VamVoom - Turning teachers into rubble

Earlier today I saw a friend's Facebook post questioning the sanity of common core math. He had an issue with the way his daughter was being forced to work out problems. A few of us chimed in with our low op pinion on Common Core, others said they thought it was a good idea. I think the fact that my buddy was questioning it is a major strike against CC. This guy isn't just a friend, he's a math teacher. Maybe the best one I know. In fact, he's the teacher I aspire to be. If he's got a problem with how math is taught, he's probably right.

I made a comment also referring to VAM - the idea that teachers should be evaluated by "Value added Measures" - that is, student test scores. Another friend asked about it. I thought I'd write my response up here.

This is just my opinion - I've read a number of pieces over the past couple of years and the facts to back up any assertions I'm making should be pretty easy to find by searching the web.

The idea

VAM is all about evaluating teachers based on standardized tests. In our case, we're talking NY State common core and regents exams. The idea is to tie teacher ratings, and in some cases licensing to these tests.

The exams

Let's start with the problems with the exams. There's been a fair amount of discussion over the past couple of years with regards to age appropriateness and over testing. I'm not going to talk about them. Let's just look at two things.

The gag order

Teachers aren't allowed to talk about common core tests. The questions, scoring, grading - everything is a secret. Methinks Pearson and NY State has something to hide. The party line is that then questions can be reused - I'm calling BS on this.

I've been teaching 25 years. I give about 12 exams a year per class plus quizzes, homework, and other assessments. None of them are secret and somehow I manage as does every other teacher.

By keeping everything a secret there's no accountability. Politicians love to talk about accountability and transparency as long as it's for others.

The scoring

Back in the day, regents exams were given and scored. Old exams were public as was the scoring. If you got over a 65 you passed.

Now, your exam is graded and then only after the fact, when the numbers are in, does the state decide how to map raw scores to final grades. Basically, the state can decide how many kids pass and by how much and they do this after the fact.

Sound fishy and susceptible to political influence?

The evaluations

So, the exams that VAM's based on are already suspect. Let's dig further. At Stuy, 40% of teacher evaluations are from standardized tests. If you teach one of the magic subjects - English, Math, maybe History - 20% of your results are based on your students results and 20% on the school or departmental results.

On the other hand, if you're like me and don't teach regents classes, 40% of my rating is based on exams in subjects I don't even teach.

Even if you could evaluate a teacher based on student exams, surely you can't judge a computer science teacher based on another teacher's students English exam scores.

On top of this, the formula is another one of those state secrets. It's not public and it's worked out after the fact. The state can basically look at all the numbers and then decide where to put the cutoffs.

More problems

They abound. Here are a few:

Just about all of my kids do very well on the AP Computer Science exam. Am I a good teacher because they all do well or a bad one since they don't improve.

What about the kid that doesn't do particularly well but ends up ultimately becoming a computer professional. I've had a number of graduates that fit this bill that have credited me with setting the spark. According to the system those students are failures as am I.

What about kids that don't have the same teacher all year? Those that already know the subject? Family factors?

On top of this, people, like my friend and colleague Gary Rubinstein have shown that VAM scores vary wildly and there have been numerous reports showing that evaluating teacher based on student test scores doesn't work and is just a bad idea.

The bottom line

VAM is just another reason I can't recommend teaching to pretty much anyone.

Teacher's aren't against being evaluated, we just want a fair and meaningful evaluation and more importantly a structure that can help us do better.

The title

So, for the title, I keep seeing Vavoom - a character from "Felix the Cat" that could level mountains with a single VAVOOM


October 31, 2014. Twenty years after my first Stuy Halloween.

Little did I know that a goof of an idea would turn into a twenty year tradition. This year, I had a chance to team up with Natan in his senior year. Last time we had a Zamansky family duo for Halloween it was Batya cameoing in our Austin Powers - Dr. Evil sketch. This time it was me and Natan center stage. We've been wanting to do "The Pit of Ultimate Darkness" for some time now. We knew it wouldn't have the room rolling on the floor with Laughter but we had a lot of fun and I think the classes enjoyed it.

And in case anyone's looking for what we've done during Halloweens at Stuy in past years, here's a Youtube playlist:


Reunions, StuyCS and community

In a few hours Devorah and I will be off to our thirty year high school reunion. It's going to be a boat ride - reminiscent of those excursion day trips to Bear Mountain that Stuy had back in the day.

