Category Archives for "The Modern Student"

Reimagining Classrooms: Teachers as Learners and Students as Leaders

Why do some classrooms look the same now as they did 70 years ago? In this passionate talk, second grade teacher Kayla Delzer speaks about her mission to revitalize learning and the classroom environment. Kayla explains how to release the power in the classroom by giving students ownership of their learning and making it relevant to them.
Breaking down the four walls of the classroom allows her students to become globally connected - and you won’t believe the endeavors her students conquer by embracing purposeful technology.

Kayla Delzer is a 2nd grade teacher and Project Lead the Way Lead Teacher in West Fargo, North Dakota. In August, she will begin her 8th year of teaching 2nd grade and her second year with West Fargo Public Schools (WFPS). Teaching is her true passion in life, and she enjoys her job and helping children to love learning and become creative problem solvers. Her students are her focus in life; they are like family to her. In August 2014, she completed her master’s degree in Elementary Education.
She also serves on the Technology Task Force and Social Media Task Force for WFPS. Her classroom Twitter account, @tweetingtopdogs, has allowed her students to learn virtually with hundreds of classrooms and educational experts from all over the world.
Kayla has teamed up with several companies to improve the lives of students and teachers, and she works frequently with GoNoodle and Remind. She is highly sought after by educational and technology companies to preview and review their products.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Delzer, Kayla. Reimagining Classrooms: Teachers as Learners and Students as Leaders. TEDxFargo, Youtube, 2015,

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates


I chose this video because in our country, it is an unprecedented time. Many schools are relying on technology to teach their students, in and outside of the classroom. Education is not longer one-sided. We are forced to work together as teachers and students to provide the best experience out of our circumstances, and I think this video is a good resource.

Multiculturalism in the Modern World

Multiculturalism in the Modern World: Jen Holladay at TEDxDenverTeachers

Understanding and embracing multiculturalism and teaching students cultural competency is critical for competing and succeeding in our diverse democracy. How can you ensure that cultural competency is an outcome of your students' education? Presented by Jen Holladay, Highline Academy Charter School Board President.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Holladay, Jen. “Multiculturalism in the Modern World.” Youtube, TEDxDenverTeachers, 2013,

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates


I chose this video because in today's climate, we find it easy to introduce children to various cultures through food and stories, however there is so much more to history than that, and the sooner it is introduced, the better off our society will be in the future.

A Teacher Appreciation Week for the Ages

When schools abruptly closed due to Covid-19, teachers figured out how to make remote learning work. This week, as the nation expresses its gratitude, we recap the emotional journey.

This video was created by Edutopia. Edutopia is dedicated to improving the PK-12 learning process through innovative, replicable, and evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives.

Visit for more resources.


Rachel Wixey & Associates


This piece demonstrates how much love and care educators have for their students. The vulnerability here is beautiful! 

How Mindfulness Can Help During COVID-19

An article from Child Mind Institute by Rae Jacobson.

With schools closed and many parents working from home without childcare for the foreseeable future, it’s hard not to start spiraling. Responsibilities seem endless, the situation dire, and it seems like time to yourself has become a thing of the past…

Take a deep breath. Literally. Feel a little better?

These are trying times, but incorporating mindful practices into your daily routine can help calm anxiety and build healthy coping skills. Here are some tips from our clinicians on making mindfulness work for you and your family.

It doesn’t have to be complicated

Being mindful is what it sounds like. Taking time to focus on the present, being intentional and thoughtful about where you are and how you are feeling. Trying to center your thoughts and be in the moment. Sounds simple, but it takes work, especially now when concerns about what the future holds feel so pressing. Mindful activities can help. “Mindfulness isn’t complicated,” says Jill Emanuele, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Here are some simple activities she recommends:

  • Squeeze Muscles: Starting at your toes, pick one muscle and squeeze it tight. Count to five. Release, and notice how your body changes. Repeat exercise moving up your body.
  • Belly Breathing: Put one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Slowly breathe in from your stomach (expand like a balloon) and slowly breathe out (deflate).
  • Mindful Meal: Pay attention to the smell, taste and look of your food. No multitasking.
  • Meditation: Sit in a relaxed, comfortable position. Pick something to focus on, like your breath. When your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath.
  • Blowing Bubbles: Notice their shapes, textures and colors.
  • Coloring: Color something. Focus on the colors and designs.
  • Listening to Music: Focus on the whole song, or listen specifically to the voice or an instrument.

