TeachLab with Justin Reich

Subtraction in Action: Larry Ferlazzo

Episode Summary

Justin sits down with the wonderful and prolific Larry Ferlazzo, an English and Social Studies teacher, author and education blogger. How might subtracting field trip permission slips help address chronic absenteeism? Tune in to find out.

Episode Notes

Justin sits down with the wonderful and prolific Larry Ferlazzo, an English and Social Studies teacher, author and education  blogger. How might subtracting field trip permission slips help address chronic absenteeism? Tune in to find out.


Resources and Links

Visit Larry Ferlzzo’s Website https://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/

Follow Larry on Twitter @Larryferlazzo

Watch our film We Have to Do Something Different

Explore our Covid 19 Reports and Resources

Get your copy of Justin Reich’s book Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can't Transform Education

Check out Jal Mehta’s Book In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School

Subscribe to Jal’s podcast Free Range Humans





Produced by Aimee Corrigan and Garrett Beazley 

Recorded and Mixed by Garrett Beazley


Follow TeachLab on Twitter and YouTube

Follow our host Justin Reich on Twitter

Episode Transcription

Justin Reich:                 From the MIT Studios of the Teaching Systems Lab, this is Teach Lab, a podcast about the art and craft of teaching. I'm Justin Reich. We're back again with another episode in our Subtraction in Action series, and we're very lucky today to have Larry Ferlazzo. He's an English teacher, a social studies teacher at the Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, but he's also just a prolific writer, a blogger, a tweeter. He has thrown many a lifeline to many a practicing educator through a long career of supporting his peers. So super lucky to have him here with us. His most recent book is the second edition of the ESL ELL Teacher Survival Guide from Josie Bass. What I loved about this conversation with Larry is that we got into the heart of subtraction and action.

                                    What you're going to hear in this conversation is Larry and I talking about an urgent problem in Sacramento, an urgent problem all around the country, which is chronic absenteeism, having a tough time getting kids coming back to school, coming to school every day. And you're going to hear us talk about some additive solutions, some new staff that the district had hired, new initiatives it's trying. But what we discovered over the course of the conversation is that there was some real bureaucracy preventing teachers from doing some of the most effective things they could do. It was really hard for Larry to be able to take his students on field trips. One of the very best ways to keep students in school, to get students to want to come back to school. And one of the real obstacles was the bureaucracy that existed around having to do that. Larry's going to tell us that he had to submit a list seven months in advance to be able to take a group of students on a field trip.

                                    And so what you'll hear in the conversation is that we identify a key problem, we talk through a bunch of additive solutions that are out there, but in just 45 minutes of going back and forth, we found some subtractive solutions. And, to me, that's the heart of subtraction in action, reminding us and our colleagues, that not all the ways we have to solve tough problems are adding stuff. We really need to make sure that in all of our problem solving in these days in schools, we need to ask ourselves the question, what might we subtract that's preventing us from getting the outcomes that we want? Let's jump in and have a listen.

Justin Reich:                 Larry, thank you so much for joining us.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Well, thank you for the invitation, Justin. I have been a fan of your work for quite a while and continue to think and continue to recommend your most recent article on subtraction from schools. And as you know.

Justin Reich:                 The power of doing less in schools. Educational leadership.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Right. And as you know, I say it's one of the most important articles in the last couple of years that I've seen on education policy.

Justin Reich:                 Well, I'm very excited to hear why you think about that now. But I thought it might be interesting in this conversation to try to bring an asset framing to it to remind us that that subtraction may be possible. As you look back at your career, what are some of the subtraction success stories that we've had? What are some things that we're not teaching today that you used to teach? What are some things that we're not doing today that you used to do? Can you think of dimensions of schools that we've been successful to getting rid of?

Larry Ferlazzo:              Well, on a small level, for example, at our school, one of the things that has happened is we have moved from having a very restrictive dress code that obviously in retrospect had racist and sexist connotations to a much more progressive one. I mean, we just really don't have one that is enforced and everything goes fine. Okay? The world has not ended and things work fine. If students want to wear a hoodie, they can do that. I mean, and life goes on and it makes for a better school environment for everybody.

Justin Reich:                 And is this a relic of the pandemic? Is this a pandemic shift or did it predate that?

Larry Ferlazzo:              It's not. It began to predate it. I think it certainly came to its total fruition, I think post pandemic. But I think, well, I think and many, many of us began to realize what is really important and realize that those things are not. So, kudos to our administrators for recognizing that.

