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Category Archives: Intentional Communities

Legacy of 9/11: How the Sept. 11 attacks shaped a generation –

Posted: September 8, 2021 at 10:18 am

SALT LAKE CITY They were just children and adolescents on that September morning at school, riding in a car, being awoken by their parents trying to understand what they were seeing and hearing. Trying to understand a moment that would change history.

They were an entire generation who would grow up in a post-9/11 world, marked by the events of that day and the world that shifted in its wake, like those who reeled after Pearl Harbor almost 60 years before them. But 20 years on, they remember it as the children that they were.

In Oregon, where Erica Marley grew up, it was still dark outside on Sept. 11, 2001, when her parents woke her up, the old box TV in their bedroom blaring the news.

Erica Marley remembers being woken by her parents on Sept. 11, 2001 while it was still dark outside. She says the old box TV in her parents bedroom was blaring the news.

I just remember seeing replays of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center, Marley recalled. And it was, it just kept replaying, and replaying. And I just remember, I was just so confused as to what was happening.

She doesnt remember her parents showing any emotion, but she does remember feeling scared because they kept her home from school. And the part that really struck her, the part that made the confusing news hit home, was hearing that Disneyland was closed.

I remember thinking in my 10, 11-year-old mind: Oh, my gosh Disneyland is closed. This must be really bad, she said. And it just kind of sunk in that this was something serious, even though I didnt really understand what it was.

Omar Rauf was in 7th grade and already at school at Riverview Junior High in Murray, when he remembered a teacher turning on the TV. At first, they thought it was some sort of terrible accident.

Omar Rauf (middle) was in 7th grade when the Twin Towers were hit on Sept. 11, 2001.

Then, the second plane hit the second tower and reality set in.

Thats when the teacher was like, Ok, this is, like, organized. This is planned, this is not an accident. And were under attack, Rauf said. And I just remember sinking in my chair, you know, that first period and just feeling scared and afraid.

Julianne Horsley was 10, riding in a carpool to her elementary school in North Salt Lake, when they heard the news over the radio.

Words were jumping out of the news reports: planes, crashes, buildings.

I think we were young enough to not quite understand. But we were old enough, I think, to figure out, Okay, something isnt right, Horsley said. As a kid, we didnt quite understand. We thought: Oh, thats bizarre. Thats weird. And then, when we got to school, it was the only thing that teachers were talking about, and everyone was confused. And if you werent confused, you were scared.

Julianne Horsley was on her way to school in North Salt Lake when she heard the news about the plane crashes.

With the initial fear and confusion came the questions about what this all meant and what might come next.

Were like, is this close? Horsley remembered thinking. New York is so far away from Utah, but, at the same time, when, you know, theyre talking about these different states, its hitting all these different states. Were now wondering, are they going to come and attack us?

Like so many other students in schools across the country, they took in the events in real time, with their peers and teachers.

Rauf remembers the emotions of that day running the gamut.

Some teachers are crying, you know, they couldnt even carry on class, he said. Other teachers just kind of made it a free-for-all day, you know, just to do whatever I dont think they knew how to respond. For some teachers, I think they tried to compartmentalize and, you know, business as usual.

He said, for his part, he could not take his mind off what had happened.

I was 13 years old, Rauf said. Its a very formative age. It was kind of an awakening moment of like, whats going on in the world? I think that was the time that sort of was a catalyst of the realizing that, hey, theres people on the other side of the world that dont like Americans, or theres extremism in the world, theres fundamentalism within my own faith.

That night, Rauf said he went home full of questions: Who could have done this? Why would they do something like this?

Rauf said his parents listened and talked to him, tried to comfort their children, the only Muslims in their school. Still, Rauf said his mother questioned whether she should continue wearing her headscarf.

When Omar Rauf returned home from school, his parents comforted him and listened to his questions.

At first, he said, his peers mostly had a lot of questions and wanted to learn and understand more, but he said that there were also assumptions made that, though his family was Pakistani, that they were one of them.

There was some teasing. The neighborhood he had lived in from the time he was six years old, shifted.

People would shout things, he said. We would be walking down the street and people would shout things outside the window.

The day after the attacks, Horsley said they went outside their school and sang songs.

Julianne Horsley remembers singing songs at school the day after the Sept. 11 attacks.

She said the teachers, having had a day to process, tried to help them understand what had happened.

Horsley said realizing that the attack was planned and intentional shifted her worldview.

As a child, she said she thought bad guys were in the movies and the world was a fairly simple place. The events of Sept. 11th changed that.

Theres people who hate us? Theres, you know, this world isnt as safe as we think? Theres people who, you know, dont mean well, Horsley said. For lack of a better term, it seemed like your innocence was lost. And its, you know, we cant go back to thinking that everything is great, everything is safe, unfortunately.

One year later, Marley made a patriotic entry in her journal drawings of flags and eagles but she also noted that she was scared and sad. She said she felt her heart sink on Sept. 11, 2001, and a fear crept in.

It wasnt necessarily like fearing another terrorist attack or fearing for my life or fearing, or anything like that, like, consciously, but I think there was just a little bit of a looming sense of like, something bad could happen on my home turf, just like anywhere else, she said.

It has been twenty years now and the children are adults.

Horsley has visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City and finds it to be a favorite place to visit in a city she loves.

Julianne Horsley says the 9/11 memorial in New York City is one of her favorite places to visit.

There is a unique spirit there, she said, and its always more devastating than she could fathom as a child.