Having taught CS at Stuy for the last twenty plus years, I've also been invited to my share of reunions as a teacher. Sometimes the current crop ask me about the reunions and how they compare to mine. I usually say that the reunion that I just went to was pretty much the same as my high school reunions just that I knew more people at the reunion that wasn't my class.

I guess that makes sense – as a teacher I work with and get to know a large swath of students over their careers - when I was a student I was pretty quiet and fairly asocial. I had friends, but not a huge amount. Since 1984 I've only kept in touch with a few. Ben, Bill, John, more recently, Eliza and Steve. There are others would have like to have stayed in touch with but life happens.

As it turns out, while each year is different, all the reunions I've been to have had a similar vibe. Similar clicks, similar groups, and similar conversations. I guess that's what happens when you put a bunch of smart people interested in a range of things in a room together.

Funny thing is, I don't think the Stuy Vibe is unique to Stuy. I'd bet that, if you permit me to posit, that Bronx Science reunions are largely similar and if we put some Science alums in a Stuy reunion and the conversation was not Stuy specific, we probably wouldn't spot the interlopers.

I also had another reunion of sorts earlier in the week. As many of you know, I maintain our StuyCS Alumni group or family, sometimes called the StuyCS mafia. We had our latest meetup this past Wednesday Around 60 Stuy alums, most of whom are my former students but some from '84 and even before gathering together sharing food, drink, stories, and fun. At the end of the evening I was chatting with Peter and Ilya. We spanned 25 years of Stuy but we're all part of the same family. Incidentally, if anyone reading this is in Tech and a Stuy grad, head over to fill out the form and join the family.

I've been thinking about my Stuy class and the StuyCS family a lot recently. Probably because I see that the end of the Stuy portion of my career is close at hand. The thing I've realized is that my Stuy isn't the building on Chambers street nor is it the one on 15th. It's my graduates, who have become my friends and my classmates that started that way. It's like minded interesting people who do interesting things and it's about the type of kid that grows into that type of person.

Looking forward to reconnecting with some of those people in a few hours and meeting some that I never knew before.

Using easy assignments to introduce deep concepts

In this early part of the semester, the students don't know all that much. We haven't covered that many language constructs let along algorithms, development techniques and all that other good stuff.

In terms of the "Java" part of APCS we've talked about basic types, Strings, basic classes, loops and conditionals. We're limited in the tools we have but we can still get the classes thinking in the right way.

Last week, when we introduced loops we spent some time drawing shapes.

Starting with things like




Simple nested loop stuff.

String s = "";
for (int r = 0; r < height; r++) {
  for (int c=0; c<=r; c++ ){
return s;

Things get interesting when we looked at the next one:


It seems like a simple little problem with a simple solution:

What I love about it is that you can look at it in a couple of interesting ways.

First, you can look at those spaces as a triangle in and of themselves (replaced with # below):


Well, that's almost the same as the Triangle1 from above. Also, if you take away that triangle of spaces, you're pretty much left with Triangle1.

The structure of the code can look something like:

String s="";
for (int r = 0; r < height; r++){
  // loop over the number of spaces we need for this line

  // loop over the number of stars we need for this line

return s;

We can also look at the problem just as a series of lines. How many spaces and how many stars:

Let's say height = 5

| row | spaces | stars |

Wait, I know that!!!!

If I'm doing my job right, by the time my kids graduate they can learn on their own.

It's like when two years ago, before starting her summer internship, Batya listed all the tools and technologies she had to work with. When I pointed out that she hadn't ever used any of them before and asked how she was going to deal with it, she replied "I'll figure it out." And she did.

At the end of the summer, Dina told a similar story about her internship and how she knew she'd figure everything out because of the solid background she got by going through StuyCS.

I loved both these stories.

But getting the kids there takes time.

Yesterday, in my AP classes, I assigned three codingbat problems. I decided to go objects first this time round so we haven't done any language constructs. The problems were simple String manipulations but I added one that needed conditionals.

Today we went over them. Most of the class solved the assignment and most had either no trouble or had to do just a little work.

I asked what about that last problem might have caused some difficulty.

They couldn't figure it out, it seemed pretty straighforward. After a number of guesses, one student said:

"Wait, we don't know ifs"

That was it. They didn't realize that they had taught themselves something new.

