Welcome to our new home on the CUNY Academic Commons! I was saddened to learn last weekend that Posterous, my favorite lovely blogsite, will be closing at the end of April. Although this move to the Academic Commons was born out of necessity, perhaps this is where we should have been all along. I have moved our older content from Posterous, and you can find us here from now on.
Accolades and fabulousness
Joe Bellacero’s story, “Sugar Man,” won first prize in the Annual Short Fiction Contest sponsored by Prime Time Cape Cod and the Academy for Lifelong Learning. In this photo Joe is reading his story at the awards ceremony. And here is the story itself, ripped from the pages of Prime Time Cape Cod.
The ILS was very well represented at the National Science Foundation Math-Science Partnership Conference on February 11-12 2013. MTTI researcher Roger Peach presented work at two conference sessions: “Examining Evidence of Project Impact and Effectiveness” and “Using a Retrospective Pretest to Reveal the Effects of a Teacher-Leadership Development Project.” MTTI project director Ronald Schwarz discussed “The Effects of Modifications to a Teacher-Leadership Project Based on Feedback from an Initial Cohort.” Robert Feinerman, MTTI principal investigator, and Jay Gottlieb, MTTI evaluator, also attended the conference.
Writing Project folks from various sites around the country left the National Writing Project’s Literacy Design Collaborative meeting in Louisville KY last week talking about the presentations by NYC Writing Project representatives. The professional-development work shared by Joe Bellacero on finding a way into Common Core module development and Diane Giorgi on reading/writing historical argument resonated for so many people.
ILS Program Administrator Ashleigh Cassemere-Stanfield was recently published (as Ida-Verne Stanfield) in Hypocrite Reader, an online journal of ideas. Read her essay, “A Lullaby,” here. It’s a thoughtful and challenging piece, both personal and philosophical.
Adult Learning Center presentation at ILS inquiry, February 1, 2013
Well, that was amazing. The ALC shared planning documents, videos, interactive tactile displays, and songs from “We, the People” their voting rights event held last November, and asked us to think about how the ILS core value of “democratic community” was both evident in the work and interrogated by it: were all staff equally invested in creating the event? were all students? what happens when the momentum around an event stretches the limits of participatory decision-making? These are huge questions that perhaps we need to return to, since it was clear that all of us were so moved by the intellectual and emotional depth of the project itself that the questions receded in our thinking.
I thought of the ALC work again just last week while I was visiting the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY. I may be making an obvious point in the next few sentences, but the Ali Center was the first interactive museum I had been to since the ALC inquiry presentation. As I moved through the displays, stopping to read and listen and view and discuss with fellow museum-goers Diane Giorgi and Melanie Hammer, it suddenly struck me that what the ALC had created in “We, The People” was a portable home-made museum, and I started to think about the potential value in developing more of these. As I started to spin out of control with the possibilities, I came back to the questions undergirding the ALC’s presentation. Alongside the work we do in classrooms and with teachers, we have a parallel project of opening up the definition of education so that experiences like “We, The People” can achieve their potential power.
I do hope that ALC people will write up the event for publication, if only in modest form for the ILS website. You have all the documentation, you have the videos, and you have the notes you used to prepare your presentation. It would not take that much to move those bits into a narrative about the work that also explores the tensions inherent in its development.
Here are some photos I took to remind us of what we experienced on February 1st.
The NYC Mathematics Project has begun a partnership with The After-School Corporation focused on mathematics in extended-day programs. This is a new population of educators for the Math Project and an extension of our work with youth practitioners from literacy to mathematics. Here is a blog post from TASC about the Math Project’s work.
The NYC Writing Project hosted an administrators breakfast last Friday for Department of Education administrators with past ties to the WP and administrators from current partnership high schools. Administrators spoke eloquently about the Writing Project’s influence on their own work and on their schools, and the WP got a lot of good feedback to inform future plans.
ALC teacher Mindy Matijasevic has resurrected Sue Machlin’s and Bernie Connaughton’s idea for an ALC newsletter. It is called Many Hats and the first issue will be out any day now!
ALC Director Jaye Jones was accepted into an exciting five-day summer institute at the CUNY Grad Center: the Public Science Project Summer Institute on Critical Participatory Action Research. Learn about it here. I hope she can share some of her learning with interested ILS folks in the following fall!
March 8: Next ILS inquiry meeting featuring the Math Project.
March 22: National Writing Project Spring Meeting in Washington, DC featuring Jessica Singer Early, Director, Central Arizona Writing Project and (ahem) me.
April 23: World Book Night. The ALC was selected as a World Book Night giver. Jaye tells me, “WBN takes place on April 23rd throughout the world and the WBN organization provides groups and individuals with 20 copies of a book to give away free – with the emphasis on making sure that non- or light readers get access to the books. The books are a variety – from classics to more recent NYT bestsellers.”
April 27: Writing Project conference featuring keynote talks by Peter Elbow and Katherine Schulten and a host of sessions led by Writing Project teacher-presenters.
May 4: Math Project conference featuring a keynote talk by Andy Clark and sessions conducted by teacher-presenters including teacher-leaders from MTTI.