Each time I go back, and Ive been there a few times, I realize (that) this is a lot worse than I remember, she said. It was bad then, but its even worse.. No matter how many times you see pictures, no matter how many times you see videos, its more haunting than you remember.

Rauf grew up to become an active member of the Utah Muslim community and serves on the board for the Utah Muslim Civic League.

Omar Rauf grew up to become an active member of the Utah Muslim community and serves on the board for the Utah Muslim Civic League.

Despite the horror and tragedy of the attacks and the jokes and harassment that sometimes followed, there was also increased discussions and engagement.

I think there was some silver linings, he said. I think people wanted to learn about, you know, the Muslim community more. They wanted to learn about whats going on in other parts of the world. I think interfaith dialogue greatly increased during that time, especially in Utah, which is a relatively younger community. I think there was more kind of sharing of ideas.

Marley said Sept. 11, 2001 was a day that changed her life, and the lives of countless others. But she said, in many ways, she thinks that change was for the better.

Im really impressed with millennials and even Gen Z, even though a lot of them werent even born, for being compassionate people and trying to better their communities and being very open to people who are different from them, she said. I think it says a lot, because I think you could easily see that day as something that could harden a person or make someone incredibly angry, but Im just really impressed with how so many people have just taken the road to compassion. And I think thats been really, really beautiful.


Legacy of 9/11: How the Sept. 11 attacks shaped a generation -

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Meet the rest of the 2021 Health Hero Challenge Semifinalists –

Posted: at 10:18 am


You will know who they are, what they are doing, and what they represent.

Get wellness tips, training trends, healthy eating and more directly to your inbox with the Be Well newsletter.

You can get a glimpse of the work these local health leaders are doing and the nonprofits they support.

Last week we introduced you 5 out of 10 semi-finalists For this years Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge Presented by Independence Blue Cross. Today you can meet the rest!

Remember, you can Please vote Once a day, daily, until September 30th, you will need to win a $ 15,000 donation to a charity of your choice, named 2021 Health Hero. (The two runners-up will each win a $ 2,500 donation to the charity of their choice!)

Below you will meet the remaining members of the 2021 Health Hero Challenge Semifinalists.

Who: Christina Burke, the wife of Jim Burke, a local restaurant owner, breast cancer survivor, and Wm executive chef. Marherins son.She founded TAG Time Happy Hour, A series of fund-raising events for lung cancer research after my husbands stage IV lung cancer diagnosis last year.

Selected nonprofit organization: Pennsylvania Hospitality Support Response (HARP) provides hospitality workers with immediate emergency funding and one-time individual grants to front-line employees in the industry in the event of unforeseen difficulties.

What motivates you to make Philadelphia a healthier place? Also, what kind of policy would you make if possible?Philly is more than a map location for me and our family. Where we grew up, where our kids go to school, where we volunteer as Little League coaches, and fortunately my husband and I Its also a place to get. The best health care for our family. We feel we are part of a community that cares for each other. We about our cancer journey By sharing the story, we were able to see the impact on our community [Ive heard] It encouraged many women to get their daily mammograms. TAG Time Happy Hour is also a great connection for the local food and beverage community to get out of the particularly difficult and isolated COVID season. Health comes in many shapes and sizes. Ive already won if TAGTime motivated me to feel personal connections, schedule regular screenings, and fund important cancer studies.

I carry out free regular health checkups for everyone. This is especially useful for people who do not have health insurance or who have a genetic predisposition to a particular cancer. Early detection can save lives! We also want to develop policies to prevent food waste in restaurants and supermarkets by providing safe alternatives for reusing and repackaging food in poorly serviced areas.

Who: Founder of a non-profit organization based in Lynette Medley, sexual health counselor, and Mount Airy No more secrets, Mindbody Spirit. Co-founder with SPOT period, Menstruation hub and uterine wellness center.

Selected nonprofit organization: No more secrets, Mindbody Spirit.A sexuality awareness and counseling organization aimed at combating physiological poverty and increasing menstrual equity throughout the Philadelphia region.

What motivates you to make Philadelphia a healthier place? Also, what kind of policy would you make if possible?My community is arguably my greatest source of inspiration in continuing this relentless battle for menstrual equality and justice. I want people to deal with the natural parts of life. I sincerely believe that life should not be at risk. The sad reality is that socially constructed systems are exposed to health risks by denying access to free or affordable menstrual products. In addition, it prevents the entire population from reaching its full potential.

Poverty is high in Philadelphia, but poverty is more than just food insecurity and the homeless. Not being able to buy menstrual products such as tampons and pads is a problem that exists here in Philadelphia: health insurance and menstruation. Because there is no federal funding for care, thats why I help young people in school age experiencing menstrual anxiety through comprehensive menstrual health and uterine care services, and the provision of free menstrual supplies. It provides direct and intentional funding for policies that mandate.

Who: Local visual and performing arts artists, youth art teachers, mental health advocates, and Embryo Exhibition series..

Selected nonprofit organization: Urban art gallery, West Philadelphia Art Exhibition, Performance, Workshop Hub. The organization also offers free youth programs in visual arts, music, chess and storytelling to help local children and adolescents live a happier and more productive life.

What motivates you to make Philadelphia a healthier place? Also, what kind of policy would you make if possible?Changing a community story about mental health motivates me. People feel safe and lack access to places where they can trust the guidance provided on emotional and behavioral health. In our homes, classrooms, workplaces, churches and other community groups, we need unconditional positive consideration. In the mental health of invisible illness, everyone It is important to note that it can have an impact.

