Mentorship & Motivation in Education
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November is often considered a time for reflection and gratitude. Friends and families gather together to give thanks. Some cultures and religions designate the month of November as a time of remembrance of those who have passed away. The month is also filled with many other celebrations! For instance, did you know? . . .

  • November 5 is National Doughnut Day (This is a favorite with my family!)
  • November 6 is National Saxophone Day (I've been playing since I was 9 years old!)
  • November 8 is National S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. Day (Let's ensure that the "A" is there to represent the Arts.)
  • November 11 is Veterans Day
  • November 14 is World Kindness Day
  • November 20 is National Adoption Day
  • November 25 is Thanksgiving Day
  • November 27 is Small Business Saturday
  • November 30 is National Day of Giving
Those are a few of my favorite celebrations this month. However, as we give thanks this November for all that we have, please consider celebrating American Education Week to honor and show gratitude for every amazing stakeholder in our school communities - students, families, educators, and support staff of all kinds. Thank you for the work you do each day to ensure that every student is safe, nurtured, inspired, and loved.

If there is anything I can do to support YOU in pursuing your dreams, please let me know. Thank you for your kindness and support. Embrace your uniqueness!
💗 Lori

Featured Reading


A Pathway to Perpetual Purpose and Pride: 
Sharing Stories About Ourselves

As we settle into a productive pace for the school year, take some time to reflect on the first several educational weeks that have elapsed. What processes, strategies, or tools did we use to get to know our students and colleagues? Did we take the time to listen to their individual stories before hastily leaping into the continuous grind of routines? Did we attempt to form relationships and establish understanding? Did we display care before demonstrating content? Are we ensuring that the stories of our students and colleagues permeate the curriculum, studio, classroom, department, and school? Did we even ask these valued stakeholders to share their unique stories? How does this distinct knowledge of our students and colleagues shape instruction, collaboration, and communication?

Now, consider this storytelling technique from a different perspective. What processes, strategies, or tools did we implement for our students and colleagues to get to know us? Did we share information, tell a story, perform an act, create a video, design a presentation, and/or show photographs? How does this unique knowledge about us shape our students’ learning and our colleagues’ partnership? How might it enhance their correspondence, comprehension, and/or confidence? Imagine the impact that sharing details about ourselves could do to strengthen a pathway to perpetual purpose and pride within our collaborative learning spaces.

Article collaboration: co-authored with Jonathan Grantham, Amador Valley High School (California)

Read the Full Article



How are we making key changes to foster connection and meaningful relationships with our students and colleagues? How did we attempt to get to know them this school year? Did some techniques work for some students and not others? What do we remember that worked well for us at that particular age? How can we ensure that these relationships continue to develop throughout the school year? How can we show gratitude for each of our students and colleagues?



“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”

~ James Allen

Past Reading


Show Gratitude: Make Real Contact by Giving Thanks, and Meaning It

In the haste of a busy routine, we are often programmed to respond with a quick “Thanks!” or “You’re the best!” or maybe a high-five, a thumbs-up, an emoji, a post on social media, or dare I say—no response at all. What if we slowed the tempo a bit? What if we made a conscious effort to show gratitude? What if we gave thanks in a way that underscores how we really mean it?

Let's take some time this season to consider our “fall” into education. When did we aspire to become an educator? Who motivated us to do so? How did our professional journey begin? Who ignited this spark within us? Who continues to offer us wisdom? How can we show gratitude to those who have inspired and supported us?
Read Lori's Thank You Letter



American Education Week

Thank you to the National Education Association (NEA) for the organization's efforts to "Celebrate public education and honor the individuals working to ensure that every student receives a quality education." 

Did you know that American Education Week is November 15 - 19, 2021? Each day of the week is designated with a specific theme:
  • Monday, November 15: Kickoff Day
  • Tuesday, November 16: Family Day
  • Wednesday, November 17: Education Support Professionals Day
  • Thursday, November 18: Educator for a Day
  • Friday, November 19: Substitute Educators Day
Learn More About American Education Week



