Welcome Back: A Message From Jerry Harris

It’s that time of year again… time for sharpened new pencils, fresh unused crayons, and shiny clean mobile devices neatly placed on desks for eager students; time for anxious parents who just want to make sure their child was assigned to the classroom with the best teacher in that grade level, (of course that generally means a Cotsen teacher.) It’s a new school year, and time to welcome everyone back to the transformative learning and growing opportunities that lie ahead.

But this beginning of school is different from most that I can recall. For as students, parents, educators and staff returned home at the end of the day over the past couple of weeks, they along with the rest of us across America, were confronted with images of devastating flooding and heartbreaking remnants of people’s lives as Hurricane Harvey left a path of incomprehensible devastation in its wake.

As I watched countless scenes of destruction, I became aware of the limitless acts of giving and caring that sprang up out of the chaos. Neighbors, strangers, relatives, friends, all poured into flooded streets simply to help someone… anyone in need.  Without fanfare or praise, or any thought of recognition, hundreds of volunteers simply felt compelled to help, and they did. And I, for one, am deeply grateful to them for reminding me of who America is, and putting on display for all to see the values that are at our core. In spite of all the political posturing, and polarized shouting that has filled the American landscape for far too long, America, more precisely, Americans are a good, caring and generous people, and we are at our best when we pull together and work for the collective wellbeing of our communities.

I see that same spirit of caring, giving and dedication to community – the foundation of what’s best in America, in your schools, and your participation in the ART of TEACHING. The Cotsen Foundation is delighted to have the good fortune of supporting you, the ART of TEACHING fellows, mentors, administrators and alumni, who have become such an inspiring community of professionals and learners. We look forward to engaging you collectively as a community in pursuit of instructional excellence in the upcoming weeks and months.

Staff has prepared exceptional professional development opportunities for you for 2017-2018.  Please be on the lookout for notices about them that will be sent to you throughout the year. Coming soon is information on the ART of TEACHING’s 12th Annual Conference, which will take place on Saturday, October 7th, so mark your calendar.

Again, welcome back, and may you and your students find much joy, wonder and magic this school year.


Jerry Harris
Executive Director

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