News briefs: Students meet former Secretary of State George Shultz

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Former Secretary of State George Shultz speaks with Mount

For high school students at Mount Madonna School, forays into
the world of local, state, even national politics are not new. For
nearly three decades MMS teachers have educated students on complex
political issues
– through lecture, travel, discussion and interviews with some
of the world’s leading thinkers. The meeting with former Secretary
of State George Shultz was arranged as part of the students’ Values
in American Thought class, and is a lead-in to their trip to
Washington, D.C., May 11 to 22.
Students meet former Secretary of State George Shultz

For high school students at Mount Madonna School, forays into the world of local, state, even national politics are not new. For nearly three decades MMS teachers have educated students on complex political issues – through lecture, travel, discussion and interviews with some of the world’s leading thinkers. The meeting with former Secretary of State George Shultz was arranged as part of the students’ Values in American Thought class, and is a lead-in to their trip to Washington, D.C., May 11 to 22.

“There is no better way to learn history than hearing it directly from those who make it,” said MMS teacher Ward Mailliard, creator of the Government in Action curriculum at Mount Madonna School. Mailliard took his 11th and 12th grade students to Stanford University April 30 to meet and speak with Shultz.

Values in American Thought is a two-year program which engages students in thoughtful dialogue about the concepts and values that lead to a meaningful and fulfilling life. As part of that program, Mailliard takes students on a biannual trip to Washington, D.C. to interview those engaged in public service as part of the MMS government studies program.

This year’s D.C. tour will include interviews with Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, Congressman John Lewis, California Representative Sam Farr, Presidential candidate and Congressman Dennis Kucinich, veteran reporter for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” and one of the world’s foremost authorities on Islam, Ambassador Akbar Ahmed.

Federation of Teachers and Paraprofessionals wins award

The Gilroy Federation of Teachers and Paraprofessionals won a top honor in the statewide California Federation of Teachers Communications Awards for its presentation to the Gilroy Board of Education titled, “What do paraprofessionals do?”

Through dozens of photographs taken in district classrooms and a descriptive narrative, the presentation showed in detail the essential role that paraprofessional educators fill in Gilroy schools. For example, it showed how paraprofessionals facilitate and reinforce student learning in computer labs, special education classes and preschool.

“Our goal was to show the board what paraprofessionals really do,” says Arcelia O’Connor, Special Education Paraprofessional. “Our first reward was when board members responded positively to the presentation. They seemed grateful for the opportunity to learn about the important work of paraprofessionals, which can often be overlooked. It was a bonus winning first place in the state union’s communications awards.”

The judges’ comments about Local 1921’s winning entry were: “Cogent explanation of the day-to-day work of paraprofessionals and the importance of their role. Dozens of workplace photos illustrate the scope of the work. Very compelling.”

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