“We’re really into creating teen change-makers,” she says, during a recent sit-down at her workspace, the CoWork Cafe in Arlington. The former government employee saw the energy and mobilization of young people over the years, especially when others seemed to turn a blind eye to it.
“Teens have historically always had a big role [in societal changes],” says Staheli.
She’s the one-woman band behind the Arlington-based nonprofit Global Co Lab Network, an organization dedicated to helping individuals from ages 13 to 35 foster collaboration and address the tougher, bigger issues that the world is facing today.
“I really wanted to find out how we could address these global challenges, and mobilize key people to solve them,” says Staheli.
In order to do that, Staheli created an organization that would allow her to tap into the motivation of the youth by connecting them with mentors (using some of her own connections), fostering communication opportunities and ultimately making change happen as a result.
For more education content, subscribe to our weekly newsletter,
After four years and over 50 local meetings, Teens Dream Co Lab was co-created with the help of local NoVA teens (from high schools such as Oakton High School and the Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology), as a branch of the Global Co Lab Network that is dedicated to bringing students together virtually, to address topics from climate action to gender equality.
“A lot of organizations focused on the youth population over 18,” says Staheli. So, according to Staheli, she decided to meet the need of those looking to get involved who might be deemed “too young” or “too inexperienced.”
The nonprofit is now partially funded by a partnership with the Smithsonian and other organizations, using its platform to create virtual spaces for students all over the world to connect. There are “co labs,” (i.e. virtual hangouts and discussions) that touch on tough topics, speak several languages and mobilize into bigger initiatives when they can.
And back in September, members of Teen Dreams Co Lab marched in solidarity with well-known, teen climate crisis advocate Greta Thunberg in Washington, DC.
People like Thunberg are the perfect example of the type of young individuals that Staheli wants to get involved in Teen Dreams Co Lab.
“This is for any kid on the planet who wants to be a change-maker,” says Staheli. “It’s all about empowering them.”
For the sixth year in a row, the organization launched its annual video competition. It’s one of its biggest initiatives worldwide, having previously gathered more than 400 submissions from over 40 countries.
This year’s competition will name nine winners in April 2020. Each winner from across the globe will win up to $500 and will be sent to Washington, DC, where each teen will be honored with an award and paired with a mentor to learn and experience further the type of change they want to make.
Until Jan. 13, 2020, students can submit a two-minute video focused on Earth Optimism (a partnership and initiative by the Smithsonian Institute) and pertaining to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. According to Staheli, it’s incredible to see what national and international students come up with.
“Teens want to be a part of the solutions,” says Staheli. And she’s hoping to help them get there, one step at a time.
The organization is still in its growing phase, says Staheli. She is always on the lookout for mentors and students who are looking to get involved. No matter what skills you bring to the table, Staheli believes you can find a co lab to fit into and help propel towards action.
“We truly want to incubate initiatives and bring people together,” says Staheli.
The addition includes two rehearsal halls, six practice rooms, two classrooms and two additional lobby spaces. The expansion allows for students, artists, faculty and staff to further educate, rehearse, perform and collaborate at the university.
It also completes the original vision for the Hylton Center, after nearly a decade of understanding what the university and its population requires in order to propel its art community forward.
One of the rehearsal halls has the floor size of the Merchant Hall stage, and the other of the Gregory Family Theater, allowing performers to practice in areas that are sized for full-scale performance rehearsals. The spaces also feature flexible seating, advanced acoustic treatments and spring dance floors.
The project was funded in part by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the generous support of private donors. Early contributions from the Cecil and Irene Hylton Foundation kick-started the Hylton Center’s Capital and Endowment Campaign, which is close to reaching its goal of $31.5 million. The campaign has also raised funds for the Hylton Center’s Endowment Fund.
An invite-only ribbon cutting will be held in partnership with the Prince William Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. // Hylton Performing Arts Center: 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas
Stay up to date on everything happening in Northern Virginia will our newsletters.