Make time for mindfulness

Right now much of the personal time that used to be part of our daily routines — commutes, time alone at home, going to the store — is not available. This means it’s extra important to be intentional about creating space to recharge. Deciding to set time aside each day to practice mindful activities is a great place to start, says Dr. Emanuele. “The morning, before everyone is awake, can be a great time to really ground yourself.” Morning mindfulness can help set the tone for the day. “Do deep breathing, meditate, exercise, whatever mindfulness activity works for you,” she recommends. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be elaborate: “You can try mindful eating or mindful drinking with a cup of coffee. Sit there and just be in the moment. That’s mindfulness. Taking five minutes to do that before the day begins is even more important now because this is not our typical routine and we’re going to feel very, very out of sorts.”

Limit multi-tasking

Right now it can feel like trying to do ten things at once is the only way anything will get done. For example, trying to fold laundry, make dinner and watch your child all while on a work call.

But, explains Joanna Stern, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, multitasking rarely works, and can actually increase stress.


“Multitasking is a myth,” says Dr. Stern. Instead, she suggests achievable goals for the day, trying to focus on one thing at a time. For example, scheduling work calls during naptime, allowing kids to have a little extra screen time while you make dinner, or asking older children to help fold the laundry while you finish cleaning up.

Practice mindfulness as a family

Mindfulness, explains David Anderson, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, is “Anything that helps everyone take a moment to slow down, stay present, and come together.” Designating time to practice mindful activities as a family will help everyone feel less anxious. It could be a daily family yoga session, or a quiet walk in the woods as a group, taking time to focus on the way the air feels, the sound of the birds and the smell of the trees. Another good family mindfulness idea is asking everyone to mention one good thing they heard or saw that day over dinner.

Make peace with uncertainty

This situation is one of extreme uncertainty. We don’t know what will happen, how long it will last or what things will be like when it’s over. One thing we do know, however, is that worrying about it won’t change the outcome. Learning how to tolerate the uncertainty is a huge part of building healthy coping skills for ourselves, which we then want to model for our children. “Right now it’s very easy to let your brain spin out with the frightening possibilities,” warns Dr. Anderson. “Practicing mindfulness helps bring us back to the present, and away from the brink.”

Full Article:

How Mindfulness Can Help During COVID-19

 BY Rae Jacobson

Jacobson, Rae. “How Mindfulness Can Help During COVID-19.” Child Mind Institute, 2020,

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates


I chose this article because these are trying times for everyone. Life is nothing like what we're used to and everyone processes it differently. Children look to the adults in their lives for stability, and with teachers learning a new system themselves it can be difficult to get into a normal routine. It is important to take time to regulate your own being, because although we don't have control over the world around us, we can find solace knowing we have some control over ourselves. 

From Peter Clark to Rodger Horton, black educators are still rare. And that needs to change.

An excerpt from From Peter Clark to Rodger Horton, black educators are still rare. And that needs to change. by Evan Millward of WCPO Cincinnati

CINCINNATI — "None of my teachers until my third grade looked like me, walked like me, or talked like me," said Rodger Horton, a kindergarten teacher at Chase Elementary.

He grew up with dreams of becoming a police officer, but that changed in college at Central State University in Xenia. He credited mentors in his education for the turning point.

That, and opportunity.

"[Recruiters] all wanted to speak with me," he said. "Because there were so few African Americans in the early 2000s, particularly males, that were looking to go into education, particularly elementary education, everyone wanted to sit down with me."

It's nothing new.

Before Peter H. Clark became the first teacher in the new Cincinnati Independent Colored School District in the mid-1800s, black children didn't have many educators who looked like them.