This, of course, doesn't just happen.

They've seen conditionals in all sorts of guises.


(if boolean_expression


if boolean [True part]


ifelse boolean [True part][ False part]

and Python:

if bool:
elif bool2:

and so on.

So they new the concept, from there it was just details.

Some said they just wrote it and it worked. Some said they looked up sample code. Most didn't think they were doing anything new.

It was pretty awesome.

It's still a long road before they graduate, but we're getting there.

A birds eye view of my career

It's hard to believe that this is my 25th year teaching and that my first StuyCS class graduated in June 1995. It's really hard to believe that I'm now looking at the end of a significant part of my life and career.

Over the summer, Mariya, Kachun, and Stella, all writers for Stuy's Spectator worte an article that chronicled StuyCS. It's a really nice piece. It skirted the battles I've had and the fact that we get no love or support from Stuy or the DOE, but still, as I said, it's a really nice piece.

the original can be found here but I've copied the article (with permission) below.

Two decades in about two pages.


How to Hack Yourself a Class

By Mariya Gedrich, Kachun Leung, and Stella Ma

Imagine Stuyvesant without a computer science program. Aspire to pursue a career in software development? Nope, but perhaps you could go into the ever-lucrative handmade telescope business after taking a telescope assembly class. Want to explore all the features of your laptop? Well, that’s probably not happening at school. Want to take Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science? Good luck getting into that one class taught by that one teacher. If this seems like a hassle to you, it was definitely a problem 20 years ago when this was the reality.

Today, every Stuyvesant student is expected to graduate with at least one semester of Introductory Computer Science, and for those who are interested in continuing with the course, there are plenty of classes offered. In fact, AP Computer Science is one of the most sought after classes every year. Last year, around 400 students applied to take the class, and an extra section had to be added to accommodate the disappointed students who did not get in. In 1994, however, Stuyvesant had only a few classes dedicated to the use and study of computers. There was no official computer science program other than one AP Computer Science class taught by a math teacher who was much more passionate about teaching math than about teaching computers.

A new math teacher at the time, Michael Zamansky, was teaching geometry. Zamansky, felt out of place teaching a math class. “I’m not a mathematician, I’m a computer scientist,” Zamansky explained. Before long, it was clear that the switch was inevitable. Zamansky enthusiastically recalls the day he was taken out of a class to talk to math chairman Richard Rothenberg: The previous teacher said, “‘Richie, I don’t want to teach computer science—Mike does.’”

And that was when the ball started rolling.

In the fall of 1994, Zamansky started teaching the AP Computer Science class. In turn, enrollment skyrocketed as there was now an enthusiastic and passionate teacher. Juniors and seniors filled four sections of the class, more than ever before.

The classes fostered a new interest in computer science among students. Feeling that there was much more to be done with this new enthusiasm, Zamansky asked his class if they’d like to have a spring class in Systems Programming, a class in which students would learn about memory organization, interrupts, and computer representation of numbers. Although both his students and the administration approved of this idea, Zamansky was unable to fit the class into the students’ 8-period schedules, especially since they had other commitments like math team in the morning. The solution came when students volunteered to stay an extra period after school, making Systems Programming a ninth period class. Students readily signed up; Zamansky was now staying after school every day with a group of students eager to learn. Noticing how popular the Systems Programming class was, Zamansky decided to create a fall semester supplementary course in Advanced Computer Graphics, in which he taught students how to use C and Pascal. Because of the popularity of these classes, the electives were incorporated into the schedule and staying after school was no longer necessary by the fall of 1995.

The classes proved to be a massive success. Computer science students were getting involved in international competitions, claiming top spots wherever they went. The result of the newly formed computer science classes was a very close-knit subculture. All of his students shared a common interest and now had a venue for developing it. “That cohort from Mike’s first class really bonded as a group,” recalled alumnus Yu Ping Hu (’95) in an e-mail interview. “I remember cutting all my classes for days on end to spend time in the lab with other kids in the class to work on our projects and hang out (and Mike kicking us out when he found out about it, not that it stopped us from doing it again when he wasn’t in the room).” In addition, “Hackers,” a film about a young boy who was arrested for writing a computer virus, was filmed at Stuyvesant, and a real life hacking incident took place. These events helped create traditions and lore for that community, according to Hu.

