This edition of Site Specific takes the form of a dispatch or letter from one classroom teacher to others. Written with warmth, humor, and passion, it is a personal reflection on the remarkable changes that VTS encourages in students over the course of a year. In it, Joseph Zimmer, a second grade teacher at Sherman Multicultural Arts School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, details the astounding growth he observed in his students. Focusing in particular on two, powerful anecdotes of personal transformation, he provides compelling evidence for the ways that VTS can benefit all our students, even under challenging circumstances.
If you are relatively new to this practice, you may be moved by Zimmer’s commitment to and enthusiasm for VTS based on the results he has seen in his own classroom. You may also appreciate his sound advice on facilitating the discussions. If you are a more seasoned practitioner, I think you will find it a refreshing reminder of how powerful VTS can be, for Zimmer speaks directly to the ability of VTS to validate, motivate, and enable our students across ability levels. At its best, VTS encourages each individual student’s sense of agency while at the same time building community and trust in the classroom.
Personally, I find it to be an inspiring and hopeful note on which to begin the academic year. I hope that you will as well. —Madison Brookshire
Special thanks to Amy Chase-Gulden, peer reviewer for the Fall 2018 edition.
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