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Highest Aspirations Podcast: 5 Essential Episodes From Season 1


As host of the Highest Aspirations podcast, I have had the distinct pleasure of interviewing over 30 guests from all around the ELL Community. As my colleagues and I reflect on Season 1, we wanted to share some of our favorite episodes and why they were so impactful for us and so many others.

So, without any further ado, here is our Season 1 "Essential Episodes" list...

1_0.pngEpisode 1: Talking Dual Language with Dr. Conor Williams, March 28
Here’s a fun fact: this was the first podcast episode I ever recorded! Luckily, Conor was an amazing guest. His knowledge, passion, and sense of humor made for a great conversation about a highly important topic that can be very confusing. We talk buzzwords, benefits, and challenges of dual language programs.


2_0.pngEpisode 10: Project Based Learning and Newcomers with Donna Neary, July 3
As a teacher, I dabbled in Project Based Learning in my Spanish classes, but Donna Neary takes PBL to a much higher level in this episode. Her story about a newcomer student from the Congo who took the lead on building a clay oven in a Louisville park is one of my favorite moments on Highest Aspirations.


3_0.pngEpisode 15: EL Students Create Their Own Podcast with James Housworth, August 29
James and I talk about how other teachers can use podcasts to help their students increase language skills and connect with their home cultures. This one made the “Must Listen” list after the great feedback I heard from educators who were inspired to try this idea with their own students. One such teacher is Amanda Rodriguez from Alabaster City Schools , who told me that after listening to this episode, she decided to have her students create their own podcast!

4_0.pngEpisode 18: ELLs with Disabilities with Dr. Sara Kangas, September 19
Having taught almost every level of Spanish offered in two school districts, teaching language to students with disabilities was top of mind for me. We brought in Dr. Sara Kangas to discuss what best practices look like for this growing demographic. One of my favorite quotes from this episode is, "Every student with a disability can and should learn a language while maintaining their home language."

Highest Aspirations - Website Sizes SQUARE (1).pngEpisode 19: Empowering Refugees and Newcomers at Refuge Coffee with Kitti Murray and Walt Anderson, September 26
The success of any interview-based podcast relies heavily on its guests, and they simply don’t get much better than Kitti and Walt. Passionate, funny, and empathetic, they show our listeners what it means to create not only a welcoming environment for refugees, but also a sustainable path to success. This episode is inspirational and heartwarming. And, I always get compliments every time I wear my Refuge Coffee t-shirt!

Be sure to subscribe to Highest Aspirations here or wherever you listen to podcasts so you never miss an episode. Stay tuned for Season 2 - coming in January, 2019.