I ask that art and wellness classes are available and needed at all public schools in the city. By doing so, young people living in communities identified as BIPOC, LGBTQ +, and / or marginalized can be exposed to alternative therapies and maintain an exit for healthy expression themselves.

Who: Tahirah Austin-Muhammad, co-founder and chief operating officer of a tissue focused on sickle cells, Crescent Foundation..

Selected nonprofit organization: Crescent Foundation, A local non-profit organization that provides resources to people affected by sickle cell disease. This includes free webins on medical transitions and patient support, immersive programs for medical students, and psychosocial and case management support for people living with sickle cell disease.

What motivates you to make Philadelphia a healthier place? Also, what kind of policy would you make if possible?I had an episode of sickle cell disease and my first experience trying to get help was trauma I was in pain in a cold waiting room for 12 hours before receiving care. From that experience, I will be fighting for compassionate, impartial and timely medical care for patients with sickle cell disease, especially those affected by an unequal system. I knew.

To ensure that patients with sickle cell disease are properly cared for within federal guidelines, we will introduce a system to examine patients who will give the department a letter grade after a visit through a patient satisfaction survey. The investigation is then reported to the institutions funding sources and the leadership salary is affected until the institution receives a B or higher. Establishing quantifiable and leadership-responsible standards encourages everyone to reach their full potential to benefit the quality of life of their patients.

Who: Tasnim Sulaiman, a licensed professional counselor, a marriage and family therapist specializing in sex therapy, and the founder of a local therapy group. Black man heals..

Selected nonprofit organization: Black man heals, A non-profit organization that aims to provide free treatment to black men living in and around Philadelphia and eliminate both the stigma and costs of mental health care. The organization also has color providers, so clients should work with therapists who feel they equate with unique cultural stressors such as racism, prejudice, and economic disparity. I can.

What motivates you to make Philadelphia a healthier place? Also, what kind of policy would you make if possible?I am motivated by my daughter (and all my children). We believe that it is the responsibility of adults to set a better example for the next generation and lead a healthy diet and life, including mental and emotional health. Last year also focused my Ultra Lens further on the health inequalities that exist in the color community. The murder of George Floyd, the resulting racial riots, and the pandemic have made me ten times more committed to destroying and changing the existing broken healthcare system.

I have health insurance for everyone. Many uninsured or uninsured people in Philadelphia do not have equal access to quality care at affordable prices, and also mentally, especially for health care providers. We hope that health care insurance and restrictive regulations will change. For example, it is difficult for therapists to even join the insurance panel, and even if they do, the repayment rate is low. These barriers (existence) Many therapists do not accept insurance, and as a result, people are unfairly prevented from receiving quality off-network treatment.

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How Texass Oldest Abortion Fund Is Responding To The States Abortion Ban – Forbes

Posted: at 10:18 am

Texas's new law, S.B.8, bans abortion at around six weeks, before most women even know they are ... [+] pregnant.

For more than two decades, the Lilith Fund has provided financial assistance and emotional support to people seeking abortions in Texas, and for much of that time, the organization has fielded up to 50 calls a day. In the two days immediately after the states sweeping new abortion ban went into effect, however, the groups hotline received a total of just 20 calls.

It doesnt mean that all of those people just stopped needing help with their abortions, says Shae Ward, director of the Lilith Funds hotline. It means their choice got taken away, and they no longer have any options or know if its safe to reach out.

While abortion has not been altogether outlawed in Texas, it remains legal only until a fetal heartbeat can be detected about six weeks into pregnancy, which is roughly two weeks after a womans first missed period. The new law, officially titled Senate Bill 8, has been making headlines around the country, and indeed the world, since it was enacted at midnight on September 1, but it has been worrying abortion rights advocates in Texas for much longer. As one of many anti-abortion introduced in the Texas Legislatures 2021 session, it initially sent alarm bells ringing in March and produced full-out panic when Governor Greg Abbott signed it into law in May.

Growing increasingly concerned over S.B.8 and its impending effects, the Lilith Fund began preparing without hesitation for the worst case scenario. Before S.B.8 was passed, we were doing a lot of work with our partners around policy to try to stop it, so when that didnt happen, we had to switch gears to see how we could continue to serve the people in our community, Ward says. Since this bill directly targets abortion funds, support organizations, and clinicsbasically all the work that we dowe had to get lawyers to figure out how we could still operate and fully comply with all state and federal laws. So, that meant going in and looking at our operations and seeing what we could change and how we could communicate that with others so that they know were still operating, even with this new law enacted.

Though it had over a dozen clinics in its network before the law went into effect, the Lilith Fund has had to expand the list of clinics it works with in recent days. The number of abortion providers in Texas was dwindling long before S.B.8, and those remaining are now facing the threat of extinction in the wake of lost business. But with abortion after six weeks now prohibited, women who are further along in gestation have no choice but to leave the state to terminate their pregnancies, so the organization has had to look beyond state lines. Weve had to reach out to clinics out of state to explain that we want to continue to support Texans and ask if we can work with them when clients want to go to their facilities, Ward explains.

In addition to inhibiting access to abortionand violating the Supreme Courts decisions on both Roe v. Wade (1973) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992)S.B.8 enables private citizens to enforce the ban by filing lawsuits against anyone who engages in conduct that aids and abets an abortion after the six-week mark, be it the patient, the provider, or even a Lyft driver who provides transportation. This burden of enforcement has already proven to be fear-mongering and confounding to many, which Ward believes is to blame for the Lilith Funds declining call volume.

It basically incentivizes a flood of harassing lawsuits against the support network that exists for Texans, and thats very intentional, the hotline director explains. With this new law, they are trying to prevent people from accessing care, and the confusion and fear is the tactic theyve decided to use.