There’s more to school lunch than just chocolate milk and PB&J sandwiches, right?
DC-based Sweetgreen, the fast-casual restaurant that has been a part of the demand for healthier lunches across the country, is once again re-imagining lunch—but this time, it’s only for kids.
Want more education stories sent straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our Education e-newsletter to stay up to date.
The company has launched a new initiative called “Reimagining School Cafeterias,” with FoodCorps, a nonprofit focused on connecting children with healthy lunch options in school cafeterias. The partnership was propelled by a two-year, $1 million pledge by Sweetgreen with a goal of reaching an estimated 50 schools by the 2020-2021 school year.
During the current rollout to 6,500 students at 15 schools, the partnership has led to experimental small-scale projects, such as the Taste Buds Flavor Bar in New Mexico (where kids can customize a meal with spices and sauces); a Tasty Challenge in North Carolina (allowing students to vote on a type of produce prepared three different ways); and a multi-week program called Our Cafeteria Project in California, where students can offer suggestions on how to improve their cafeteria experience and then implement them.
The pop-up experiments are allowing students the opportunity to choose items for themselves, mixing and matching flavors and ingredients to make something that could end up being more appetizing and nutritious than an average cafeteria meal.
By offering more choices and access to healthy options, the company hopes to “advance the health of our nation’s 30 million students eating lunch every day,” according to the website, and also combat the statistic that one in three students are on track to develop diabetes in their lifetimes.
Back in May, there was a story about how a football coach at the Parkrose High School in Oregon stopped a troubled young man with a gun at the school.
But now, KOIN 6 News has released video of the event, showing just how dramatic the situation was and how lucky everyone involved was that that coach was there and did what he did to stop the young man.
The student, Angel Granados-Diaz, was 18 and he brought a shotgun into a classroom at the school.
The coach, Keanon Lowe, who doubled as a security guard, had been called to the building to find Granados-Diaz.
He then tells what happened next.
“I walk in there, I get to the classroom, I’m in the classroom for 15, 20 seconds — you know, I ask the teacher, ‘Is the student here?’”
Granados-Diaz was only steps away with the shotgun tucked under his coat.
“The door opens — I’m within arm’s length of the door, about 3 feet away from the door, and there’s a kid with a gun, a shotgun,” Lowe said. “In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast,” he said. “I saw the look in his face, look in his eyes, looked at the gun, realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over.”
Lowe said running away never crossed his mind.
“I lunged for the gun, put two hands on the gun. He had his two hands on the gun and obviously the kids are running out of the classroom and screaming.”
Lowe handed off the gun to another teacher and then held the student in a hug, both to control him and to soothe him. “I felt compassion for him; a lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over,” Lowe explained.
Meanwhile the other students ran and police started to flood into the school looking for the the man with the gun.
Here are the videos showing it as it happened.
The gunman entering the hallway with the shotgun and the coach entering the hallway unaware the gunman is there.
In a totally reasonable response to a child doing something they shouldn’t, a 13-year-old girl was arrested after making finger guns at four other students at Westridge Middle School in Overland Park, Kansas.
According to the Kansas City Star, the girl had been bullied for months according to her mother, Vanessa McCaron. At one point, they found her in the corner of the cafeteria sobbing by herself.
The Star reported that, upon being asked by a classmate who she would kill in school if she had the chance, the girl pointed at other students with finger guns. She was promptly sent to the office where she was then arrested by the school’s on-duty police officer and charged with felonious threatening:
A school resource officer, employed, by the Overland Park Police Department, would have handled the arrest, Smith said. The department said it could not discuss the case.
But according to Johnson County District Court documents, on Sept. 18, the girl “unlawfully and feloniously communicated a threat to commit violence, with the intent to place another, in fear, or with the intent to cause the evacuation, lock down or disruption in regular, ongoing activities …” or created just the risk of causing such fear.
