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.  

* * *


JonVinsonEnvision Academy coach Jon Vinson says he has spent two decades doing something he is passionate about: coaching young kids to play basketball.

He insists it is a way to keep them disciplined, engaged and focused. That’s why he pays many of their basketball expenses out of his own pocket and raises money through donations and car washes.  Recently, Amber Lee of KTVU caught up with Vinson after hearing that Uber and the Warriors had teamed up to honor the coach and his players by giving them tickets to the January 16th Warriors game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.. 

Watch the KTVU story here!


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.

* * *


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!


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.



9780807758083Heart and mind blend in this remarkable story of a teacher and her students working with courageous determination to create an education that values young people and gives weight and meaning to their lives.” —Mike Rose, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

Check out Personal Narrative, Revised: Writing Love and Agency in the High School Classroom, by Bronwyn LaMay.  Bronwyn is the 10th grade English teacher at our Hayward school, Impact Academy.  This inspirational book, from Teachers College Press, explores how teachers can transform classrooms and schools into places where students explore the intersection between literacy and their lives.

Congrats Bronwyn!  We can’t wait to read and share your work!