Justin Reich:                 And did they recognize it in a moment or a declaration? Was it subtraction by benign neglect or subtraction by, "Okay, team, we're going to take a look at this a little bit differently this year."

Larry Ferlazzo:              Well, I think, in the past few years, well, we had a great principle who was longstanding, who did a tremendous transformation of our school. And then a few years ago, we got a new principal who had been a vice principal. And I think with his entry onto the scene and a new administrative team, they began to look at things a little differently. And I think different backgrounds. He had been a teacher at our school, who was the principal, the new principal. And I think he was also committed to looking at how we could make our school, which is almost entirely made up of students of color, more acknowledging of that and not necessarily bringing what might be considered our own middle class values or perspectives to the world and try to look at it through the eyes of our students.

Justin Reich:                 Larry, you've said something there that I don't think I've thought about in all the conversations we've had around this, which is that leadership transitions are a time for all kinds of change and they're potentially a time for subtraction. There's a lot of leadership transitioning that has happened this year, that's going to happen next year. Some of it's bad. There's too much leadership churn in education. Some of it is just being a principal for the last three or four years has been exhausting and it's time for somebody else to take a turn or it's time for people to move on to different things. People getting a break, doing a sabbatical, those kinds of things. So there's a moment here that as people are stepping in to really look around and say, "Hey, maybe there are some things that we don't need to do that we were doing in the past."

Larry Ferlazzo:              Well, I agree. And I also think that one of the things that has happened because of the pandemic is on the district level, it's become a little more apparent where leadership is skilled and where it's not skilled. Because I think generally in normal times, teachers and school administrators are able to cushion and protect our students from many of the decisions that are made on the district level. But I think during the pandemic that we were not able to be as effective shields and where leadership was not skilled, that became very, very apparent in how districts dealt with the pandemic.

Justin Reich:                 Because there had to be some change. You're just entering into unknown worlds of public health, of totally new things. District leaders throughout our 13,000 districts, we heard over and over again, did not do enough listening to teachers, did not do enough listening to the people who were really closest to these problems, but had to make decisions because things that had previously just run the way they had run forever were no longer going to work. And you as teachers were less capable of doing that protection because you were a little bit more vulnerable to fiat and you just didn't know all the time what the right protections were, or tell me how you would interpret all that.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Yes, and I think some decisions were made on how to roll out laptops or how to do unilateral decisions for... I mean, for example, in our district, the superintendent made a unilateral decision about what the schedule would be for distance learning, which was terrible. I mean, the expectation that our students living at home were going to start school, everyone is going to come to school at 8:00 AM when they could do it from their homes was ridiculous. Nobody was going to show up for our first period.

                                    And so schools just refused and basically, all the secondary schools made up our own schedule based on what we saw as what made sense. I mean, the superintendent was apoplectic, but what could he do? I mean, when all the teachers refuse to do it and the families were all supportive of the teachers because the schedule worked for them as well. And that relates to this idea of subtraction. I mean, I think subtraction is doing less, but I think it's also subtraction of power from the central office or almost devolution from the central office of power and programs that either have happened or should happen.

Justin Reich:                 Well, certainly what you're describing made famous in the sociology of schools researcher literature by Carl White, who in Administrative Science Quarterly in 1976 wrote an article called Educational Organizations as Loosely Coupled Systems, where we imagine organizations is tightly coupled systems where a superintendent says something and people do it. But what you're describing here is a canonical example of decisions actually are negotiations. And I think you're describing a subtraction by revolt. Both subtraction of a particular decision and also subtraction of, as you say, the power of the central office.

                                    A lot of my work is with principals and superintendents, and when I sit down with those people, none of them have horns growing out of their head. They're all doing the best they can. But I also spend a lot of time with teachers and constantly convinced that it's really our teachers and students who have some of the best vision on what's actually going on in the field and what to do.

Larry Ferlazzo:              When I initially left college, I joined what's called the Catholic Worker Movement, which is a progressive wing of the Catholic church that has soup kitchens and emergency shelters and combines that with social justice work. And through that, I learned about the Catholic concept of subsidiary, which suggests that the people closest to problems have generally have the best ideas on how to solve them. And I think that works in a lot of ways, in a lot of areas, and it especially works in schools.

                                    But I think unfortunately, I was also a community organizer for 19 years before I became a teacher. And I saw that oftentimes in private foundations, what ended up happening is you had people who had been working in the community for a long time and got tired of it. I mean, they were tired and they would join foundation staff. And instead of becoming reactive to the ideas of people who were still working in the community, they felt a need to try to initiate things without working, without checking with people in the community.