And they still don't.

In Ohio, non-white teachers made up 5.64 percent of the workforce in the 2018-19 school year. Students of color, meanwhile, represented 31 percent of pupils.

Kentucky's demographics were similar. Just 4.8 percent of the Commonwealth's teachers were non-white, while 24.2 percent of students were something other than white.

New research has shown that changing that gap brought dropout rates and disciplinary problems down while raising test scores and positive views of education.

Which brings us back to Horton.

He has taught at Chase in Northside for 16 years -- 10 of those years he's taught kindergarten.

On a recent Tuesday, Horton wrangled more than one dozen students with the help of a paraprofessional aide. He asked them what 'data' is and how it's used. Students counted rockets, cars and buses. One by one, they graphed those numbers on a smartboard at the front of the room.

The other adults in the room, like this reporter, wondered when kindergarten got so advanced.

It was a big change for Horton, too.

"I had to learn to wipe noses and I had to learn to tie shoes," he said. "But ultimately, I had to learn how to hug and had to learn how to love."

Doing M.O.R.E.

One of the major drivers mentioned in the University of Phoenix report is student engagement as a way to reach future educators of color.

Back at Chase Elementary, the dismissal bell rang.

"Hands up top," Horton instructed. "Everybody stop."

But the day was not over for Horton and several older students. Horton is the school leader for Cincinnati Public Schools' M.O.R.E. program. It stands for Men, Organized, Respectful, Educated.

"It lets them know there's someone who cares for them," Horton said. "It's almost from the perspective that I'm a pseudo-father."

M.O.R.E. was not designed with the goal of creating future educators. It's built - and gained national recognition - for better preparing young men of color for college and life outside classroom walls.

"We never give up on each other," said Alonzo Berry, a third year M.O.R.E. student. "We help each other and we help others."

There's no denying, though, the power of representation in a classroom. Horton remembered how that third grade year changed him and his perspective on school, all because he had a teacher who looked like him and took the time to care.

"It allowed me to realize the potential that I had to learn at the same level and same pace as my peers," he said. "It opened up my world so much more ... instead of being ostracized, I was just unique and I excelled in the classroom."

Full Article:

From Peter Clark to Rodger Horton, black educators are still rare. And that needs to change.


Millward, Evan. “From Peter Clark to Rodger Horton, Black Educators Are Still Rare. And That Needs to Change.” WCPO, 12 Feb. 2020,

Director of Strategic Communications

Rachel Wixey & Associates


I chose this article because it is a local story that shows the positive impact of black educators on our youth. Having someone that you can relate to on a personal level to help push you to succeed can make all the difference in a young child's life. 

Poverty & Homeless Families

An excerpt from 9 Challenges our students Face in school today by Matthew Lynch​​

Some students struggle with completing Math and English assignments, submitting homework on time, and staying focus in class. However, these struggles may be a part of a greater problem that is not clearly seen by parents, guardians, and educators. 9 challenges students face in school are poverty, homeless families, child abuse and neglect, bullying (including cyber bullying), violence, obesity and eating disorders, sex and pregnancy, suicide, drugs, and dropping out. This article reviews the first two challenges which are poverty and homeless families.

Contrary to what many believed possible in the past, education has not eliminated poverty. Schools have not been designed to properly serve poor children. They reflect and promote a middleclass way of life. What other challenges do impoverished children experience? They often come from homes that are not adequate in terms of shelter, and they may live in dangerous communities. In their neighborhood, they may be exposed to drugs, violent crime, and prostitution, and they may turn to these types of activities themselves at an early age.

Parents of children living in poverty often struggle to provide them with enough quality food and medical coverage. Children living in poverty often come to school without having had enough sleep and without having had breakfast. They often experience family violence, abuse, secondhand smoke, neglect, and inadequate clothing. They may not be able to pay for field trips or other extracurricular activities that might expand their experience base. This is the frightening reality for millions of children. As a teacher, you will likely have impoverished students in your class.

