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“All students are amazingly and uniquely talented…”


Desmond Blackburn

All students are amazingly and uniquely talented. We all know this. Each child displays their giftedness in a different way, and that individuality is not only beautiful, but that individuality is essential to their welfare. It’s the responsibility of educators and those of us who support educators to honor their talents and individuality. To tap into and elevate the giftedness of every student. We have to start with a full, and absolute understanding of that student. Their surroundings, their life experiences, and circumstances, their culture, their family, their background, the wholeness of that, which makes them who they are. I know from experience how important this is as the son of Jamaican immigrants, my family instilled in me that education is paramount.

Unfortunately, education systems, aren’t always designed to support people who look like me or come from where I come from. In fact, the education I was afforded was built on a foundation of lies I had to tell about my home address and my family status to gain entry into a school in a different community.

And that’s not including how I was compelled to suppress the norms of my Caribbean heritage, just so I could fit in. That’s part of my story, but I share it with millions of others and far too many of our children today are still living similar stories. We can absolutely write a new story, a story where we understand our students fully and deeply. But also one where we as educators know ourselves, we have to lift up the best of who we are as human beings to truly tap into that, which makes each child extraordinary. And I know how important this is. You see education isn’t simply what I do. It is who I am. I’ve been that teacher I’ve been that school principal. I have been that district superintendent. And that’s true for so many of us here at NTC. When we see kids fully and understand ourselves fully, we can leverage that humanity. We can leverage that relationship. We can leverage that connection. Then, and only then will we be able to create school ecosystems where every young person feels seen connected and challenged to succeed