Zamansky also helped foster a community by teaching with a fun, playful attitude. According to former computer science teacher and alumnus Boris Granovskiy, students and teachers constantly played pranks on each other. “I definitely remember one day when there were several bake sales at Stuy, and so Mr. Zamansky and some of my friends bought up a bunch of pies and ambushed me when I got to the classroom, leading to a chase around the classroom and a lot of flying pastry,” he recalled.The annual Halloween tradition of all the computer science teachers dressing up and performing skits for their classes has its roots in Zamansky’s enthusiasm for dressing up in an elaborate costume. “The first year I taught, Mr. Zamansky and I dressed up as Hans and Franz from Saturday Night Live and walked around trying to teach in character the entire day,” Granovskiy recalls. The following year they both dressed up as the Hulk and had to somehow teach by only using grunting noises.

Even though a vibrant culture had formed around the classes, only a small portion of the student body was a part of it. “A lot of kids won’t even think about computer science,” Zamansky explained. The ones who did, however, often fell in love with it. Alumnus and computer software developer Anita Verma remembers how she originally took Zamansky’s Introduction to Computer Science (Intro) class when it was an elective during her sophomore year. “I had heard great things about Mr. Zamansky, and I always loved computers, so I was very excited to take his class,” she said in an email interview. Although computer science was new to her, she quickly became fond of the class. “Classes never felt like a grind, like most of my other classes did. Looking back at these classes now, I understand that this is what learning is supposed to feel like, when you find something that you are passionate about,” she said. “I retained everything I learned in those classes, and used that as the foundation of the computer science education I would receive at college and in the workplace.”

Verma is just one of many of Zamansky’s students who have gone on to have jobs in the tech industry, with some working at Google and others at the National Security Agency. “When one of my students got his doctorate, he gave me a copy of [it], and he’s a good friend of mine now…when another student wrote a book, I’m in the acknowledgments,” he said. “So I know these guys appreciate me but I’m like, ‘can’t I do more?’”

That was when Zamansky decided to pursue a required Intro class for all students by what he considered “hacking” the school’s system. He started working on his idea for this program in 1997, but did not get the chance to make it a reality until 2002, when drafting teacher Timothy Pon left Stuyvesant. Since Pon left behind a drafting class, Zamansky was able to swoop in and substitute one of his Intro classes for the drafting class as a graduation requirement, a move that pleased a large portion of the student body. “Students began to say, ‘Hey, this is ridiculous. Computer science is so much more valuable,’ since the whole idea was that we want to give you the basic tools to inspire you and get you to think like a computer scientist,” Zamansky said.

The additional Intro class added yet another teacher to the computer science faculty, Boris Granovskiy. It was the students in Granovskiy’s class who were allowed get a graduation credit for their Intro class to replace the drafting requirement. Students, however, began to complain that it was unfair for only one Intro class to satisfy the graduation requirement. “If you were in my class you didn’t get credit because it was only for this one substitute,” Zamansky explained. After the complaints increased, the administration caved in and allowed all Intro classes to get credit.

Once a single semester of Introduction to Computer Science (MKS21) was officially a graduation requirement, Zamansky began to work on creating a second semester class for his intro program, MKS22. “The whole idea behind Intro to Computer Science is that during MKS21, the first half, you learn to think like a computer scientist. But in MKS22, you’re gonna use real stuff. We do data analysis…and this is something that no matter what field you’re going to go into, they’re gonna help you,” he explained. Finally with the success of creating a whole year of Intro, Zamansky was able to achieve his goal of teaching computer science to the whole student body.

Although the wide array of computer science classes has grown into one of the most popular programs in Stuyvesant, it still faces several obstacles. The most prominent of these problems is that this program is not classified as a separate department because there is not a separate licensing for computer science teachers. Since the computer science programs are classified as math, it leads to several conflicts of interest, namely the daily functions of the program. This includes hiring and evaluating teachers and transferring students between classes. Furthermore, some of the computer science teachers are also math teachers, which causes problems when creating schedules each year. Assistant Principal of Mathematics Maryann Ferrara in particular has to deal with these problems; while hiring teachers, she has to find a fair way to allocate money for teachers between both the math department and the computer science program, according to Zamansky.