Ideas for American Education Week

Here are a few more ideas. Have we considered adding one into the mix this year?
  • If visitors are permitted inside of your school, ask your administrator if students' family members would like to attend class one day during the week of November 15-19. If they are a musician and have the proper PPE, ask them to bring their instrument/voice to play/sing along or simply to observe.
  • If outside visitors are not permitted inside of your school, ask your administrator if students' family members would like to attend class virtually instead and/or invite school staff to join your classroom during November 15-19. Ask staff to bring their instrument to perform/sing, read their favorite book related to your subject area, or discuss how your subject/class influenced their life. Consider all school staff - administrators, counselors, educators, support staff, interpreters, administrative assistants, custodial staff, cafeteria staff, and more!
  • Ask your students to write a message, create a video, design a presentation, produce a skit, or draw a picture explaining what they would do if they were an educator.
  • Write individual thank you notes to your students.
  • Write thank you notes to your students' families.
  • Write thank you notes to your colleagues - any of them!
  • Create your own unique habits!
  • Don't forget . . . if you are a parent/guardian, too, consider ways to celebrate and show appreciation for your children's education.

Student Opportunities


Did you know that some institutions of higher education offer scholarships to the children of K-12 and community college educators? Here is an example:

McDaniel College, Maryland - Educator's Legacy Scholarship

To honor and recognize the importance of excellent teaching, McDaniel College offers a scholarship of up to $120,000 ($30,000 annually) to the children of K-12 and community college educators who have at least four years of current employment in a school setting and are eligible for full-time benefits at their institutions. Any service in a K-12 school or community college qualifies as long as the employment is directly through the school or college — teachers, counselors, nurses, support staff, administrators. 

Solo & Ensemble Festival season is approaching! What is your state, county, or district offering as student performance opportunities this year? Here are two opportunities:

Maryland Music Educators Association - Fall Solo & Ensemble Festival

​​This Festival opportunity seeks to welcome all Maryland music students grades 6-12 to submit recordings for adjudication by MMEA Festival Judges.
  • Information
  • Submission window: November 22, 2021 to December 8, 2021 at 11:59pm.

Howard County, Maryland - Secondary Solo & Ensemble Festival

Students enrolled in a music class (6th - 12th grade) at their school in HCPSS are eligible to participate. The secondary festival is scheduled to return to an in-person event, with virtual availability for a few circumstances. Events to be offered include band, orchestra, vocal, guitar, and piano.
  • Information was distributed to music staff on November 1.
  • Application due: December 10, 2021
  • Festival:  January 29, 2022

Educator Opportunities

Music Program Leaders Forum

The 2021 NAfME Music Program Leaders Forum will provide relevant professional development for music program leaders and district arts coordinators working in the PreK–12 school setting, aimed at establishing and growing networks of collegial support for those in the profession.

Searching for a Mentor?

Request mentorship from Lori or request a consultation for your classroom, studio, or program. Lori can also recommend a mentor who fits your needs. 
Request Mentorship

November Engagements


Speaker – Music Educator Professional Development

November 2, 2021
Tredyffrin Easttown School District (Pennsylvania)
  • Session #1:  "Build It and They Will Come: Recruiting and Retaining Students"
  • Session #2:  "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Am I Providing Opportunities Reflecting All?" 


Speaker – Fine Arts Educator Professional Development

November 2, 2021 - virtual
Rahway Public Schools (New Jersey)
  • Session: "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Am I Providing Opportunities Reflecting All?"

Presenter – Music Program Leaders Forum

November 4, 2021 - virtual
National Association for Music Education (NAfME)
  • Session: "Stronger Together: Create, Collaborate, and Connect with Administrators"
  • Co-Presenter: Principal Shiney Ann John, Howard County Public Schools (Maryland)

Speaker – Music Educator Professional Development

November 8, 2021- virtual
San Bernardino City Unified School District (California)
  • Session:  "Making Key Changes: Refresh Your Music Program" - Part 1 of 6

Contributor – "Part 1: Why Practice Works"

November 9, 2021
National Association for Music Education
writing collaboration with Kyle Oberhauser, East Amwell Township School District (New Jersey)



Lori enjoys the following invitations:

  • designing / presenting school-based / district-wide professional learning opportunities for ALL subject area K-12 educators (face-to-face & virtually)
  • receiving commissions to write stories about the amazing things people / organizations are doing to better our world
  • speaking in classrooms to K-collegiate students (face-to-face & virtually)
  • guest conducting / adjudicating bands of all levels
Please reach out if you have unique ideas for future collaborations. Let’s be creative and work together to make key changes in education!
Suggest a Collaboration


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