Celebrating the
Rich Diversity
of our Human Family
By Stuart Udell
W

e celebrate diversity in this issue of Achieve Magazine – diversity in all its wonderful forms including gender diversity, diversity of ethnicity, racial diversity, socioeconomic diversity, emotional diversity, learning diversity and even diversity of location. It’s all part of a celebration of us, our wonderful, richly different human family with all our marvelous talents and faults and differences. It is precisely those differences that make life meaningful.

Celebrating the
Rich Diversity
of our Human Family
By Stuart Udell
W

e celebrate diversity in this issue of Achieve Magazine – diversity in all its wonderful forms including gender diversity, diversity of ethnicity, racial diversity, socioeconomic diversity, emotional diversity, learning diversity and even diversity of location. It’s all part of a celebration of us, our wonderful, richly different human family with all our marvelous talents and faults and differences. It is precisely those differences that make life meaningful.

Our cover story for this issue is a conversation with Kweku Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, human rights and anti-apartheid activist and the former president of South Africa. Kweku is a world traveler, filmmaker, musician, educator and founder of Africa Rising. His kind spirit and ability to deliver a positive message are inspiring, and he has a great deal to say about the adjustments that education needs in these troubled times. I think you’ll enjoy the interview, and as a special treat, there’s more coming your way in the next issue of Achieve Magazine.

One aspect of diversity we celebrate at Achieve3000 is the different ways our students learn. All our students are unique, and no two take in and process information in exactly the same way. The beauty of our texts is their diversity, and in this issue, Andrew Ordover, Ed.D., our Vice President of Product at Achieve3000, helps us understand that ANY piece of text can be compelling; it all depends on what we do with it, and what we let students do with it. According to Andrew, “Our language has tremendous flexibility, beauty, and power. Getting control of it, through fluent reading and confident writing, helps students take control of their lives in innumerable ways. If we believe that this language is a gift, we should treat it like any gift we give to children, and encourage them to use it, abuse it, toss it around, bang it up a little bit, and find out just what it can do.”

One aspect of diversity we celebrate at Achieve3000 is the different ways our students learn. All our students are unique, and no two take in and process information in exactly the same way.
Women smiling
Our relationships extend beyond schools and classrooms and into our communities through celebrations, books and school supply donations, natural disaster responses and cultural responsiveness.
Rainbow
Our relationships extend beyond schools and classrooms and into our communities through celebrations, books and school supply donations, natural disaster responses and cultural responsiveness.
Also, in this issue, we bring you an article entitled, Creating a Culture of Literacy, by Raymond J. McNulty and Dr. Susan Szachowicz from the Successful Practices Network. According to the authors, “Far too often in education, success for our students is by chance, not by design. If all teachers are skilled in how to teach writing, then all students will learn the writing skills they need. That becomes success by design, not by chance.” You’ll want to read this very powerful article. It is a step-by-step guide to success in education. It works, and every school or district can up their game by incorporating this timely wisdom.
Group of kids
As many of you are aware, Achieve3000 is a global organization, currently serving learners in 48 countries. So, as we celebrate diversity of location, we are amazed at the many things we can learn from our international students. As author Lee Anne Housley notes, “Achieve3000 is a transformative solution designed to elevate mindsets and skill sets. Our solutions engage multiple stakeholders through culturally relevant content, actionable data, professional learning sessions and wrap-around support services. Our relationships extend beyond schools and classrooms and into our communities through celebrations, books and school supply donations, natural disaster responses and cultural responsiveness. We believe that equity starts with our schools and their communities by celebrating our diverse cultures, languages, and experiences.” There is much to celebrate from our international family, and even more our educators here at home can learn from them.
In his latest column, Kevin Baird presents, Culturally Responsive Classrooms: More than Content – A Shift in Mindset. He reminds us, “It is a fact that children learn at different rates, and that as children age, their cumulative feelings of success or failure become critical, sometimes defining elements for their rate of learning and ultimate trajectory. Simply put, how a student feels about the experience of learning is as important, if not more important, than the knowledge and skills they are asked to master. This provocative, well-researched finding suggests that the role of teacher is as much confidence-builder as it is “guide on the side.” This is powerful stuff and will serve you every day as you continue to guide and help shape the futures of your students.

In this holiday season, I invite you to celebrate the richness and wonderful possibilities of us. Enjoy your new issue of Achieve Magazine, be thankful for what we have, and enjoy each other and the season.

About the author
Stuart Udell currently serves as CEO of Achieve3000, a comprehensive suite of digital solutions that significantly accelerate literacy growth and deepen learning across the content areas. Prior, he served in CEO roles at K12, Catapult Learning, and Penn Foster, as well as president roles at Renaissance Learning, Kaplan, and the Princeton Review. Stuart currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Bill Daggett’s Successful Practices Network, School of the Future, USA Test Prep, and Ventris Learning. He received the Education Warrior Award from the I Have a Dream Foundation and is a member of his High School Hall of Fame. Stuart holds a master’s from Columbia University and a bachelor’s from Bucknell University.
In his latest column, Kevin Baird presents, Culturally Responsive Classrooms: More than Content – A Shift in Mindset. He reminds us, “It is a fact that children learn at different rates, and that as children age, their cumulative feelings of success or failure become critical, sometimes defining elements for their rate of learning and ultimate trajectory. Simply put, how a student feels about the experience of learning is as important, if not more important, than the knowledge and skills they are asked to master. This provocative, well-researched finding suggests that the role of teacher is as much confidence-builder as it is “guide on the side.” This is powerful stuff and will serve you every day as you continue to guide and help shape the futures of your students.

In this holiday season, I invite you to celebrate the richness and wonderful possibilities of us. Enjoy your new issue of Achieve Magazine, be thankful for what we have, and enjoy each other and the season.

About the author
Stuart Udell currently serves as CEO of Achieve3000, a comprehensive suite of digital solutions that significantly accelerate literacy growth and deepen learning across the content areas. Prior, he served in CEO roles at K12, Catapult Learning, and Penn Foster, as well as president roles at Renaissance Learning, Kaplan, and the Princeton Review. Stuart currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Bill Daggett’s Successful Practices Network, School of the Future, USA Test Prep, and Ventris Learning. He received the Education Warrior Award from the I Have a Dream Foundation and is a member of his High School Hall of Fame. Stuart holds a master’s from Columbia University and a bachelor’s from Bucknell University.
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