Homeless children still need to have an education, although when they get to school each morning, they are often hungry and tired. Like many children living in poverty, homeless children move frequently, and are exposed to drugs, violence, crime, and more. Transportation might be an issue for some homeless children, and they miss a great deal of school. When they can attend school, they may be teased about their clothes and the fact they fall asleep in class. They may have difficulty making friends or fear participating in an activity in front of the class. Although many homeless children are with their families, older homeless children may be runaways or may have been kicked out of their homes. Many have been abused sexually and/or physically.

Teachers who have homeless children in their classroom will need to know how to help and support children without a permanent home. The children may be emotionally needy. Due to lack of access to bathtubs or showers and little food, they may be dirty and hungry. Teachers can be an anchor for these children by showing them compassion and understanding. It may also be a challenge to communicate with parents who do not have regular access to a phone. Of course, the most important thing for homeless children is that their families find a home. Teachers might be able to help by working with local agencies, children, and their families to find a solution to their problem.

Poverty and homeless families are serious challenges that students may be facing today. Be aware of signs or situations that reflect these problems among your students. In the classroom seek to assist your students as best as you can and continue to educate them. Continue to read the other parts of this series to learn more about the challenges students face today.

Full Article:



Lynch, Matthew. “9 Challenges Our Students Face in School Today Part I: Poverty & Homeless Families.” The Edvocate, 3 Sept. 2018,

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates


I chose this article because I think it is important to remind ourselves of the daily struggles some of these kids go through. In many situations, teachers and peers are completely unaware, making it seem like these kids are unmotivated. It is so important to see past the outcome of a child's work and try to understand the process it took to get them there. 

The Future of Education: A Student’s Perspective

17-year-old, Anna Nixon co-founded STEM4Girls, a non-profit organization that works to get more girls involved in STEM activities and shares the importance of education for youth and what adults can do to help.

17 year old Anna Nixon is currently a senior in high school. She has grown up with an avid interest in STEM because her parents used to bring home the latest gadgets for her and her siblings to play with. The first time she worked with robots was in elementary school and she has been competing in robotics competitions since she was 7 years old. Nixon’s passion for science and technology led her to co-found STEM4Girls, a non-profit organization that works to get more girls involved in STEM activities. She is also currently working at Autodesk on the Synthesis team to create a simulator so that robotics teams can test their code and their designs in a virtual environment. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Nixon, Anna. “The Future of Education: A Student's Perspective | Anna Nixon | TEDxSalem.” YouTube, TEDxSalem, 2018,

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates


I chose this video because as a feminist and education advocate, I realize that STEM is a huge part of education, even since I graduated just a decade ago. Technology is advancing and changing the world faster than we realize, and the importance of our youth's understanding is imperative to how we view the world. It is inspiring to see such power and passion in a young woman, and if we want to learn more about the modern student, the best thing to do is listen to them. 

Social Media and Anxiety

An excerpt from Social Media’s Impact on Students’ Mental Health Comes Into Focus by Kira Barrett

According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, 95% of teens use a smartphone, and 45% say they are online almost constantly. About 70% of teens are on Snapchat and Instagram, while 85% are on Youtube.

One would think all this near constant “socializing” would make teens feel more connected than ever before.

In her classroom, says teacher Cori McAbee, the opposite is true.

"Social media has crippled my students when it comes to interacting with one another in person. Their very ability to communicate is deteriorating"

- Cori McAbee -
11th Grade English Teacher
Rutherford County, North Carolina

The very definition of “social” media may be misleading, according to experts who are finding that the more time teens spend on social media, the lonelier and more anxious they are.

There’s a correlation between smartphone usage and lower satisfaction with life, according to Jacob Barkley, professor of health sciences at Kent State University.

“Interaction on social media is not beneficial. It’s electronic,” explains Barkley, who has been studying smartphone use and students since 2013. “The higher the cellphone use, the more time spent on social media, and the higher the anxiety. Peer relationships actually get worse the more you use your phone.”

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, reached similar conclusions in 2017. In her study, Twenge discovered that students who spend more time using smartphones and other electronic devices are less satisfied with their lives than students who frequently engage in face-to-face interaction.