Even though Zamansky and his program have faced problems to this day, he continues to take pride in what he has done with it. During his interview, he joyfully recounted memories of his students and their achievements of working for companies like Electronic Arts, Google, and Facebook. Besides the individual student accomplishments, the program has grown beyond the walls of Stuyvesant to include an organization called Computer Science and Technology for Urban Youth, a computer science program at St. Joseph’s College that pioneered this summer. Taught by several of Stuyvesant’s computer science teachers including JonAlf Dyrland-Weaver and Samuel Konstatinovich, the goal of the program is the same as it was in the beginning: to expose more students to computer science and to give them a venue to develop their skills.

And so, from a single section of AP Computer Science taught by a single teacher in 1994, Stuyvesant’s computer science program has grown into a sophisticated program that is one of a kind. “We had investors who wanted to invest in our student projects before they graduated. That doesn’t happen anywhere. We’ve got this very special thing that is nowhere else in the country,” Zamansky said. “There’s really nothing comparable to it.”

Building a High School Summer CS Program - SHIP

I wanted to do a couple more posts on the CSTUY summer program SHIP, particularly about getting funding and reflections but I think I'll just wrap things up with the school year starting.

Overall it was an amazing success and I'm amazingly proud of the entire team (in no particular order):

Devorah, JonAlf, Sam, Yulia, Topher, Ethan, Leslie, Brian, Andreas, Natan, Miranda, Nadia, Fawn, Lise, Jessica, Angela, Benedict, Elise, Fish, and Derek.

and also proud of all the shipmates. Looking at where they started and where they ended up – they were really terrific.

The only downside is knowing what we can accomplish when we have the freedom, it reminds me about how badly we're handcuffed by our school and the department of education.

Here are links to all the posts in case anyone's interested:

Teacher Ratings

A while back I posted about the new teacher evaluation system in New York.

I originally wrote about the system here and a little more here.

Well, the results are in and I got my evaluation. What type of teacher am I? According to New York City I'm "Effective," which is basically run of the mill.

Let's look a little deeper. At the end of the day, each teachers receive a numeric score from 0 to 100. The score maps to a grade as follows:

0 - 64 Ineffective
65 - 74 Developing
75 - 90 Effective
91 - 100 Highly Effective

With "Effective" being pretty much the old "Satisfactory."

My overall score was 88.

How did they arrive at that?

Over the course of the school year teachers are evaluated by their supervisors. Using the Danielson Framework for teaching. I consider the Danielson stuff bunk and have yet to be observed by someone who knows my subject area (Computer Science) but I do have a fair supervisor who is supportive of her teachers.

I scored 58 out of 60.

The rest of the rating comes from standardized tests. Let me once again go on record to state that basing teacher ratings on student scores is asinine but it's actually worse. For teachers like myself who don't teach regents courses, our scores come from school composite grades. The city/state have super secret formulas that, incidentally are figured out after the results are in to map my schools regents results onto my evaluation grade. Yep, 40% of my rating is based on students I haven't taught taking exams in subjects I don't teach.

The end result? We were awarded 30 out of 40 points.

The end result 58+30=88.

So, since my kids didn't show growth on history and English regents, I'm a run of the mill teacher.

I think it's time to find another profession.

State test scores - don't fall into the trap

Test results are in:

The other week, the NY State third through eight grade high stakes test results were released. This was immediately followed by the usual spin an posturing. The reformers privatizers would claim things like "These charter schools did better than those public schools" while people like me would say "Those charter schools have different populations" and so on.

As you know, I've never bought into the "miracle school" rot and my friend and colleague Gary Rubinstein has done a great job at debunking many of these schools with the so called "secret sauce."

When the results came out, I got caught in the trap. I started to cite the reasons why the charter schools with phenomenal results are not really so wonderful. One can look at:

  • Attrition rates
  • Test prep
  • Lack of back fill
  • and more.

The Trap

So, what's the trap? We shouldn't even be acknowledging the validity of these exams.

These are the 3-8th grade exams so I don't know that much about them, but I do know that:

  • They're not made by teachers.
  • "Cut scores" are made after the fact - that is, the powers that be can arbitrarily decide what passing is.
  • The exams can't be used to drive instruction.
  • Exam questions are a tightly held secret.

There are probably more, but I can't think of them now.

So exactly what is the value to the students and how do we know what these tests are testing?

What it really comes down to is that we don't trust our teachers. If we did, we wouldn't be giving statewide tests.

Closer to home

What I do know more about are regents exams and they're just as ridiculous.

