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The Learning Studio

John Holland

June 22, 2016

Little Big: On Leaving Home as a Teacher


I felt like Alice in Wonderland when she ate the cake that made her grow. It had been 9 years since I had been in that school and I expected it to be much larger. It was so strange because I would expect this to happen if I were a child but, as an adult I was dumbfounded. How could I be bigger than I was? I can only guess that, at 24 years-old, I felt small when I first started teaching. Now, I am 45, and tomorrow I will walk out of the school again, perhaps for the last time. I feel like I am leaving home.

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John Holland

January 18, 2016

Relationship: The Stealth Reform


Our schools were not built to address poverty as it stands today. In my city the rate of child poverty in the 1940s-1950s was closer to 20% than the 47% of functional poverty Black and Latino children face in Richmond, Virginia in 2016. Welfare reform of the early 2000s created a system where parents aren’t fully supported unless they are working. However, the jobs for which many parents are qualified do not increase their income enough to get them off of welfare. This combined with the numerous challenges of living in poverty create a situation that seems inescapable. This is where Communities in Schools comes in and how our schools can be transformed. Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nation's most successful dropout prevention organization serving at-risk youth in America. It is using a stealth approach to school reform that may just change the game by asking a simple question, “What if our schools focused more on relationships?”

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