This issue, we asked teachers in the Knowles community to share stories of instances where a teacher’s leadership in or out of the classroom had a direct influence on a student’s life.

My colleagues have pushed to add a bunch of engineering classes, aquaponics, and the state’s only marine biology course at our school of 700 students. It’s incredible how excited some students get about this work and how deeply it makes them think about science, problem solving, and working together. I see kids coming in early, staying late, skipping lunch, etc., in order to work. That group includes many students who didn’t love or excel in traditional science classes. Props to the teachers who went above and beyond to make these novel things happen!

Dan Voss, 2016 Teaching Fellow


My first year at a new school I had a student I was mentoring who was always late, skipping, rude to me and other teachers, and I had no idea how to support her. My principal gave me $10 and told me to take her to Starbucks. We walked together, got to know each other and just be outside of school. Our relationship started to improve after that day!

Camden Hanzlick-Burton, Senior Fellow


One of my colleagues started a teacher-student mentoring program from scratch this year, to help identify and support students who are struggling at our school. It’s still in the pilot stage, but she’s put together a group of 10 or so mentor teachers who are working hard to use research-based yet personalized interventions with our students.The group spent the first five weeks of school looking at student data and gathering teacher feedback to select the first group of student mentees. So far, each mentor has reached out on a one-on-one basis to their mentees, and there’s been a really positive response from the students.

Heidi Park, Senior Fellow

An ongoing feature in Kaleidoscope, Raise Your Hand, features short responses to a writing prompt. Do you have an idea for a storytelling prompt? Contact us at

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