McCaron pleaded with the officer to not arrest her daughter, but the officer wouldn’t relent according to the Star:
“He said, ‘I will press charges against anyone who I think has broken the law,’” said McCaron, who contacted The Star following Wednesday’s initial story about the incident. “He had such a great opportunity to use his badge to change something in a child, but he chose not to,” she added. “I think this is an insane abuse of power.
The mother has reassured everyone that her child is “anti-gun” and that she would never harm anyone despite the constant bullying she endures.
So many things have gone wrong here.
For one, the girl is apparently bullied by cruel children to the point where she’s sobbing in corners, and yet no one wants to take action until she makes the shape of a gun with her fingers. An abuse of authority takes place in her arrest, all out of fear that the child’s “finger guns” are indicative of a greater oncoming threat. She’s put into handcuffs, doubtlessly further scarring the child emotionally.
Meanwhile, her bullies are going unpunished without a hitch.
What would have happened, if the adults in the room had their senses about them and had simply sent the girl to the principal’s office to talk with her? Upon speaking to her about the incident, they likely would have found that this girl would not have hurt anyone, but did have a reason for doing it.
Upon investigating this reason, a better course of action would have taken place. Perhaps they could be more on the lookout for bullying behavior from students and/or institute harsher punishments for those who do bully their fellow students. They could have helped this girl by giving her emotional support and making her very dark world appear a little brighter.
Instead, the school and local authorities joined in on the bullying.
I get that many schools are jumpy thanks to school shootings in the past, but abandoning every lick of sense and compassion because someone remotely perceives a threat is not going to make the situation better. In fact, this kind of abuse and isolation is how these killers are created.
Blatant indoctrination has come to Illinois on the government level as, starting on July 1, 2020, schools will be legally required to teach children LGBT history and be forced to buy textbooks on the topic.
According to Joy Pullman of The Federalist, Illinois’ new curriculum won’t just take place during a short amount of time within the school year. It will be something that continues on throughout it. Students will be subjected to various books like “My Princess Boy” and “I Am Jazz” as well as a documentary that compares mixed-race and single parenthood families to families with LGBT parents:
District 65’s full LGBTQ+ week curriculum can be viewed online. To get a sense of of what this public school district is teaching the children in its care, and what the new LGBT curriculum in all Illinois public schools will look like starting next school year, let’s look at a few selections from their preschool and kindergarten curriculum for this week. This is for children ages 3 to 5.
Teachers were given a lesson plan on slides that include movies and a teaching script to show and say to the children each day of the week. The children are shown, among other things, a video of someone reading aloud the book “Heather Has Two Mommies,” famous transgender teen Jazz Jenning reading his picture book “I Am Jazz,” a book read aloud on video called “My Princess Boy,” and the apparently highly awarded video below. The script tells teachers to use materials like these throughout the year, not just during LGBTQ+ Equity Week.
The “highly awarded video” Pullman mentioned stops for a moment to talk about the intolerance toward the LGBT community. It also seems to contain a polyamorous family, as one child describes his two mommies and two daddies.
Afterward, the students are shown pictures of various types of families, like those seen in the video. The children are expected to respond with a “yes,” according to Pullman:
The children are also openly catechized in LGBT affirmations. For example, the script tells the teacher to say after one video: “OK. Let’s see what we learned. For each picture, you tell me if this is a family. Ready?” The children are clearly expected to say “Yes” to each.
The aforementioned slides introduce children as young as three to various concepts such as “gay and lesbian” and “gender identity.” Slides containing “Black Lives Matter” messaging is included as well.
Pullman reported that parents and teachers have already raised opposition and concerns about this curriculum, with many wishing to opt their children out of it. However, one district school board President has responded by stating that no child is allowed to excuse themselves from the curriculum.
“Our administration has heard from a number of parents who want the ability to opt their children out of this curriculum. The District 65 Board of Education does not support allowing students to opt out of this or any curriculum that seeks to include a more complete account of the role of historically marginalized people in our society, as such curriculum is vital to supporting our district mission of preparing students to contribute positively to a global and diverse society.”