To combat the confusion spurred by the law, the Lilith Fund, alongside similar organizations, has been using to provide women with information not only on clinics that have the capacity to serve them but also on S.B.8 itself. People can refer folks there so they always have an accurate, up-to-date resource on abortion access in Texas and the organizations that can help them access that care, says Ward.

Despite the turmoil caused by the new law, though, the organization, which received a little more than $566,000 in individual contributions last year, has seen a continued influx of donations over the last week. As a result, the Lilith Fund has already been able to offer grants that surpass its $350 average and help more than the 30% of callers it currently funds. At this point, we have our normal budget in the back of our of head, but were also aware that were getting a surge of donations, so weve already been increasing our voucher amounts and trying to serve everybody as soon as possible, Ward notes. So, its been great to have that support to allow us to continue to do this work.

And although donating to the Lilith Fund and like-minded organizations is a great way to ensure S.B.8 does not stand in the way of Texans access to abortion, the hotline director believes that sharing resources, like, and spreading awareness is the best course of action to prevent similar bans across the country. This is so harmful and dangerous to community, and its being done by the people who are supposed to protect us, she says of the new legislation. Listening to marginalized communities and what they have to say and leaning into a reproductive justice framework can only help to create a future where everybody has the right to parent or not parent.

Even as the Supreme Court refused to block the Texas ban, hope remains that it will be struck down in the months ahead. But unlike the law, the Lilith Fund is far more certain about its future. I dont know what the other side plans, but our plan is to continue to do the work that we do and fight to make sure that people have abortion access, Ward says. We are committed to fighting for peoples access, so if this lasts a while, so will we.

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These Colleges Are Betting That Culturally Relevant Textbooks Will Improve Student Outcomes – EdSurge

Posted: at 10:18 am

Millie Gonzlez and her colleagues arent here to argue about whether open educational resources are on par with traditional textbooksshe says research has borne that out.

Gonzlez and Framingham State University, where she is interim director of Whittemore Library, are part of a consortium in Massachusetts looking to answer different questions. Like: What would happen if students had access to a catalog of free andthis is important hereculturally relevant textbooks? What if faculty of color were engaged in the process of creating books tailored to their classes?

What would be the result for students, specifically students who are from underserved communities? Gonzlez says. Usually when you hear any discussion about free textbooks, it really talks about just the cost, and what were saying is, it goes way beyond that.

Six Massachusetts colleges and universities, alongside the states Department of Higher Education, are testing their hypothesis that free, culturally relevant textbooks can improve student performance.

The project, dubbed Remixing Open Textbooks through an Equity Lens, will have help from a three-year $441,000 federal grant. The funds will cover financial support and mentorship for faculty who create new open educational resources (OER for short) or adapt existing open textbooks. The books would be shared among 29 Massachusetts colleges with undergraduate programs.

We hope to create a model that other states can use for their cultural relevance, says Jess Egan, coordinator of instructional design at Holyoke Community College, one of the partners. Were trying to encourage a model of deliberately constructing or reconstructing OER to fit the needs of your learners and not necessarily just to create a textbook.

The other institutional partners are Fitchburg State University, Northern Essex Community College, Salem State University and Springfield Technical Community College.

To explain the emphasis on cultural relevance, Gonzlez calls on her memories of growing up in New York City. Her experiences couldnt be further away from the examples her elementary school books centered onfarming.

As a little girl, Im like, I don't know whats happening on the farm. But everything was tailored to this one specific rural area, while Im in Manhattan. It just didnt fit, she says.

But Gonzlez is confident students will be able to see themselves reflected in the texts resulting from the grant: With OER, we can certainly provide that experience for our students.

Professors will be encouraged to pull local context and examples into their textbooks, Gonzlez says, and to be inclusive of non-white narratives. About 39 percent of Framingham State University identify as people of color, with Latino and Black students representing 18 percent and 15 percent respectively.

If you want to change the dynamic and make students engaged, you can include students in the making of your textbook, she says.

The majority of commercial textbooks are produced in Texas or Florida, Egan says, and their cultural references reflect their origins.

For us in New Englanda very progressive, activist placesome of the principles being stripped out of the curriculum are why were here, she says. We want to emphasize critical race theory [and] decolonization.

Egan is working with an anatomy and physiology professor who is ready to change up the images in her textbook, which features diagrams primarily of white males. That doesnt work for a campus where about 1 in 4 students are Latino and 40 percent overall identify as people of color.

Its not reflective of the community, and its not preparing students to serve the community, Egan says. She would like to completely diversify the images so she can better demonstrate maternal health for Black women or diabetes for XYZ community, and show them as practitioners what theyre going to be dealing with in the community.

Subjects like English and lower-level math are well-covered in the OER ecosystem. Egan says Remixing Open Textbooks through an Equity Lens has an opportunity to fill in the areas where open textbooks are more scarce, like early childhood education, health care and criminal justice. Faculty will have help from an advisory council made up of local employers in those same fields, including hospital staff whose feedback could inform changes to the anatomy and physiology text Egan mentioned.

The faculty are identifying the gaps, and the hospital is providing insight on the gaps theyre seeing. Its a good combination of community and equity and purposeful curriculum design, Egan says.

Egan says creating and adapting open textbooks will likewise make college more nimble. They can add chapters as new skills become in-demand by employers or choose the format that works best for their classes.

With things like social media marketing, if you printed a book this year, it might not be relevant next year, she says. Were able to keep up with emerging trends and keep up with whats happening here and now.

