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4041 N. Central Ave., Ste. 1200
Phoenix, AZ 85012

602-506-3866

Open Your Heart and Make A Difference

Teachers make a difference in the lives of the students they teach. Coincidentally, those students also make a difference in the lives of the teachers they love. The following story was submitted by a Maricopa teacher about a student connection and and how it changed the lives of those involved.

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Open Your Heart and Make A Difference

One of my kindergartners started the school year in turmoil. In his short 5 years, he had experienced much more than some people experience in a lifetime. We both struggled on a daily basis; him throwing tantrums, me worrying about meeting his needs academically, and how I was going to get through to him. It seemed like both of us spent a lot of time crying - a lot! I just didn't know how WE were going to make it through the next 9 months!

In December, I was called into the office and was told I had to make a choice. My little friend moved out of our attendance area, but his adoptive mother was hoping we would approve him to stay through open enrollment. We could potentially deny the request; an easy choice based on his frequent absences, low academics, and behavior issues. I briefly reflected on the challenges we had been through and that he presented in in my classroom. I knew what I needed to do, and I had no doubt it would be the best decision - I asked to keep him in my class.

The Aspen Institute stated, “Children learn best when we treat them as human beings, with social and emotional as well as academic needs." This little one is a true testament of what can be achieved by opening your heart and making a connection. I am thrilled to say that today was an exciting day, he passed our third quarter benchmarks! We celebrated with a big hug (and a piece of chocolate). He is no longer crying, but I am, because I truly feel I have made a difference in this child's life - and he has made a difference in mine!

Caroline Indelicato

*This is part of our Teacher Connection Series that was inspired by Weave: The Social Fabric Initiative. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/weave-the-social-fabric-initiative/