                                    And I think to a certain extent, I've often see both in our district and I talk to teachers around the country, that same situation in central offices where they feel that they don't understand that really their job should be to react to teachers' ideas, to parents' ideas, to students' ideas that they generally will be the source of the best ways to solve the challenges that they're facing. But so often, people in power believe that if they give up some of their power that they will have less. That they view power as a zero sum game, where in fact, the more that power is distributed, the more opportunities and possibilities are created for everyone.

Justin Reich:                 Could you say more about what feels important about subtraction in this moment to you?

Larry Ferlazzo:              I think that unfortunately the concept of addition is very popular now because that's how people naturally or are trained to view the way to respond to challenges. I mean, if you look at the NAEP scores, they see, look at all these other scores.

Justin Reich:                 The NAEP, National Assessment of Education Progress. The Nation's report card just came out this week for Larry and I a little bit a while ago, probably for you listeners, and showed pretty dramatic drops in test scores from last year to this year to no one's surprise. So, filling that in, that's what the NAEP is. Please, Larry, continue.

Larry Ferlazzo:              And many people in power in the education world, particularly since they don't really consult with teachers feel that the way to solve these challenges is to throw more things at them. To throw more time for students even though plenty of research shows that just throwing time at students' instructional time, doing the same thing that's being done during existing time does not work. They want to basically throw a lot of things at the problem to see what sticks, but they don't know what works. I mean, this is the time I think for strategic thinking and for the concept of subsidiary.

                                    I mean, I think if you look at this issue of chronic absenteeism, what our district and other districts are doing, they're bulking up their central office of dealing with absentee issues. What I would suggest, I know some districts in some areas, particularly in Vermont, could do is I'd say give the money to schools to hire people in the community who are familiar with the neighborhoods, familiar with the community institutions to go out and talk with people instead of having social workers from the district, from the central office who have no relations within the local community of the local school to go to people. But I mean that's the bureaucratic mentality.

Justin Reich:                 Is build it up in the middle, add more stuff. And even, I mean, part of subtraction and action might be saying, "Okay, absenteeism, absolutely an urgent issue. Before we think of additive solutions, are there subtractive solutions out there that we're not thinking of? Are there things that are keeping students away from our schools that we might be able to get rid of that would make it more enticing for them to come back? Also, before we start building a whole infrastructure of community organizers to get people into schools, they say, "Look, there's more money coming in, so just take that money, add more people, and you can do more stuff."

                                    But to anyone who's actually hired a team of people, when you add more people, you don't immediately and sometimes, over a reasonable period of time, get more things done. Because hiring those people, training them, managing them, integrating them to the community, that all takes time. None of which no extra time appears with the extra money that comes in. And so, the other things that you were doing before, they don't get the same attention that they had to launch any of these programs. There's got to be someone who already has a full-time work on the weekends, stay late at school's job to do one more thing.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Yeah. And I mean, I would say like in terms of this attendance issue, I mean, our school tried to do some part of that because teachers and administrators on the local level have those relationships to begin with, and not necessarily the bureaucratic mentality that people in the central office do. Another example, I mean, relating to SEL, Social Emotional Learning, is obviously very important for our students. And a lot of districts have been pushing it for teachers as well, but they don't know what they're doing.

                                    I mean, for example, our district made a big deal of saying that free chair massages were available at the central office, but it was all available during the school day. I mean, it's got this big email to everybody, "Oh, we've got these chair massages for everybody. Just come to the central office." And it's like, "But we're teaching at school. We can't go to the central offices."

Justin Reich:                 Yeah, there's a nurse who works in five different schools who maybe in driving in between or something like that could make it over there.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Right, or the other hilarious thing related to SEL is last year we went on a nine-day strike because our district wanted to reduce our pay by dramatically increasing the amount we paid for our health insurance. And-

Justin Reich:                 Yes, reducing teacher pay is not what we meant by subtraction action. I just want to be very clear that of all the things that you can subtract, educator compensation during a pandemic and a labor crisis is not welcome.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Right. And after the district made a big deal saying, "Oh, we provide counseling for people who are dealing with the trauma of the post-strike trauma." And it was like, "Well, why didn't you just not try to screw us in the negotiations?" I'm on the negotiating team. That's the way to begin with. So, there's just a bureaucratic mentality. And I think the other addition, I mean, certainly, I think the issue is not necessarily a subtraction of resources that need to be provided to schools. But the subtraction of, and again, I would also, I would frame it as the devolution of some of the decisions and how it's spent can move away from the central office. And be more available for input from teachers and families and local administrators because I think we are the part of the group that have a better idea of how to do it. I like to throw out one other thing about subtraction.