For instance, the music professors Egan works with need to ensure their music theory text, which is eliminating textbooks for four classes, will be unbound. That will allow students to more easily use the sheet music thats included.

They said, We need it printed in a certain way so when students are playing the piano, they can put the book this way. I had never thought about anything like that before, she says. [OER] is not just a PDF anymore.

To gauge the programs success, participating colleges will be looking at retention rates, grades and the number of faculty using the open textbooks. Librarians, technologists and designers will collaborate to analyze the programs effectiveness and identify where students are struggling with the material.

We know students dont always buy the book, and it creates this cycle where theyre left behind, Egan says. So we have a very data-driven focus to make sure that not only is the cost going down but that were reaching populations that are in jeopardy right now.

There are, of course, benefits to students pocketbooks when professors assign open course materials. With the program potentially generating up to 79 books, the participating institutions estimate that students will collectively save at least $800,000 in textbook costs. That could bring relief especially to students who are financially struggling or navigating college alone.

First-generation students who dont really know what to expect when they go to college are assuming, like in high school, all of these materials will be given to them, Gonzlez says. Then were saying to them, By the way, you have to spend $1,000 on textbooks.

Gonzlez hopes that colleges throughout Massachusetts and the country will adopt the materials produced by the projects six partner institutions. At the very least, the project will encourage professors who plan to use their textbooks primarily as a reference to select an OER book.

Theres so much great OER content we can absorb and then add that New England flavor, our regional flavor andon top of thatthat intentional cultural relevance that I think is so lacking, she says.


These Colleges Are Betting That Culturally Relevant Textbooks Will Improve Student Outcomes - EdSurge

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Critical race theory and the new ‘massive resistance’ – LA School Report

Posted: at 10:18 am

Why some are comparing the national backlash against anti-racist teaching to Virginias strident campaign to resist school desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education

In this photograph from 1961, teacher Althea Jones offers instruction to Black children in a one-room shack in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Beginning in 1959, the county lacked public school facilities for an estimated 1,700 Black children while some 1,400 white students attended private schools financed by state, county and private contributions made in lieu of tax payments. (Getty Images)

Arnold Ambers was still a teenager when he woke up at 4 a.m., jumped behind the wheel of a rickety bus and shuttled dozens of children to a nearby segregated elementary school. Much of the fleet lacked heat and, on the coldest mornings of those Virginia winters, hed pull over on the side of the road to brush ice off the windshield with a worn towel.

After finishing the route, Ambers arrived late to his all-Black high school, named in honor of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, which remained racially segregated despite the Supreme Courts decision in Brown v. Board of Education years earlier. As Ambers bused children to racially isolated schools even after the court found such segregation unconstitutional in 1954, officials fought tooth and nail to keep it that way. As one of the nations last holdouts, Loudoun County schools remained racially isolated until desegregation began in 1968. Such discrimination was so pervasive that it became baked into Ambers perception of normality.

That was the sign of the times, the 79-year-old Ambers said, recalling how his family was barred from many public spaces outside the balcony of a Leesburg theater. But by the time he enrolled at Shaw University, a historically Black institution in North Carolina, hed had enough and joined civil rights protests, marching and singing songs like We Shall Overcome. But white folks didnt take kindly to Black people demonstrating, and hell never forget the occasion an irate man spit on him. Its one of the most degrading things that you could ever do.

These days, Ambers is on edge. The racial strife thats engulfed the county in the last several years, he said, brings back memories of Jim Crow.

This year, Loudoun County has become ground zero for a national uproar over schools use of critical race theory, a legal concept thats seemingly been bastardized to encompass any instruction about systemic racism and Black Americans enduring struggle for racial equity. That strife came to a head at a school board meeting in June, when one man was arrested and another injured after the gathering descended into chaos as parents protested critical race theory with signs that read education not indoctrination.

Its painful to realize that weve come a long way, but in the last five years weve really gone backwards quite a bit, Ambers said. And I guess the painful reality is that racism has always been there.

For some observers, the backlash is part of the complex, centuries-long history of racism and oppression that some educators have sought to confront, particularly after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. Specifically, theyve likened the blustering rhetoric of critical race theorys staunchest critics and legislative efforts across the state to prohibit teachers from discussing systemic racism to massive resistance, an effort by white segregationists in Virginia to thwart school desegregation for years after the Brown decision.

Among them is Juli Briskman, a Democratic member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, who referred to the current upheaval as the massive resistance of our generation. Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which litigated Brown, quipped that segregationists and the current dissidents mobilized around a singular force: The unifying power of whiteness.

In this 1960 photograph, opponents to school desegregation in Louisiana yell at police officers during a protest. One sign reads All I Want For Christmas is a Clean White School. (Getty Images)

While white segregationists employed legal, and sometimes violent, tactics to evade school desegregation, critics said that similar strategies are now being leveraged to block educators from teaching about that very historic reality.

As the rancor reaches a fever pitch nationally, some parents have pulled their kids from public schools and others have touted private school choice as an option to shield children from curricula permeated with ideas we find toxic. In July, a teacher in Tennessee was fired for teaching students about racism and white privilege.

Meanwhile on Fox News, which has warned against the dangers of critical race theory thousands of times this year, pundit Tucker Carlson suggested next to a graphic of the Democratic Party logo and the words ANTI-WHITE MANIA that classrooms be equipped with cameras to ensure teachers arent filling impressionable young minds with civilization-ending poison.