So, unless you pull your child out of public school, your child is going to be indoctrinated whether you like it or not, and all in the name of a “diverse” society.
While a family teaching its own children their values is one thing, this is the forcing of values on other families through their children. The fact that these families can’t opt out is a heinous intrusion on the belief structure of a family upon a child against that family’s wishes.
This goes beyond “tolerance” or “inclusion.” This is now a cultural stance being forced into acceptance. In fact, it could very well be viewed as intolerance toward values that don’t align with the LGBT community.
When it comes to local after-school programs, there is no question that there are a lot to choose from. Art classes, music lessons and sports practices are just a few that come to mind.
But with recent emphasis in educational settings on STEM education, there’s one topic that comes up as an important skill for students time and time again: coding.
Chad and Ellen Hamel saw the potential in the Northern Virginia area to reach more local children with the lessons of coding, especially with Loudoun County Public Schools starting to push more coding in its curriculum and the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington. So, they decided to open Virginia’s first location of TheCoderSchool.
“It’s a passion project for us because we really want kids coding,” says Chad Hamel, a co-owner and operator of TheCoderSchool.
Chad Hamel, a local veterinarian, and his wife, Ellen Hamel, a local nurse, have both worked in the health care industry for nearly 20 years and have watched technology transform their jobs over time. Although they don’t have college degrees in coding or computer science, they believe strongly in offering the opportunity in an area that Chad refers to as, “a data hub for the internet and high-tech industries.”
“There’s a significant deficiency of high-quality coders out there,” says Chad. “It’s a skill that’s needed now, but also in the future as those jobs continue to grow.”
The location’s technical adviser is Stevens Miller, who holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Amherst College, a master’s degree in computer science from the Stevens Institute of Technology and is a Unity-certified developer. Working alongside Miller are other teachers, of which, according to Chad, 85% have college degrees in computer science.
Also, says Chad, TheCoderSchool prides itself on its low student-teacher ratios (two-to-one in lessons and six-to-one in classroom settings), so students can feel confident in learning the necessary skills and climb the “foundational tree” that includes evolving lessons on how the internet works, website development, game creation and more.
No previous coding experience is required to enroll your child, and since kids can be challenging with long-term commitments, there’s even a free trial where local students can try lessons, get their hands on the programming and understand what coding is all about.
“We want kids to be excited and to be fired up about learning,” says Chad. “And if your child is ready and interested, we are not cookie-cutter, so we can provide them with the opportunity to fit a curriculum, or a program or a coach into their life and get the foundational skills of coding.”
In the future, look out for partnerships with local nonprofits that will combine intellectual and physical activity for after-school participants. Ellen is a firm believer in instilling wellness behaviors in children from an early age, and is looking to partner with local martial arts locations, among others.
Until then, you can enroll or learn more about TheCoderSchool’s local offerings on its website. Plus, don’t miss the mascot, “Magellan, theCodingAlpaca,” who doesn’t make appearances at the actual Ashburn location, but does live on the Hamels’ 10-acre farm (with four alpaca siblings) in Round Hill, alongside their two young sons. // TheCoderSchool Ashburn: 42841 Creek View Plaza, Suite 110, Ashburn
Choosing where your kids should go to school is a challenging process. From classroom size to the variety of curriculum, there’s a lot to consider when making the final decision for where your children should expand their educations.
Lucky for you, Northern Virginia is home to hundreds of hubs for education, including several private schools that host open houses on an annual basis each fall. At each event, you and your child have the opportunity to meet teachers and current students, peek into classrooms and walk around campus, truly getting a feel for the school.
Whether you’re set on immersing your son or daughter in a single-gender educational experience or are interested in learning more about college-preparatory schools, the choice is yours. Here, we share info on Northern Virginia private schools’ upcoming open houses.
For more Education content, subscribe to our e-newsletter.