Justin Reich:                 Please. Yeah, let's hear it.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Is I think the whole teacher prep program in many universities is worthy of revision and how future teachers are trained as well as how are they supported after they are hired. I know that in many, and I have periodically taught at a couple of different, both state and the California State system and in the University of California system, that much of what's taught is really not at all relevant to what's going on in the school. And you're in a situation where, and this again relates to allocation of resources, the expectation is that people are work unpaid as student teachers for a full year. And teachers work unpaid as their teachers on the ground in the class where it's basically an additional class that we have to teach throughout the year without getting compensated for.

                                    That I think there is, if we are serious about wanting to invite new talent and new talent of color, this structure I think needs to change. And at least in California, there's a two-year induction program for new teachers, which I've talked to a lot of new teachers and I've talked to a lot of teachers who have been their mentors in the induction program. And I have never spoken to anyone who has said that those two years are anything but a complete waste of time, the way it's structured.

Justin Reich:                 So, we have to look hard at those. I mean, I think that's a great example of a well-meaning thing. Also, a thing which might be working in some places. I mean the crazy thing to try to get your head wrapped around the whole education system is I'm sure we could find schools or districts out there that would say, "Oh, man, our induction period, like we have this support, we have that support, we get compensated in this way. We figured out these pieces and it works great." And the same thing can just be a total flop in other areas.

                                    All right, so the mentoring, the induction year, we have to look hard at things that might not be working. Maybe we suspend it for five years and see, are we on better off at the end of it? If we are, we'll put it back in, but let's buy some people some time. We need the talent in the classrooms now. We have better ways of inducting teachers. What from the teacher education curriculum would you subtract? What are pre-service teachers spending their time on that they don't need to be spending their time on to get ready?

Larry Ferlazzo:              They spend an incredible amount of time on creating these voluminous lesson plans, which are crazy that they will never have to do again. And I mean, I think one of the challenges in the teacher education programs are that you have people who many instructors, many professors who have not actually taught in a K to 12 classroom for decades. And what are they're teaching, whether it is classroom management or actually, it's not much classroom management or lesson planning, especially post-COVID, it is not really acknowledging the realities of the classroom.

                                    And I know that the times that I have taught in the teacher prep programs, which I don't do anymore because the time is crazy, the students were just thrilled at having somebody, who was actually an active practitioner teaching them how to do to operate in a classroom. I was raising this question on Twitter, is this similar to how medical professionals are trained? I mean, are there people who haven't actually worked practice surgery or been a doctor for decades, so they train doctors? So, I mean, I just have questions about the teacher prep program in many places and how it's structured.

Justin Reich:                 I mean, Medicine is constantly an example of comparison in all kinds of contexts for teacher learning and I think a good one and a helpful one. How do we prepare people in the helping professions? And I think it actually is quite common to arrange medical educators schedules, so that they do a little bit of clinical work. They don't do a lot of it. I mean, some might, but a pretty common, I'm a professor of dermatology or something like that. I've got a few courses that I teach. One course, one semester, one course, another semester. There's some research and some management doing, but I still see patients one morning a week in the clinic or something like that.

                                    You could imagine a system where the superintendent of Sacramento has to teach one Algebra II class at the Luther Burbank High School every semester or once a year. And it might change people's perspective, probably not entirely, but quite well.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Well, I mean, particularly saying because our superintendent has never been a teacher as well, sothat's a whole another question, a whole another issue.

Justin Reich:                 That person would have a lot to learn.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Yes. Well, I want to throw out one other thing in terms of subtraction.

Justin Reich:                 Please.

Larry Ferlazzo:              And I don't want necessarily speak for principals, but I mean, I think administrators spend so much time protecting teachers from central office dictates that are nonsensical, that it is a clear energy and time drain from them. Whether it is in our district benchmark assessments that have no relevance to day-to-day instruction or multiple other district dictates. And I think if you talk to any administrator, they will tell you that a not unsubstantial amount of time of their time is devoted to shielding their teachers from those dictates. And that's, yeah, yeah.

Justin Reich:                 Well, bless those principles because they are doing the work of subtraction.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Yes.