People protest against critical race theory in June outside the Loudoun County Government Center in Leesburg, Virginia. (Getty Images)

In nearly half of states, Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation this year that seeks to limit how educators discuss racism and other divisive issues, and in 10 states such bans have become law. Under a new Tennessee law, for example, public schools could lose funding. In Arizona, teachers could have their licenses revoked.

Jin Hee Lee, the senior deputy director at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, finds the current efforts similar to resistance to desegregation in that both operate on nostalgia that fails to recognize how educational inequities upheld by the status quo marginalize Black children and could be detrimental by further destabilizing public education.

The idea that any efforts to engage and remedy that problem is somehow in itself harmful to other children is beyond ironic, its really quite tragic, she said. An accurate accounting of history and the requirement that all children should be treated equally, and to be included, is beneficial for everyone.

Jamel Donnor, a critical race theory expert and associate professor of education at Virginias College of William & Mary, also sees similar parallels between the backlash to critical race theory, which he called a boogeyman, and Southern resistance to school desegregation. Even to this day, K-12 schools are starkly divided by race and integration efforts remain divisive even in northern enclaves like New York City. In both instances, he said the uproar centers on resistance to inclusion.

First it was the inclusion of black bodies, he said. Now, its the inclusion of ideas [and] materials that purport to provide a more holistic picture, a more holistic understanding of the experiences of people of color in the United States.

Jonathan Zimmerman, an education historian at the University of Pennsylvania, acknowledged similarities between massive resistance and the current backlash with outright racism as a key motivator, but several differences muddle the analogy. Massive resistance after Brown was a battle over the Constitution and its interpretation, he said, while the current feud is largely about American identity.

Many white Americans in particular are deeply invested in a narrative of America thats being challenged, and while he doesnt endorse their perspective, he said they come from a correct perception that these stories represent a radical difference from the stories they were invested in. Meanwhile, he said that in some cases the most ardent proponents of anti-racist teaching have imposed their opinions about history on students. Laws that bar teachers from discussing divisive topics have the same effect.

All truths are subject to interpretation and there is no singular, unvarnished truth, he said. Never has been, never will be.

The very existence of the segregated Douglass School, where Ambers graduated in 1960, was a feat in itself.

To the backdrop of white resistance, members of Loudoun Countys Black community, including Amberss father, held chicken dinners and other fundraisers to buy a plot of land on the outskirts of Leesburg for the countys first high school for Black children. The school was built in 1941, after organizers sold the land to the county for $1, and the countys Black community raised money to fill the building with desks and books.

Ambers and other students at Douglass werent offered the same opportunities as the countys white children and almost immediately after the Brown decision was released, white officials in Virginia and across the South vowed to keep it that way. A prominent force was Virginia Sen. Harry Byrd, who blasted Brown as the most serious blow that has yet been struck against states rights an argument that echoed the Lost Cause, in which Confederate officials sought to inaccurately portray the Civil War as a feud over local control rather than an effort to uphold slavery.

Virginia officials created the Gray Commission, which recommended officials amend the state compulsory attendance law so white children didnt have to attend integrated schools and the creation of taxpayer-funded tuition grants so parents could send their children to private institutions known today as segregation academies. Two years later, Byrd launched a campaign that became known as massive resistance that included a collection of laws aimed at preventing integration, including a policy to pull funding from schools that allowed Black and white children to sit in the same classroom. Through newly created tuition grants, money from closed public schools was funneled to private schools that werent bound by Browns mandates. After the school-closure law was found unconstitutional in 1959, state lawmakers repealed school attendance rules and created a local option that gave cities and counties authority to close schools.

In Loudoun County, educational inequities upheld by racial segregation were felt in teacher salaries, transportation and facilities. At the Bull Run school, Black children brought lumps of coal each morning to provide the building with heat and others hauled in water from a nearby stream.

Shortly after Brown, county officials voted to let students use public education funds for private schools, in effect allowing white families to cover tuition costs while sidestepping integration. In a resolution, officials voted to stop public funding if the federal government forced integration, a reality that came to fruition only after years of legal battles. But the animosity lingered long after and white resistance extended beyond public education. In the mid-1960s, Black youth wanted to swim in Leesburgs public pool but the volunteer fire department filled it with rocks and cement rather than see that happen. The town didnt get another public pool until 1990.

Perhaps the most significant effort to resist desegregation unfolded in Prince Edward County, a rural Virginia enclave with deep ties to the Brown decision. It was here, in 1951, where Black high school students from Farmville went on strike over poor school conditions and sued for equity. Their legal struggle was ultimately one of five cases consolidated into the Supreme Courts Brown decision. Years later, however, segregationists retained the upper hand. Under pressure from two court desegregation orders in May 1959, officials chose to close the countys entire public school system for five years rather than comply. White children were allowed to enroll in the private Prince Edward Academy, which became a model segregation academy for communities across the South, and many Black children, who were excluded from enrollment and unable to use tuition grants elsewhere, were effectively locked out of a formal education altogether.

Such efforts expanded beyond Virginia. By 1969, more than 200 private segregation academies were formed across the South and in seven states Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana families were allowed to use tuition grants, often called private school vouchers today, to avoid desegregated schools.

Rather than focusing on race, white residents in Loudoun County often spoke fondly of their Black neighbors and much of their rhetoric justifying the school closures centered on school privatization, local control and taxpayers rights. The Farmville Heralds publisher at the time, a staunch segregationist, asserted in an editorial that if Virginia, the mother of constitutional government allowed school integration, it would have permitted the rape of ideals and principles for which great men have given their minds and blood, suffering almost unbearable hardships.

