The School On The Hill; Yes, It's Mine

This is scary for me, but here we go:

Some of you may have already figured it out; The School On The Hill is the big project I have been working on.

I have resisted exposing my true identity for years and years. It started because I was writing about the district I had worked in and was worried about getting in trouble for being critical.

Well, I don't work there anymore and haven't for a few years, so who cares?

Anyway, in my travails as a teacher and then edu-blogger and edu-activist I became so frustrated with the state of affairs regarding low SES students that I decided to do something about it.

It started with staff meeting frustration and then on to blogging here. It then moved to Facebook where I put pressure on Students First and Education Nation. I then started the TFT Radio show which still happens fairly regularly. And, of course, I tweet.

I have come to realize that social media can't do it all. Maybe it can't even do much, though I will still try.

But I chose to something more direct, more impactfullish, more meaningful, more important, more satisfying and more real; I chose to open a non-profit preschool. And plant some seeds, literally and figuratively.

I had no idea it would require so much work. First, in order to get 501(c)3 status I had to get a fiscal sponsor. This required sending the prospectus around to a few and seeing if anyone would bite (First I had to write the thing, which is not what I was trained to do.). Well, a couple bit and one chose to sponsor The School On The Hill. Thanks, ISI. The sponsor gets 5% of all donations received. Boo. So I am in the process of incorporating as my own 501(c)3 so ALL the donations can be used by the school, not just 95% of them. This will take a few months.

TSOTH's non-profit status has opened the door to tax-deductible donations, especially from foundations that require they donate to non-profits. The School On The Hill is non-profit, making donations of any size tax-deductible (hint, hint).

Another reason I chose to open the school is because a certain foundation liked the idea and pledged a significant donation if we could get it together, which we did, so the donation is on its way. We need a bit more though.

I have worked with children my entire adult life--I am nearly 50 years old. I have degrees and certifications and all the useless nonsense that comes with decades of successful work in a particular field. None of it means much--the kids are the meaningful part. I care about the kids, not the accolades. Besides, nobody else cares about the accolades either!

The School On The Hill is sort of a dream I have had forever. Running a small school --on my property!-- means I can dedicate all I have to the kids. And that makes me happy and enriches them. Perfect.

Now all I need to make the school run the way I want it to run --as a subsidized school for low SES families-- are more donations; actual cash as well as in-kind.

Please, consider making a tax-deductible donation to this awesome school that will focus on broadening the background knowledge of Richmond's children, preparing them for school and life success by providing an awesome farm-based preschool in the heart of the concrete jungle known as Richmond, California.

The School On The Hill is one great way to help ameliorate the stifling effects poverty has on small children. That is the goal of The School On The Hill; to engage with children and help make connections. To guide them. To teach them. To love them.

It takes a village. I need you, villagers! The kids need you!


Rich Sugerman, aka The Frustrated Teacher, aka TFT, aka Teacher Rich

Mario Nguyen Would Like To "Support The Needs Of Standardized Tests"

I get unsolicited emails pretty frequently. This one takes the cake, though.
Good morning Frustrated Teachers,

My name is Mario Nguyen and I represent Applied Practice, an education company. In a few weeks we will launch our blog, which will cover various topics concerning K-12 academia. Applied Practice is a company, founded by two teachers, whose goal is to support educators in developing curriculum designed to meet the needs of standardized tests.

I noticed that your blog, The Frustrated Teacher, is already very active in this sphere. So, I just wanted to say, “Hello!” and possibly establish a relationship. I appreciate your perspective and the work you’re doing in the education system. We firmly believe that communications channels like yours and ours are the best way to spread new and innovative practices, and we’re committed to helping promote your ideas. I plan to interact with your posts, share them, and follow you on all social media channels. I hope you can do the same for Applied Practice on Facebook and Twitter.

I look forward to hearing from you.


-- Mario Nguyen
How thoughtful of Mario. I responded to his kind offer:

Thanks for your email.

You are the enemy of children and public schools if your goal is to teach people how to "meet the needs of standardized tests." Tests don't have needs; animate things do, like children have needs, and birds have needs, as well a viruses, which have needs. Tests? They don't have needs, nor do paper clips.

I will do all I can to destroy you, legally.

Go away. Shut down. Close up shop.

I am going to publish this email exchange on my blog for all to read.


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