California Educator

Mortuary Science Not for the Faint of Heart

How do you prevent maggots from infesting a corpse? What happens if gangrene begins to set in? What’s wrong with only preserving the visible parts of a corpse – the hands and face – instead of the entire body?*

As the students in Embalming 101 heard answers to these important questions from Cypress College Mortuary Science Department instructor Glenn Bower, I felt slightly queasy. We’d come to the school straight after landing in Orange County in the early morning. Fortunately I was on an empty stomach. I put my queasiness aside and took copious notes.

We only had two hours, but in the end, I was so fascinated that I wished I could have stayed all day at the unique mortuary science program (See October’s California Educator).

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Seeing the Common Core in Action

After years of seeing what No Child Left Behind has done, it was downright refreshing to visit 10 classrooms that were piloting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for a story appearing in the June issue of the California Educator.

Instead of just being the “sage on the stage,” I saw teachers acting as “facilitators” for students taking responsibility for their own learning. Rather than being spoon-fed information in the traditional “front-loading” way, students had to tell the teacher what they didn’t understand and then fill in the missing puzzle pieces themselves.

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Extreme Makeover: The Uncluttered Teacher

We had no idea what we would find when we walked into Steve Dillon’s classroom. At first glance, it didn’t look too cluttered aside from a messy desk and counter top, and I wondered if we had driven three and a half hours from San Francisco to Corning for nothing. But a closer examination inside desk drawers, cupboards and under the desk revealed years of accumulating stuff that was ready to be tossed out. You can read all about that in the September issue of the California Educator.

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Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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