October 31, 2011 § Leave a Comment
This Thursday night, the Uptown JCC is hosting a Kindergarten readiness forum for parents. The event is open to the public. I would love to attend, blog about it and use the information shared there to influence what I’m working on. Unfortunately, I will be out of town.
I am travelling to Shelby, Mississippi, with my 4.0 Schools colleagues to work with an awesome group there called Students Involved in Community Change. A group of high school students organized to positively impact the town of Shelby (pop 2,926), and 4.0 is involved in their work.
Is there a reader out there who plans to attend this event, or who would consider attending and reporting out to me and/or guest blog their experience there? Please let me know via email or in the comments section below.
October 26, 2011 § 5 Comments
I liked Rafe Esquith from our first interaction. I sent him an email and asked if I could stop by to see his classroom for a little while one afternoon while I was in Los Angeles on my 4.0 Schools’ trip. He replied, “If you can only stay an hour or two, you’d be wasting your time. You need to see an entire day. If you cannot do that, I understand, but the motto of our class is There Are No Shortcuts. That goes for us as well as the kids!”
Sure enough – upon entering, I see a large banner that reads, “There are no shortcuts” stretched atop the whiteboard at the front of the classroom. Rafe coined the term. Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin visited Rafe’s classroom in the early nineties and there are many aspects of Rafe’s room which influenced KIPP design from the onset and persevere to this day.
When Rafe told me, “I teach one lesson the entire day,” I nodded in agreement as I tried to hide my bewilderment. How can the ‘best teacher in America’ just teach one lesson the whole day? It didn’t make sense. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 24, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’m in Southern California for much of this week. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time. Here’s what’s on the schedule for the next few days:
Tuesday: High Tech High in San Diego
Between those great edu-visits and crashing on my brother’s couch, it’s going to be a great few days.
October 21, 2011 § 4 Comments
In his latest podcast, ESPN writer Bill Simmons talked with Ticketmaster CEO, Nathan Hubbard, about the constantly changing state of the ‘live event’ consumer. The conversation began with a focus on how fan purchasing behavior has influenced the current state of NBA, and flowed into everything from the NHL to Taylor Swift to MTV in 1984 to future fan experiences at live sporting events (think smart phone integration). In addition to being a riveting conversation, it was incredibly relevant to my current work at 4.0 Schools: practicing empathy and ‘knowing your users.’ I was particularly struck by something Hubbard said about 12 minutes in: « Read the rest of this entry »
October 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
On Tuesday night we held the first of what will hopefully be a series of conversations with citizens interested in learning more about school design and the public school options in New Orleans. It was an exiting beginning to a potentially transformative journey.
Seventeen people attended. Fifteen attendees were parents, and all of the parents either currently have, or will soon have, pre-school aged children. The group consisted primarily of New Orleans transplants: there were only two ‘native New Orleanians.’ It seemed that nearly everyone there had a connection to at least one other attendee and received a personal invitation from a friend. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 18, 2011 § Leave a Comment
My experience at 4.0 Schools has influenced the scope of my current work. I started the 4.0 experience set on opening an open enrollment school designed for socio-economic diversity. My perspective on that narrow goal has changed some. I am attempting to broaden my work to address the disengagement of the urban middle class in public education. My hunch is that the best way to « Read the rest of this entry »
October 17, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Achievement and learning have a troubled marriage. Sometimes I wonder if the two can be simultaneously pursued.
As a teacher, I focused my attention on student achievement. As a parent, I am most interested in schools and teachers that build learners. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
In the autumn of 1999, I wanted to make a difference. I was motivated by social justice and social impact. I felt I possessed what TFA’s website at the time was calling for: the relentless pursuit of one ideal, that every child in this country deserves an excellent education and the kind of future that comes with it.
And when TFA said, “We are looking for applicants who will have a lasting impact on student achievement and who will become lifelong leaders in the fight for educational equity from a variety of professions.” I knew I had found my calling and my purpose.
TFA’s recruitment and marketing has gotten even more inspirational since then. I challenge you to watch this clip and remain unmoved:
However, when I think about most of my time in the classroom – especially my 2 years as a TFA corps member – I think I was there for the wrong reasons. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 11, 2011 § 3 Comments
In an RSA-animated clip of one of his lectures, Sir Ken Robinson outlines much of what’s currently going on in public education. He touches on standardized testing, the industrial origins of our current education model, ADHD, and divergent thinking among other topics. Some of it is over-simplified, and you could argue that it’s lots of diagnosis and not enough cure. Nevertheless, Sir Ken makes some very thought-provoking points.