Christopher Bonastia, a Lehman College professor and author of Southern Stalemate: Five Years without Public Education in Prince Edward County, Virginia, described the massive resistance strategy through a simple quote: If we can legislate, we can segregate. Now, he said, some critical race theory critics have adopted a similar game plan. It seems to me that the theory is if we can legislate, we can obfuscate, meaning that if we dont allow this teaching of how racism is sort of baked into U.S. law and policy and practices, then we can maintain this racial innocence.

He also sees similarities between the two camps overall rhetoric.

This claim to colorblindness, which happened in Prince Edward, that is the kind of claim of the anti-CRT folks who question why children should learn to be race-conscious instead of viewing everybody as equals. Lee of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund made a similar connection, noting that claims of colorblindness have been used to entrench existing racial disparities for generations.

It ignores inequalities that exist and it ignores important conversations to try to remedy those racial inequalities, she said. Claiming colorblindness doesnt make inequality just magically disappear. In fact, its very important for us to identify and examine inequalities that do exist.

In this 1956 photograph, two children watch a Ku Klux Klan cross burning from a car affixed with a sign protesting racial integration. (Getty Images)

As Black students in Prince Edward County and elsewhere fought for educational equity, their struggle was about far more than access to white schools. The transformative vision of school integration also included desegregating curriculum, in which African-American experiences and voices were included in classroom instruction, said Jarvis Givens, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In his Book Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching, Givens traces the life of the father of Black history, and highlights how anti-racist teaching practices have long been a staple of Black educators approach to instruction and doing so has always faced resistance.

To define fugitive pedagogy, Givens turns to the actions of Tessie McGee, a Black history teacher from Louisiana who, in the 1930s, kept a copy of Woodsons book on the Negro on her lap, reading passages to students in defiance of state and district rules. Through her actions, Givens wrote, McGee explicitly critiqued and negated white supremacy and anti-Black protocols of domination, but they often did so in discreet or partially concealed fashion, as part of a larger vision to dismantle Jim Crow segregation while celebrating African Americans contributions to society. She and others did this at grave risk of getting caught.

For many Black educators, that was a real threat as they faced relentless suspicion and surveillance. Such surveillance, similar to Tucker Carlsons call for cameras in classrooms, has been endemic to the experiences of Black teachers historically. Now, contemporary calls to police classroom instruction is worrisome, he said.

Now were seeing it out in the open because a lot of folks are being given permission to kind of surveil what teachers are teaching, he said, and whether or not it adds up to their vision of what it means to be patriotic and American, and whether or not its consistent with the stories that weve been told that we need to tell about the past, of Americas history, for so long.

In this photograph from 1957, a Black mother and her first-grade child walk past segregationist protesters as they enter a public school on the first day of classes in Nashville, Tennessee. As the city underwent desegregation, white parents began a boycott and withdrew their children from public schools. (Getty Images)

Despite Black educators long history offering anti-racist instruction and being subjected to surveillance to prevent it, Givens said the issue has taken on a new form in the last year. Parents are so up in arms this year, he argued, because the instruction is being offered to white kids who are being asked to confront issues of racial inequality.

I think the falling out has to do with the fact that theres a lot of white people who dont want their children learning these sorts of narratives because of what it implicates about their own identities in certain ways and the ways it names whiteness in explicit ways that causes discomfort for people, he said. Thats whats really whats at hand here: What happens when we decide to include Black history in ways that go beyond the terms of whats comfortable for white Americans?

Zimmerman, the University of Pennsylvania historian, said the current moment creates an opportunity for educators to present American history from multiple perspectives and allow students to grapple with the lessons rather than prescribing their own views. Yet partisans on both sides, he worried, are disinterested in an honest debate.

I want more nuance, he said, but, to be as direct as possible, who the [heck] am I? How many people actually do want that and how do we make the case for it?

For 45 years, Virginias efforts to defy Brown were placed on a pedestal outside the state capitol in Richmond. That era came to an end in July, when a 10-foot bronze statue of segregationist Sen. Byrd, the massive resistance architect, was removed from its perch and hauled off to storage.

Yet much of his legacy carries on unabated as schools across the country remain starkly segregated by race and some communities continue to leverage tactics, such as school district secessions, to resist integration.

Some of the very groups leading the charge against critical race theory are also engaged in efforts to block ongoing desegregation efforts today. In New York City, where public schools are among the most racially segregated, students filed a lawsuit this year arguing that the citys use of selective admissions screens at its sought-after high schools, long seen by some as a hurdle keeping Black and Hispanic children from the lauded campuses, violate the state constitution. The lawsuit calls on the city to scrap its competitive admissions practices.

A new group called Parents Defending Education, which offers an IndoctriNation Map to fight indoctrination in the classroom by exposing educators promoting harmful agendas, sought to intervene in the New York City case. The student groups efforts to strike down race-neutral admissions screens, the group wrote in a court filing, is intentional racial discrimination, plain and simple.

Plaintiffs believe the best way to achieve equity is to focus on race and to break the parts of the citys school system that are working, the group, which didnt respond to requests for comment, noted in court papers. Parents Defending Education believes the best way to achieve equality is to treat children equally, regardless of skin color, and to fix the parts of the citys schools that are broken.

Despite the persistence of racial segregation in schools, some school leaders have sought in recent years to grapple with the past and how it still affects the education system today. After Floyds murder in Minneapolis, for example, the head of a private school in Montgomery, Alabama, wrote an open letter about the role his school played in resisting desegregation. The Montgomery Academy opened in 1959 as an all-white school and was seen by many as one of the early catalysts for the white flight from Montgomerys public schools.

