To Whom It May Concern:
We’ve been extremely fortunate to have known Barbara Rabin over the past six years. We’ve known her as a teacher watching our children grow—she was our daughter’s 1st thru 3rd grade teacher and our son’s 2nd and 3rd grade teacher at Living Wisdom School in Palo Alto, Ca. We’ve also known her as a colleague working behind the scenes helping to build great schools—she was my husband’s colleague on the Board of Directors at both the Living Wisdom School and the Young Spirit Foundation. Throughout this time, we’ve been incredibly impressed by Barbara’s abilities in these various capacities and find it extremely gratifying to be able to provide a recommendation of her.
Both of my children entered Barbara’s class as readers of books filled predominantly with pictures; both departed as readers of book filled predominantly with text. Barbara was invaluable in guiding our children through this intellectual journey. Narrative theories abound about what happens when a child makes “first contact” with the written page and grapples with a “text” larger than their immediate experiential world—rest assured that there is no better teacher to entrust the stewardship of a child through that voyage than Barbara. In her classroom, where children are taking the first steps towards becoming more sophisticated readers, she teaches the children not only to “read” another world but to develop the tools of how to “read” their own world and give voice and language to their inner character. Barbara possesses the unique gift of motivating a child to understand the silences, hints, and gaps between explicit words and possible inferences. Her classroom approach transcends the ideas on the page and goes to the heart of each child’s life. Writers such as John Updike have captured the act of reading as truly the most democratic form of communication, for it gives every character and perspective an equal due. Barbara embodies this approach—she instills in each child the confidence that they have both the right and privilege to speak, and more importantly, to be heard. She understands at a core fundamental level that it is a child’s ability to articulate their circumstances clearly that helps to build the compassionate community around them.
As a fellow board member of LWS and the Young Spirit Foundation, she has brought her unique qualities and insight into the background process of what makes a great school. As a LWS board member, she has framed the global curriculum for the whole school, bringing dynamic, cutting-edge theories of education into the everyday lives of the children. In doing so, she has personified the syncretic approach to education, working to implement innovative policies for students from a variety of cultures with different abilities. She has been tireless in leading and coordinating the continuing education of the school teachers, including conducting weekly meetings with new teachers. In short, she is at the heart of the K-5 curriculum at LWS and her signature is on every aspect of every teacher’s approach. Similarly, as a board member of the Young Spirit Foundation, she’s made innumerable critical inputs into the formation of a charter school. She takes delight in every aspect of teaching and that carries into what defines good teaching.
We know that we are far from being alone in our appreciation for all that Barbara has done. Wherever she is, she brings laughter and love. She’s the rare teacher who imparts compassion and intelligence to every aspect of life. We feel deeply fortunate and grateful that her amazing abilities and rare qualities bless all our children’s lives.
Usha Narayanan, Esq.
Unni Narayanan, Ph.D.
November 22, 2010