On a favorite classroom project:  “I have two favorite projects.  One is my Amulet Mosaic project where students create both a mosaic and a personal amulet that reflects their beliefs and culture.  My favorite medium to work in as an artist is mosaics and I love sharing with them my knowledge of Mosaics.  The other project I love is one I call “Happy Un-Birthday” where students research a visual artist of their choosing and create a “present” for them.  The outside reflects the artist’s style and aesthetic of art and the inside has five symbols that reflect the artist’s personal life.  Students get to connect with their chosen artist, both personally and artistically, and I get to learn about artists I’ve never even heard of through this project.”

Kim has been a teacher at our San Francisco high school, City Arts & Tech, for nine years. Among other things, she is responsible for helping our students install the gorgeous mosaics on the risers of the wide staircase in the school’s main foyer. An accomplished artist herself, Kim helps her students gain confidence and express themselves through art and learning about how artists work.  

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Haley is an 11th grade Oakland student looking forward to college.  She has already contributed so much to the Envision community, and we are excited to help her take her education out into the world and go anywhere she wants.
On her teachers: Ms. Natalia, my 9th grade English teacher, was just absolutely amazing. The biggest difference between her and my previous teachers is that she didn’t let me stop.  She kept on pushing me.  Every single day in class I was struggling and I was being challenged and that was a change for me.  She introduced me to new ways of thinking about things.   
I also really like my theatre teacher, Ms. Mac, and I really liked her class, too.   She’s just very open-minded and she pushes everyone.   She doesn’t think there are only certain people who can do the work, she says  “I  know all of you are going to be able to do this.”


On her Envision colleagues:  What I love about Impact is that the teachers are dedicated to their students and colleagues, and they’re passionate about what they teach. They are also some of the sharpest individuals I have ever met, with an incredible ability to think critically, solve problems, and support others.

On growing as a teacher:  I have grown SO much and have learned SO much while being a teacher at Impact. Among other things, I’ve learned to be a “warm demander.” My students know I love and care for them; I support them as best I can throughout their learning process and prop them when praise is due. That being said, I’ve also learned to warmly insist on my expectations being met. I’ve learned how to approach students, state factual observations, leverage the relationship I have with them, then warmly yet assertively state the expectation, and encourage students to get on the right track. This helps me in managing my classroom and maintaining an academic culture.

On a favorite classroom project:  My favorite project continues to be the Activism project at the end of the year. In this project, students select a societal problem they’re passionate about and ultimately, after conducting research, propose a solution to combat the problem to the school community. They show their solutions through presentations, videos, and artwork.

Every year, I see students select a problem that they’ve personally experienced or witnessed (e.g., domestic violence, gender inequality, racial profiling, physical/sexual/verbal abuse), and what always inspires me is their courage, vulnerability, and strength in speaking up about these issues. Every student learns more about a topic they’re passionate about; some students recognize the power of rhetoric and language in persuading others; and a noteworthy few, for the first time in their lives, decide to use this opportunity to take control of their pasts instead of letting their pasts control them.

This is an empowering moment for them – for some, it’s a turning point in their lives – and it’s a shining moment I love witnessing year after year.

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Envisioners enjoyed paella and each other’s company this past Friday night at our annual Holiday party at Venga Paella in Oakland.  We’re so lucky to have this community of friends and colleagues, united in our mission to prepare students for college success! These are the people who make it happen every day.  #ThankATeacher

We’re ready for the second half of the year: bring on Portfolio Defense season!


blog_liberating_1At Envision Education, we strive for high outcomes for all students, regardless of background. While this may seem like a commonplace statement, at least in national rhetoric, the achievement and opportunity gaps experienced by low-income students clearly demonstrate that as a culture, we have a long way to go to ensure that every student attends a school that develops him or her to the fullest extent. This means we are all faced with a challenge: how do we as educators ensure that every child receives what he or she needs to develop to his or her full academic and social potential?

Read more, in this post by Gia Truong, over on the Buck Institute for Education’s blog.



Envision’s Instructional coaches are all about helping teachers be their best, support students, and work collaboratively.  Watch this great example of a recent Saturday workshop for Envision teachers, designed and delivered by Envision’s Dave Carter, all about building the Warm Demander stance in order to effectively engage students and hold them to high expectations:

We are very proud of our teachers and the community they create for themselves and their students! Learn more about joining this vibrant team of educators here.



Yajaira is a San Francisco student who credits Envision with helping her transform from a shy ninth grader into a confident and independent young woman.


College is extremely important to Yajaira, and she feels “happy and blessed,” thanks to her school and her own hard work, that she is prepared and planning for college success.  She’ll be a “first gen” college student, and she’s ready!


ronthompson_bu_posse2A few weeks ago, we introduced our Envision friends and supporters to Ron Thompson with this postcard.  He is another of our college bound seniors, and this week, he, his family, and the Envision community are celebrating some great news:

Next fall, Ron will be attending Boston University with a four-year, full tuition Posse Foundation scholarship!  This competitive award recognizes Ron’s academic excellence, his strong leadership capacity, and his commitment to hard work.  For Ron, who will be a first generation college graduate, going to college is all about opening new doors for himself and making his parents proud.  Today, he has made all of us very proud to know and celebrate him.

Since 1989, the Posse Foundation has identified, recruited and trained 6,993 public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential to become Posse Scholars; college students in this leadership group graduate at a rate of 90 percent and make a visible difference on their campuses and throughout their professional careers.

Please join us in congratulating Ron for his selection and the Posse Foundation for choosing this bright young scholar!  And a big thank you to all of our friends and supporters: your generosity helps make stories like Ron’s possible.


Ron lives in Antioch with his family, which means he spends 3-4 hours a day getting to and from school. He chooses this commute because of the community Envision offers him: a place to learn and grow, play basketball, and prepare for college, with peers and teachers who have his back through thick and thin.  He’s definitely #collegebound, and we can’t wait to hear where he lands next fall!