"We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71% more likely than those who spent less than an hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor”

- Jean Twenge -
psychology professor

​San Diego State University

​Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online,” Twenge wrote in 2017.

If teens were to follow up high social media usage with lots of time spent socializing in person, the effects perhaps wouldn’t be so adverse. But in most cases, they aren’t. It turns out, liking a post, commenting “Cute,” or keeping up with a “snapchat streak” isn’t the same as catching up. It’s not even close. Yet too many teens, according to these experts, are substituting real life interactions for instagram posts, and paying the price.

Because research into social media and education is still generally in its infancy, many educators are still trying to fully understand the effects of these technologies. Social media can be an effective teaching tool, but many educators are alarmed at the role it plays in heightening student anxiety and stress.

Full Article:

Social Media’s Impact on Students’ Mental Health Comes Into Focus


Barrett, Kira. "Social Media's Impact on Students' Mental Health Comes Into Focus." NEA Today. 03 Oct. 2018. 15 Oct. 2019 <>.

Account Associate

Rachel Wixey & Associates


I chose this article because technology is such an important part of our daily lives, and the lives of our youth. It is crucial to understand the correlations this has with our mental health and how much everything differs from when we were in school.

Our Loss was a National Loss

An excerpt from The 9/11 children: What can they teach us?

Sonali Beaven, 20

Her father, Alan Anthony Beaven, 48, was an environmental lawyer. He was killed on board United Flight 93, which crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers and crew struggled with hijackers for control of the plane.

My life’s ambitions are centered on what I witnessed in the aftermath of 9/11. I saw suffering, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a failure of many to cope with these problems. I hope to be an adolescent clinical psychologist and give teenagers and young adults a platform for discussion. I want to be a person they feel safe confiding in. Our loss was a national loss and in that, a lot of individual identity and pain was ignored. I felt that not many therapists I saw could understand that. I commend everyone for the rage and grief that they felt on our behalf. But I now have learned the value in claiming my own loss and I want to help people feel that power and relief.

My loss is central to my identity. I lost my father when I was 5 and have spoken to the media, listened to teachers colloquially discuss 9/11 in class, and heard countless words of hate and fear in response ever since. In a sense each choice I’ve made since that day has been crafted by my experience. But, because of my loss and the nature of my loss, I choose love and life every day. Because of my father and the other passengers, I can’t let fear limit me. I have to take today and every day and try to improve the world we live in and spread the ideology of love. We would not have lost our loved ones if not for commonplace hate and violence, and my life’s commitment, as a result, must be to improve that. I have become a person who values compassion and knowledge and that is a direct result of my loss.

“But, because of my loss and the nature of my loss, I choose love and life every day.”

It is not uncommon among my peers that someone has lost a parent. The causes vary but the pain and magnitude are constant. Loss is so incredibly personal and unique that it isn’t fair to say any two experiences are the same. My loss was public and national, which definitely has its implications. The world grieved for my loss and will not forget. I am fortunate in that way because so many lost are forgotten. But it wasn’t until I was 17 that I realized how personal what I had gone through was, too. I had to grieve my personal loss and remember the individual identity of my father in order to release the national grief I felt. It can be challenging to have such a traumatic experience documented and normalized in conversation. This is how my experience, our experience, is different. At no point was this just about us and what we had lost, and this is profound and yet so crippling.

M.I.C. Note:

Sonali is one of thousands of children with family taken on 9/11 who grew up in an education system forced to adapt to a new nation. Although powerful, her story is one of many. To read more, please see the full article linked below. 

Full Article:

The 9/11 children: What can they teach us?


Text and video interviews by Moni Basu, Wayne Drash, Claudia Morales and John Blake

Design and development by Sean O’Key and Alberto Mier

Video editing by Madeleine Stix

Photo editing by Bernadette Tuazon, Brett Roegiers and Natalie Yubas

O’Key, Sean, and Alberto Mier. "The 9/11 children: What can they teach us?" CNN. 2019. Cable News Network. 11 Sept. 2019 <>.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates


Sonali's story is incredibly powerful. Her contrast between the nation's loss and individual loss is one that I've never thought of before. It also reminds us that kids that are too young to remember forge their opinions on what they are taught, so it is important that we keep the memory alive. 