Public schools ship out their tests for grading while charters grade their own. Any wonder why some charters report better results?

The exams also range from being reasonable assessments to ridiculous. I remember one year there was a proof on the regents where the question gave the statements and reasons and the student had to put them in order. Another year, they had to match the reasons to the statements. Both ridiculous. Other years, the proof questions are in my opinion reasonable.

Just as with the 3-8 grade tests, teachers can't use these exams to drive instruction because they're given at the end of the year but at least the questions aren't sealed so the following year teacher has some clue. On the other hand, the "cut score" is again made after the fact. Ever wonder why test scores are usually up during election years?

And of course, in some cases, the tests just miss the point. At Stuy, most of our ninth graders take a class that is usually called Geometry and the state regents exam is called the geometry regents and is all about Euclidean Geometry. The problem is, the course is really all about logic and deductive reasoning using Euclidean Geometry as the platform. This is of course missed on a standardized exam.

The point:

The big point here is that as a nation we don't trust teachers. By the time we get to the end of the semester, I know what my kids know and generally how they will do on exams, projects, papers and the like. I have a good idea as to if they've mastered what I've been trying to teach.

Instead, large amounts of taxpayer dollars are going to private companies, placing kids under great stress while narrowing their curricular possibilities and using junk science to remove good teachers.

Building a SHIP - The Crew

The Crew

One of the most important, possibly the most important part of SHIP's success was the crew and that's what sets us apart.

I've seen CS Ed organizations run by business people, lawyers, investors and more.The people developing curriculum are EdTech people, entrepreneurs and anything but seasoned educators. I've seen programs developed, curriculum created and then the search for teachers commence. Ofttimes real educators aren't involved at all.

We're teachers all the way down.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's not about the curriculum, it's about the teachers. Take, for example, math. Math curricula have been well defined for years but we still have major problems with math education. The bottom line is that it's the teacher in the room that can bring a topic to life or kill it. A great teacher can make a lousy curriculum decent. A great curriculum won't do anything for a lousy teacher.

That's where we will succeed - we've got the best teachers and that's our crew.

Now, onto the crew.

I'm fortunate enough to have worked with some terrific teachers. If they'd allow it, I'd like to think of three of them as my proteges. Sam and JonAlf were actually students of mine when they were at Stuy but I include Topher in the mix. Our fourth teacher, Yulia, was JonAlf's student teacher this past year.

Coaching trees have become popular in recent history. It's kind of cool that we have one for CS teachers.

Coaching tree

Of course, it extends up as well, although my mentors, excepting Robert, didn't teach CS.

Extended coaching tree

And of course the rest of the team have other influences as well.

So let's talk about the crew.

JonAlf Dyrland-Weaver

I like to describe JonAlf as a younger, hipper version of me. Of course, I set the hip bar pretty low. I tell my kids that I used to be the young teacher but I was never the hip teacher.

JonAlf and I are probably the most similar in style. Of course, this means that if you put us in a room together, all productivity ceases. We've come up with such great ideas as our mascot, Clyde "Thluffy" Sinclair," the Stuy CS semi-formal and more (or is that less).

He's been my partner in crime since he came on board. Back in the day I was the only teacher of our post AP classes and I was delighted to offload some of that burden to JonAlf.

Topher Brown

JonAlf was the hip one (with the bar, admittedly set pretty low) until Topher came aboard. Topher didn't go to Stuy so he can never be a made man, but he's pretty awesome, nonetheless. He came in as a math teacher who just coincidentally had a bit of a CS background. He fit into our insanity from day one.

Sam Konstantinovich

Sam was also my student. He's the mature one (again, the bar was set pretty low). I joke that he has the reputation for being the mean one because his first day at Stuy he said something that scared some of his students. Definitely more together and organized than the rest of us I tried to convince him to join our team for three or four years before he finally came over.

Just to be sure no one misreads my comments on Sam. I've trusted him with my son's CS education. I think that should tell you how much I think of him.

Yulia Genkina

Yulia's the new kid on the block. We all went in feeling very positive about having her on the team. At least until she tried to off all of us on Pirate Day.

Yulia trying to off JonAlf

and me

Seriously though, she fits right in and is also a real talent.

That's the crew. I'm amazingly proud of all of them and one of the things I was most happy about my role in SHIP was that I was able to empower them to be themselves and just do their thing. When you have a great crew that's how you do it.

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