Burgundy Farm Country Day School Oct. 11 & Nov. 11, 9-11 a.m. Grades: Junior kindergarten through eighth grade Mission statement:Burgundy Farm Country Day School believes that children learn best in an inclusive, creative and nurturing environment that engages the whole child. Burgundy’s innovative, hands-on approach to education cultivates independent thinking, promotes academic excellence, instills respect for diversity and teaches responsibility for self, for others and for the natural world. // 3700 Burgundy Road, Alexandria; RSVP required
Bishop O’Connell High School Oct. 13, 1-4 p.m. Grades: High school Mission statement: We are a college-preparatory Catholic high school in the Diocese of Arlington serving ninth through 12th grade students in a co-educational setting. It is our mission to provide students an education rooted in the life of Christ and to foster the pursuit of excellence in the whole person.// 6600 Little Falls Road, Arlington
Commonwealth Academy Oct. 15 & Nov. 12, 9:30-11 a.m. Grades: Third through 12th Mission statement: Commonwealth Academy is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for average to gifted students who benefit from small classes and instruction designed to address various learning styles, including those students who have organizational, attention or learning differences. // 1321 Leslie Ave., Alexandria
Potomac Crescent Waldorf School Oct. 16, Oct. 28, Nov. 13 & Nov. 18, 9-10 a.m. Grades: Early childhood programming and elementary education for first through fifth grade Mission statement: We strive to develop thoughtful, fulfilled citizens who have the capacity to think imaginatively, communicate effectively and relate compassionately. We believe in the Waldorf curriculum for educating the whole human being: head, heart and hands, which nurture well-rounded individuals who will be successful in school and beyond. // 3846 King St., Alexandria; RSVP required
Middleburg Academy Oct. 18, 8-11 a.m. Grades: Eighth through 12th Mission statement: Middleburg Academy inspires students to excellence in academics, the arts and athletics. We are a dynamic community of students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni dedicated to lifelong learning, service to others, personal growth and the success of each student: Cognoscere, Ducere, Servire (Learn, Lead, Serve)is not only our motto, but our daily practice. Middleburg Academy strives to develop young men and women of moral integrity who who are responsible leaders and citizens in a diverse and ever-changing world. // 35321 Notre Dame Lane, Middleburg; RSVP required
Oakcrest School Oct. 19, 2-5 p.m. Grades: Sixth through 12th Mission statement: Oakcrest School, in partnership with parents, challenges girls in grades sixth to 12th to develop their intellect, character, faith and leadership potential to thrive in college and throughout their lives. // 1619 Crowell Road, Vienna
Ambleside School Oct. 20, 3-5 p.m. & Nov. 6, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Grades: Lower and middle school Mission statement: Ambleside School is a Christ-centered school committed to providing a Charlotte Mason “living education.” In partnership with the family, we guide and empower each student to think with the mind of Christ and to author a life rich in relationship to God, self, others, ideas and all of creation.// 8980 Brook Road, McLean; RSVP required
Westminster School Oct. 22 & Nov. 11, 9-10:30 a.m. Grades: Pre-K through eighth grade Mission statement: Westminster School looks for families who are seeking an outstanding educational program and an all-around experience that will help their child grow in character, confidence and enthusiasm for learning and for life.// 3819 Gallows Road, Annandale; RSVP required
The Langley School Oct. 23, 9-11 a.m. Grades: Preschool through eighth grade Mission statement:The Langley School’s Arc of Development recognizes that there are predictable cognitive, emotional and social milestones that do occur. With this model underlying our curriculum, schedule and classroom structure, Langley students receive age-appropriate instruction and challenges every day, and at every grade level, helping each student reach his or her intellectual, social and emotional potential. // 1411 Balls Hill Road, McLean; RSVP required
BASIS Independent McLean Oct. 26, 10 a.m.-noon Grades: Age 2 through 12th grade Mission statement: Our mission is to educate students to the highest international levels with a spiraling liberal arts and sciences curriculum benchmarked to the best education systems in the world. Our advanced curriculum, unmatched in breadth and depth, prepares students with the content knowledge, critical thinking and self-advocacy skills needed to be successful throughout their education and well beyond. Our passionate, expert teachers are unwavering in their belief that with hard work, the right support, encouragement and inspiration, any child can excel. We are committed to a joyful learning culture where hard work is celebrated and intellectual pursuits result in extraordinary outcomes. // 8000 Jones Branch Drive, McLean