Taking the Edge Off with Yoga

An excerpt from Taking the Edge Off with Yoga

They don't always have an outlet to cope with it, but one junior high school in the Reynoldsburg School District, is offering yoga for the first time as an elective class.

  • Much of the anxiety junior high students experience comes from family, academics and the ability to make and keep friends
  • An elective yoga class offered at a junior high school in Columbus is providing a calming support for students
  • Currently, Waggoner Road is the only school in the district offering yoga to junior high students

It aims to help take the edge off and relieve stress for students like 13-year-old Makalya Howard.

Each day she looks forward to coming to her yoga class Waggoner Road Junior High School.

She said she feels like the class has given her a new start.

"I feel like my attitude became more positive since I started yoga," said Howard.

But her mornings didn't always start out this way. In fact, they were tough.

"I would probably have a panic attack in the morning and I would be really bummed out all day and just really upset for reasons I probably didn't know,” said Howard.

“I would probably have a panic attack in the morning and I would be really bummed out all day and just really upset for reasons I probably didn't know.”

- Makalya Howard -

When she'd get home from school, it didn’t get any better."I'd usually just go in my room and just like cry. That's all I used to do," Howard said.

That’s because Makayla suffers from anxiety. 

Social Worker, Amber Knight says, she along with guidance counselors see at least 80 percent of Makayla’s peers struggling with the same thing, in addition to depression and suicidal thoughts.

They add, that much of what students deal with comes from issues with family, school, and the ability to keep or make friends. 

For Makayla, her biggest challenges were with academics and Dyslexia. She says, it was so bad that she was failing a bunch of classes at the beginning of the year.

Makayla is just one of many students with these types of challenges.

But she's not alone.

13-year-old Johnathan Tackett has had his own share of struggles.

He says, he didn't just have moody Mondays, but moody weeks. That’s because he says he was getting bad grades.

“I had a really good friend for a really long time recently just kind of leave me,” said Tackett. “So, that really left me really stressed and really upset and then like in yoga it's just easy to release it all."

Many students like Johnathan and Makayla appreciate this class, especially at the beginning of the day, with the help of teacher Jessica Lewis.

“She just brings so much happiness and joy into that class and it makes me feel like set free or free," said Howard.

“She just brings so much happiness and joy into that class and it makes me feel like set free or free.”

- Makalya Howard -

Right now, Waggoner Road is the only school in the district offering yoga to junior high students.

School counselor, Tammy Wallace and teachers, see the difference it’s making.

“Teachers have said, you know I've seen some improvement, in grades just due to their self-confidence and when they're taking a test...maybe their test anxiety isn't there as much, which is a huge benefit,” said Wallace. 

And now it’s got more students hoping to take the class next year instead of PE, which is a bonus for those who struggle socially, according to the school’s social worker, Amber Knight.

“It gives kids too, that don't necessarily love PE and that might give them some social anxiety, a different option to be active and to be just at a calmer state," said Knight.

With the school year just about over, Makayla's Howard’s smile is brighter now that she's gone from failing classes to making all A's and B's by taking it one day at a time.

While she isn’t sure what things might be like today if it wasn't for her mom and others supporting her and recognizing her challenges, she’s grateful for the changes that have taken place.

In the meantime, the school hopes to add more yoga classes next year, so more students will have the chance to take yoga throughout the day.

Full Article:

Taking the Edge Off with Yoga


Johnson, Tonisha. "School Yoga Class Helps Students Take the Edge Off." 10 May 2019. 13 Aug. 2019 <>.

Emily Noggle

Rachel Wixey & Associates


I resonate with this news segment because in today's society, young students are facing issues that we may never know about. Our children spend a majority of their day at school to get an education that will guide them through life. Why not learn about themselves and how to find peaceful solutions to life's most difficult problems?