As Changing Perspectives continues to grow and implement our curriculum into more schools, we’re thrilled to get to know more and more educators. One such educator is Sam Starr, school social worker at the Gildersleeve School in Portland, CT. Sam has been a school social worker for 20 years and says he “enjoys finding solutions to both micro and macro problems.”
In an effort to improve his school climate, Sam helped bring the Changing Perspectives curriculum to the Gildersleeve School this year. He first learned about Changing Perspectives when Sam Drazin, Executive Director of Changing Perspectives, spoke at the Advent School in Boston, MA. “He made quite an impression of my niece and nephew who attend Advent,” recalls Sam. After becoming curious about what the Changing Perspectives curriculum includes, Sam reviewed the website and was pleased to “discover that the program has a common core aligned curriculum with incredibly rich lessons. It allows each teacher to individualize their lesson plans based on the needs of their classroom.”
Sam has been delighted to witness excellent conversations in classrooms and feels that Changing Perspectives has increased awareness and empathy for many students. “The Changing Perspectives lessons have really helped students experience the challenges of having various disabilities. This leads to excellent conversations in the classroom,” he reflects. “I have witnessed more honest dialogue about disabilities. I have seen students speak about their disabilities in front of their class for the first time. I have seen students experience the frustrations of those with disabilities.”
Sam additionally appreciates that the Changing Perspectives curriculum helps facilitate conversations that might not otherwise happen. “My favorite part of the Changing Perspectives curriculum is the permission it has given all of us to talk about difficult topics. At times, they feel like the elephant in the room. With Changing Perspectives, there is no topic out of bounds while all remain in a safe space.”
Sam was also pleased to discover how teachers can easily customize the lessons. “I have explored many “character education” curriculum in the last 25 years. Changing Perspectives is the only one that allows you to individualize the lessons within each classroom while keeping the preparation to a minimum,” he explains.
Thank you for partnering with us, Sam and the wonderful teachers and faculty at Gildersleeve School!