The Madeira School Oct. 27-28, times vary & Nov. 14, 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Grades: Ninth through 12th Mission statement: Launching women who change the world; leading innovation in girls’ education. Editor’s Note: The event in October is an overnight experience that will show prospective boarding students what it’s like to live at Madeira. // 8328 Georgetown Pike, McLean; RSVP required
The Potomac School Oct. 27, 1-3 p.m. Grades: Kindergarten through 12th Mission statement: At The Potomac School, we believe that intellectual development, love of learning and strength of character are complementary and equally essential educational goals. With a firm commitment to our core values and a rigorous academic program, we prepare students to lead lives of purpose, achievement and generosity of spirit. // 1301 Potomac School Road, McLean
Congressional School Oct. 29 & Nov. 21, 9 a.m.-noon Grades: Kindergarten through 12th grade Mission statement: We provide an inspirational and challenging student-centered educational experience within our diverse and supportive community where children question, collaborate, create and lead. // 3229 Sleepy Hollow Road, Falls Church; RSVP required
Saint Ann Catholic School Nov. 3, noon-2 p.m. & Nov. 19, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Grades: Preschool through 8th grade Mission statement: The Saint Ann Catholic School family believes, achieves and inspires. We believe in the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. We achieve personal excellence in an academic community that strengthens and nurtures mind, body and soul. We inspire one another to glorify God by embracing His call to love and serve. // 980 N. Frederick St., Arlington
The Academy at Metropolitan School of the Arts Nov. 4, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Grades: Seventh through 12th Mission statement: The Academy at Metropolitan School of the Arts is a college preparatory performing arts conservatory for budding young artists who are dedicated to high caliber academics and pre-professional performing arts education.// 5775 Barclay Drive, Suite 4, Alexandria; RSVP required
Merritt Academy Nov. 4, 9-11 a.m. Grades: Infants through 8th grade Mission statement: Our school is built upon three foundational pillars: academic excellence, character education and service to families. // 9211 Arlington Blvd., Fairfax; RSVP required
Green Hedges School Nov. 9, 10 a.m.-noon Grades: Montessori preschool through kindergarten & first through 8th grade Mission statement: We inspire young people of talent and promise to develop clear values, a desire for wisdom and an appreciation for all endeavors which broaden the mind and enlighten the spirit.// 415 Windover Ave. NW, Vienna
Browne Academy Nov. 11, 9-10:30 a.m. Grades: Preschool through eighth grade Mission statement: Browne Academy is a diverse independent day school committed to developing the whole child through extraordinary teaching, exceptional academic programs and a nurturing community. We empower students to be critical thinkers, inspired innovators, engaged peers and ethical leaders prepared with the confidence to thrive in a dynamic world. // 5917 Telegraph Road, Alexandria; RSVP required
Grace Episcopoal School Nov. 11, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Grades: Preschool through fifth grade Mission statement: The mission of Grace Episcopal School is to nurture a learning community that promotes academic excellence in the Episcopal tradition, and encourages spiritual growth, moral responsibility and service to others. We educate the whole child intellectually, spiritually, physically and socially, and build a solid foundation and enthusiasm for lifelong learning. // 3601 Russell Road, Alexandria; RSVP required
Pinecrest School Nov. 11, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Grades: Preschool through sixth grade Mission statement: Pinecrest School is a nonprofit, progressive private school in Northern Virginia, serving ages 3 to 12. We are committed to creating and supporting an inclusive and equitable community that values the diversity of our students, families and faculty. Pinecrest offers a strong focus on critical thinking, STEAM instruction, mindfulness and an individualized approach to education. // 7209 Quiet Cove, Annandale
Immanuel Lutheran School Nov. 14, 9-11 a.m. Grades: Pre-kindergarten through eighth grade Mission statement: ILS offers a strong liberal arts curriculum, Christian character formation and a rich academic environment that encourages subject mastery and inspires a genuine love of learning.// 1801 Russell Road, Alexandria; RSVP required
“Someone once told me that you can make a lunch as healthy as you want it, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t taste good, kids won’t eat it and you’ll end up with healthy trash cans.”