Justin Reich:                 They are taking things that could potentially be coming into the system and throwing their bodies in front of them and removing them, presumably because they... somebody said this in a funny way, which I don't think we've used on this podcast yet. But the most important thing is keeping the most important thing, the most important thing. What we do is say, what can we do with teachers limited time? If chronic absenteeism is a crisis, how are they building relationships with their students? How are they reaching out to the families that have students that are on the edges, on the margins? And then how do we make sure they have the time to facilitate really great instruction, create really powerful learning experiences in their classrooms where kids are learning and they want to come back every day?

                                    And things which are not that we've got to figure out how to not do because there is no improvement in test scores. There's no deeper learning, there's no preparing kids for a career in college if they are not in the building and having a meaningful time and experience there. And then it sounds like what you've done generously is make an invitation to... I think central office staff are probably feeling an enormous amount of pressure from national media, education policy makers when the response to most folks with big platforms looking at the NAEP is to say schools are not doing enough.

                                    And so then, the district leader translates in that into, "Well, if they're not doing enough, we've got to get them to do more." And it's just not a moment to be cramming lots more into schools. The schools are full. Their cup have overfloweth for years now, especially during the pandemic. And we've got to figure out a way to slow some of that down. So, we can celebrate those principals that are doing that ad hoc, rogue subtraction and action of mercifully killing central office dictates before they can make their way into teacher classrooms

                                    Larry, do you have curriculum things for subtraction in action? Is there stuff that's happening in English and Social Studies that you've seen either earlier in your career that you feel like, "Oh, it's a good thing that we finally got rid of that?" Or you in your own classroom, like what are your targets of, "Yeah, we used to do this, but we're just not doing it now because we've got to focus on doing fewer things better?"

Larry Ferlazzo:              Well, I think now, I mean it's not uncommon, I think in our district and many other districts for teachers to do their best to minimize the use of the textbooks that have been dictated by the central office. And that we have in the past been required to go to deadly workshops led by the textbook publishers. So, I think what you see more now is that teachers are much more skilled and much more likely to just put the textbook aside, especially in the era, especially since COVID. And realizing how much resources are out there that are not in the textbooks and are much more engaging.

                                    So, I don't, I mean, I don't really know anybody who uses, any instructor in English or Social Studies who uses the textbook as their central curriculum focus anymore. I mean, I'm not talking about just in my school or district or I'm talking about it anywhere. And I think that is something that I think textbook publishers and central offices don't quite get.

Justin Reich:                 And the effect of the pandemic on that was that the textbooks were not suitable for remote and hybrid instruction. And so teachers just had to, for a period of time, reach out and do other things. Maybe the textbook-oriented lessons are just not that engaging at a time that you really need high engagement to keep kids coming back to keep kids on schools. Are either of those two theories right?

Larry Ferlazzo:              No, no. I think they're-

Justin Reich:                 Are there other things that explain it?

Larry Ferlazzo:              I think they're both. And I think a lot of the textbooks, if they were available online, were almost unusable the way they were available. I mean, it was just the blocks of text and not-

Justin Reich:                 Yeah, the publisher technology where each of them creates basically their own little mini learning management system that nobody wants to use. There's additional costs for using it. It's just putting together a set of links to other interesting things online ends up being a much better experience than forcing people to go to what mega corps like world of history or whatever it is that-

Larry Ferlazzo:              Right, right. And so I think that subtraction has worked out very well for our students and teachers. I mean, it's unfortunate the huge amounts of money that are still spent on textbooks that aren't used. It'd be nice to be able to use that money to get resources that we would actually help students learn.

Justin Reich:                 Now, I think this is really interesting because you're talking about real world, what's actually happening in the classroom, subtraction of the mandated curriculum material in favor of these teacher-created resources. There's a bunch of education researchers and policy makers who will listen to your words with great sadness and say, one of the things that we think might really work to help Schools is to have high quality curriculum materials that people learn how to use together so that teachers don't have to spend their evenings inventing their classes from first principals.

Larry Ferlazzo:              I would agree.

Justin Reich:                 But instead.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Yeah, I would agree. That would be great.

Justin Reich:                 But you're not getting that. That's not what Sacramento bought.

Larry Ferlazzo:              No. And in talking to other teachers, I mean, a lot of teachers are not getting that. There's no question that I would prefer having curricular materials that would be effective for my students than spending the time that I do to create curriculum. No question about it. But-

Justin Reich:                 You don't see that.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Yeah. Right, right.

