch of different personalities, scattered across the nation. Yet, you pulled it off with grace and thoughtfulness. Clearly this wouldn’t have happened without the three of you. You represent us, and Georgetown, in a admirable way. A million thank yous!
Dear Heidi, Jerome and Noah,
When my kids were little and they’d go crazy, I would recite a line from Yeats’ poem “”The Second Coming””: “”things fall apart, the center cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”” And now, this time. But the center is holding. You are holding it. You have been holding it for me in this community that you have created. Your combined charisma, intelligence, humility and devotion remind me that there is goodness in the world. Thank you.
I’ve included “”Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper”” by Martin Espada, one of my favorite poets I think it connects to your work, our work, somehow.
Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper
BY MARTÍN ESPADA
At sixteen, I worked after high school hours
at a printing plant
that manufactured legal pads:
stacked seven feet high
as I slipped cardboard
between the pages,
then brushed red glue
up and down the stack.
No gloves: fingertips required
for the perfection of paper,
smoothing the exact rectangle.
Sluggish by 9 PM, the hands
would slide along suddenly sharp paper,
and gather slits thinner than the crevices
of the skin, hidden.
Then the glue would sting,
till both palms burned
at the punchclock.
Ten years later, in law school,
I knew that every legal pad
was glued with the sting of hidden cuts,
that every open lawbook
was a pair of hands
upturned and burning.
Thank you for all you’ve done to support an amazing group of educators! Both meetings I’ve attended have been fabulous. Well done!
You three have made my summer fun! Education has been a part of my life since I started kindergarten sooooo many years ago. When I retired, I thought I would be searching for a way to stay connected and relevant. When Jerome called, the first thing I told him is that I probably didn’t fit the profile you were looking for since I was retired, but he said he wanted to talk anyway. Then he wanted to talk again. And then you asked me to be a part of the Pivotal Educators. Relevance found me.
Noah, your smile and positive feedback have made every meeting a pleasure. Heidi, your heart and kindness have shown us all what a Pivotal Educator is. And Jerome, since our first conversation, you have made me feel as if I did some things right during my career. You all have made me a better person and, though I have left the classroom, a better teacher.
Thank you all for including me in this fantastic and needed endeavor. I can’t tell you how important you all are to me.
Heidi, Jerome, and Noah,
Thank you for creating this experience. I was unsure what exactly I was getting into — but the first email caught my attention and I figured “why not?” After all, I was deep in remote learning and looking for a positive outlet and connection. I almost changed my mind when the second step was a Zoom interview — talking on Zoom with people I had never met before shifted my excitement to anxiety, but you quickly put me at ease, made me feel welcome, and created a charge for the work ahead.
The work you have done and the way you have created and supported this community is exceptional. Doing this with a group of teachers who have never met, across Zoom is impressive on its own, but you also achieved this during an unprecedented time. I have often found myself feeling anxious or overwhelmed by the state of our country these past month, but the Pivotal Network was an outlet for conversations that left me feeling hopeful and gave me perspective. I find myself missing the conversations in the off weeks. You have truly created a home and front porch!
So often, the PD that happens in my school has been focused on minutia and logistics. The conversations I’ve had this summer have changed my perspective on what PD can and should be. It is student centered and looks to change equity and access to higher education. You are creating a network that has the potential to impact the lives of so many students and the work you’ve done is inspiring!
Thank you for the opportunity and for the hard work you have done.
I never thought I would learn and grow so much from a virtual PD experience, but you have designed something so amazing that I’m thrilled I responded to your email back in April. Thank you!
Dear Heidi, Jerome, and Noah,
Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to the Design Group over these past five months. From the very first email from Heidi, to this last sprint, it is evident that everything you do has educators and students at the forefront of your decision making. I cannot express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to work with you all this spring and summer.
From the start, you all have made me feel valued and important as an educator. So often, teachers are their own worst critics. We are constantly adjusting our practice to improve and the to-do list seemingly never ends. It is easy to feel hopeless or ineffective on long days at school, especially when you see how many systems do not support all of our students. However, working with your team has reminded me that I am valuable and that what I do each day matters for my students. Even your initial contact was thoughtful and immediately set the tone for the rest of my work with your team. Heidi’s original email was actually so kind and thoughtful that I thought it was fake when I first read it! During my first meeting with Jerome, I felt listened to and respected and felt comfortable sharing my experiences. When it came time for our meetings as a large group and we met Noah, I felt even more valued. The way in which Noah speaks about his work and asks questions during design sprints is something I admire.
Teaching can be hard because teacher voices are not often centered in discussions and decisions that impact us. However, your team has listened to and supported the Design Group in so many ways. Listening to us, asking for our input, and creating this community has been the highlight of my year and has given me a renewed sense of purpose and mission in my job as an educator. I cannot tell you how much I looked forward to our meetings together each week. During a time when school was so stressful, I always knew that our meetings would be fun, productive, and grounding for me.
Thank you again for this opportunity professionally but also for the opportunity to get to know you and your work so well. I am eternally grateful for your guidance and support!
“Dear Heidi, Jerome, & Noah
I am so grateful to be a part of a Network where things are truly Pivotal, changing the course and/or direction of education. I am sooooo thankful for how you do things well and your great mix of grace, understanding, and listening ear. This combination can be hard, but you have managed to make it look easy. My leadership in the classroom and thr direction of my students will never be the same. Thanks for all you hard work and dedication in leading us. We love you a whole heap and that’s not cheap.
Thank you so much for your skilled leadership through this process. All three of you were kind, dedicated, and helped us refine our thoughts and ideas. I could not imagine this work being successful without the leadership that all three of you displayed. While I do not know how much I contributed, I can say that I learned a tremendous amount from all three of you from tech tools, to online interactions, to really conducting online groups. Right now as I type this I am about to teach my period 7 class and in many ways the Pivotal Network served as a model for this new teaching that many of us were thrown into. Again thank you, and I look forward to continuing to learn from the three of you.
Hi Heidi, Hi Noah. Hi Jerome
Thank you for all you have done with the PN! (Does someone get a prize every time PN is used?)
This has been a wonderful opportunity to meet a great group of people and learn some technology along the way.
Your true passion and emotions that come through every time you talk are a delight to see. You are so positive, and I am thrilled you have had one of my former students and will have another this coming fall.
You always seem so calm and confident. I love your perspectives and your ability to summarize points. I am sure your students will love you this coming fall. Have a great year with them all.
I have to say that you are the reason I joined the network. Your positivity is contagious. I loved our first phone conversation and when I was still wondering if I wanted to join, my wife looked up the PN online to read about it. She watched you in one of the videos and, as the head of the household, insisted that I needed to join this group!
As she occasionally (often?) would listen in the background and sometimes make comments after a group sprint, she always told me how much she enjoyed your perspectives and encouragement. (She would usually say: “who said…..?” and I would respond: “that was Jerome”. …
AND, I learned a new word from you. “Ideate”. I usually tell my students that once I learn a new word, I am walking out of the class and going home. My brain can only hold one new thing a day. However, I am glad I still stayed to the final sprint.
Seriously, thank you so much for allowing me to be 50% of the math representation for the group and thank you for all the energy you bring to the network every time we meet.
Remember, when you are back in school in person and start your PE tour, our school is only a short commute drive from GT. (Once we reopen)
Hope to see you all (in person) when life reboots!