That’s how manager of Cuisine Solutions K-12 program Bill Stablein explains the motivation for the Sterling-based company’s growing concept, Café+Teria, found solely in local school cafeterias.
The program began two years ago when the company decided to move away from catering to professional chefs and home cooks, and test out some of its sous-vide style recipes in three Arlington County public schools, ultimately gaining attention from board directors, nutritionists and dietitians alike.
That’s why when the academic year began in September, the customized lunch program debuted in four Virginia school districts, as well as one in Pickens County, South Carolina, expanding from eight school partnerships in 2018 to 16.
“One of the biggest things people kept telling us was that participation in cafeteria programs tends to dip at the high school level, so that was really who we wanted to attract,” says Stablein of the program. “We’ve seen kids flock to fast-casual concepts after school, so we put two and two together and realized it’s an easy way to get them a credible, tasty meal following USDA guidelines.”
At each Café+Teria site, students are able to choose their own base of grains, salad or a wrap, followed by a protein of antibiotic-free chicken, ground beef or paneer cheese. From there, a rotating menu of Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican and Caribbean-themed ingredients are available for students to pick from.
The food also provides students with nutritious value not always offered at a typical public school cafeteria. And according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, students with healthy eating habits are better learners, with research reflecting that nutrition has an effect on academic achievement.
“We really wanted to incorporate vegetables as a component of the meal,” says Stablein. “A lot of the time, kids are offered vegetables as a side, like roasted broccoli or asparagus, but they often won’t eat it, because it’s on the side of a better option.”
The Café+Teria concept is now part of cafeterias in Arlington, Alexandria, Loudoun and Frederick counties, with plans to expand nationwide in the future.
According to Stablein, the program thrives due to the enthusiasm from students, with favorite meals varying from district to district. But what is the most popular item in all counties?
“Hands down, it’s the taco,” says Stablein. “They can get a tortilla, salad or brown rice base and choose the toppings they want, and then the entire thing has taco seasoning. It’s really the most popular across the board.”
Benner, who is black, accused the district of failing black students by not holding them accountable for disruptive behavior. The district was being led then by Valeria Silva, who sought to reduce racial disparities in student discipline.
Resultantly, as per his 2015 federal lawsuit, the school system — despite him having never been reprimanded in 19 years as an educator — used four separate investigations to essentially force him to quit.
Well, on Tuesday night, a settlement was won. And it ain’t no little bag of coins, neither.
Aaron scored $525,000.
In an email, he expressed his gratitude toward a higher power:
I thank God for all the blessings in my life. I turned 50 this year, got married in July and now (there is) this settlement.
The system issued a statement, among which lay the absence of admitted guilt:
This agreement enables the district to avoid the time, expense and uncertainty of protracted legal proceedings regarding its previous policies, practices and expectations.
Of course, ultimately, it isn’t the district that’ll cough up the dough, but the taxpayers.
However, St. Paul seems cool with spending from the trough.
“For the past five years the St. Paul, Minnesota school district has spent nearly $3 million on ‘white privilege’ training done by a far-Left outfit called the Pacific Educational Group. That training tells teachers to overlook transgressions by minority students; to treat them differently than white students.”
Maybe they can save on that kind of instruction going forward.
Aaron now serves as an administrator for St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall charter school.
Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.
If you have an iPhone and want to comment, select the box with the upward arrow at the bottom of your screen; swipe left and choose “Request Desktop Site.” If it fails to automatically refresh, manually reload the page. Scroll down to the red horizontal bar that says “Show Comments.”