Justin Reich:                 It's not an offer.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Right, right.

Justin Reich:                 If it was on the shelf, you'd be buying it, too.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Right. I mean, there are bits and pieces. There are bits and pieces.

Justin Reich:                 That's great. Larry, are there any other subtraction that have been on your mind? Are there any other things that we should really be thinking about in this moment that schools could do without?

Larry Ferlazzo:              Well, I mean, I think, Just, the only other things on my list are bureaucratic things. Making it easier for teachers to unblock sites that are blocked by the content filters that will... I mean, our district filter will periodically block my teacher's website, I mean, which is ridiculous. But making it easier for teachers to unblock it or making it easier for teachers to organize field trips. I mean, the number of papers that I have to complete and I have to create a list of students who are going to go on a field trip seven months from the time I'm doing the field trip. I mean, I take students to San Francisco every year. So, before I send out permission slips, I don't even know who my students are going to be. I mean, I teach ELL.

Justin Reich:                 Yeah. Registrar is not even done yet.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Right. And-

Justin Reich:                 The kids haven't moved to this country yet.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Right. It's really.

Justin Reich:                 They're like [inaudible].

Larry Ferlazzo:              Right. That's true.

Justin Reich:                 Really.

Larry Ferlazzo:              And then the field trip and I got students who can't go on the field trip because they weren't there when I made the original list. So, just dealing with those bureaucratic issues would be great subtractions that would benefit students and teachers.

Justin Reich:                 Well, I really want to tie together a couple of threads from our conversation, because I think what we've done in this conversation is the thinking that I hope folks will embrace. One of the things we started with a challenge at Luther Burbank, a challenge at Sacramento, a challenge all across the country, absenteeism, chronic absenteeism. What can counteract chronic act absenteeism? Well, it can be relationships with people in the district. It can also be really compelling opportunities.

                                    It was last spring I think we had our first field trip of folks come from a Boston school into MIT. And one of the students who joined us for that day had not been to school in months. Had not connected with his teacher, but was apparently still checking his email. And we said, "Man, what was it that it brought you here?" And he was like, "I love technology. This was great. I'm having a..."

                                    So, we were able to create an experience that for lots of other students, maybe on the margins or maybe just having a tough time and a tough year, created a rich experience for them. We were able to bring one other student back. And so, there are lots of groups of students that you can interview. Go find people who are about to matriculate from a school, ask them what their most powerful experiences has been in that school. At my daughter's bracket elementary school in Arlington, Massachusetts, when she was coming into the kindergarten, the principal got a bunch of fifth graders up there and eight of the 10 of them said something about a field trip as the most memorable experience from their school.

                                    So, what we're talking about here is not a trivial thing. It's a really important part of the school experience and what maybe could make that possible, that thing that actually might have some leverage on chronic absenteeism and it's going back to that field trip paperwork and having someone at the central office saying like, "How can we either get rid of this or do this for teachers?" That is subtraction in action. It's thinking about a problem like chronic absenteeism and thinking about what are the solutions out there that could take some barriers away that would help teachers do their best work. So, I'm excited that throughout our conversation we managed to stitch some of those things together.

                                    So, Larry Ferlazzo, he is the English, Social Studies International Baccalaureate teacher at the Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento. He is the author of many books and many resources, which I'm sure you've heard him before, but if you haven't, check him out. The most recent, the Second Edition of the ESL/ELL Teacher Survival Guide from Jossey-Bass. Larry, thank you so much for joining us at TeachLab.

Larry Ferlazzo:              Thank you again for the conversation and for the invitation.

Justin Reich:                 I'm Justin Reich and this is TeachLab. Thanks so much for Larry.

                                    I'm Justin Reich and this is TeachLab. Thanks so much to Larry Ferlazzo from the Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento for sharing his stories and for joining us for this episode. And thanks to you for listening to our series on subtraction in action. If you haven't been following along, I hope you go back and listen to the other episodes in the series and subscribe to TeachLab wherever you get your podcasts, so you don't miss the rest of the stories that we have. If you like what you hear on TeachLab, be sure to leave us a rating or a review.

                                    You can check out our new film, We Have To Do Something Different at somethingdifferentfilm.com. You can see the film or sign up to host your own screening. You can learn more about those opportunities, you can check out the screening guide at somethingdifferentfilm.com. This episode was produced by Aimee Corrigan and Garrett Beazley. The sound was mixed by Garrett Beazley. Stay safe. Until next time.