We must be willing to confront the uncomfortable fact that The Montgomery Academy, like many other independent schools founded in the South during the late 1950s, was not immune to the divisive forces of racism that shaped this city and community over the course of its history, John McWilliams, who didnt respond to requests for comment, wrote in the letter. In his view, he wrote, Black Lives Matter protests that engulfed the country had clear ties to a centuries-long struggle. I believe that we are witnessing the cumulative impact of over 400 years of white supremacy, racial division and discrimination play out in our streets and cities across the country.

Ambers, who ironically finished his professional career as a school bus driver in Virginias Fairfax County, retiring in 2015, has been forced to face how racism in Leesburg schools persisted long after he left. Just recently, his three children, now adults, detailed to him for the first time how they experienced racial discrimination in the system long after the district was formally desegregated.

They were called the N word and during Black history they were asked to explain things like they were considered slaves, he said. They were treated like Well, youre supposed to know about this so tell us about it.

Arnold Ambers, who graduated from Loudoun Countys racially segregated Douglass School in 1960, was a member of the varsity basketball team (Photo courtesy Arnold Ambers)

Several years ago, the school district began to address issues of racial equity after high-profile reports found inequities negatively affected the academic progress among students of color, prompting school leaders to create a Plan to Combat Systemic Racism, including teacher trainings that focused on helping educators foster racial consciousness.

Then, in September 2020, county officials issued a long-overdue apology to the Black community for joining the campaign of massive resistance decades ago. While noting that much work must be done to fully correct or eradicate matters of racial inequality in the county, the officials wrote that county educators must continually assess the status of racial equity in the school system and correct its past transgressions as it pertains to race.

Even in the face of backlash and intimidation, Briskman, the county Board of Supervisors member who gained notoriety in 2017 when she gave former President Donald Trumps motorcade the middle finger, vowed to carry on.

The work is not going to stop, she said, and were not going to be threatened.

This article was published in partnership with The 74. Sign up for The 74s newsletter here.

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More than $1.2 Million to be Invested in Neighborhood Economic Recovery – SPD Blotter

Posted: August 28, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Applications areopenforawards up to $100,000 throughthe new Neighborhood Economic RecoveryFundfor community-led projects to reignite the local economy.

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and theSeattle Office of Economic Development (OED)announced theNeighborhood Economic Recovery Fund,which will support community-led strategiessuch as public and commercialspaceactivation, digitalequity, outreach and other economic recoveryprojectstorespond to the specific economic and community needs of neighborhoods across Seattle, with an intentional focus on racial equity.In total, the Office of Economic Developmentwill invest more than $6millionthrough direct grants to neighborhood business district organizations and othercommunity-basedorganizations through a public request for proposal.

Throughthe Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act,$1.2million is availablethrough therequest for proposal process.Eligibleapplicants include business, community, cultural or artsorganizations, cultural districts,andsmall businesses such as community event producers, artists, consultants or a collection of individuals supporting neighborhood strategies with broadly shared benefits.Grants will fund recovery strategies and activities such as:

The inequities and disparities we saw exacerbated by COVID were seen in the experiences of individuals and families and collectively at the neighborhood level, said Pamela Banks, Interim Director of Office of Economic Development. In order for Seattle to have a truly inclusive economy, we mustprovide substantial recovery investments for our neighborhoodsparticularly those who experienced the greatest economic, health and social devastationto help our communities, businesses, and residents recover and thrive. This investment seeks to do just that by partnering with our organizations already doing this work and welcoming the new ideas of others that arewillingand ready to contribute to our collective recovery efforts!

Eligible applicants can submit project proposals to theNeighborhood Economic Recovery Fund RFPfor awards up to $100,000. Selection of awardees and final grant amounts will be based on the following criteria:

Proposals are due to byWednesday, October7, 2021, at 5 p.m.The SeattleOffice ofEconomicDevelopmentwill also host three information sessions for interested applicants to describe the intent of this funding opportunity and answer questions regarding eligible activities, the application process and how to use the online grant portal. The online information sessions will be hosted onWebex.

If you needaccommodations,assistance or interpretationto completethe applicationor at theinformation session, please contact the Seattle Office of Economic Development atoed@seattle.govor(206) 684-8090.

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‘Making Connections is my Number one Priority’: Teachers Share Their Plans for This Year (Opinion) – Education Week

Posted: at 12:03 pm

(This is the second post in a three-part series. You can see Part One here.)

The new question-of-the-week is:

How will your lessons, teaching, and classes look different this year and in the post-COVID 19 era from how they did in previous years?

In Part One, Sarah Cooper, Sheila Wilson, Keisha Rembert, and Tara Bogozan shared their ideas. All four were also guests on my 10-minute BAM! Radio Show. You can also find a list of, and links to, previous shows here.

Today, Amber Chandler, Cristiane Galvo, Taylor M. Jacobson, Sean Ruday, and Luiza Mureseanu provide their responses.

Amber Chandler is the author of The Flexible SEL Classroom and a contributor to many education blogs. She teaches 8th grade ELA in Hamburg, N.Y. Amber is the president of her union of 400 teachers. Follow her @MsAmberChandler and check out her website:

One of the lessons of this pandemic is that isolation is detrimental to mental health. It isnt that I didnt understand this on an intellectual level, but when forced to experience it myself, with my own children, and with my students, Im more convinced than ever that the impact of the forced isolation is going to linger. Many of us noticed this as kiddos came back to buildings. They werent talking. Interactions were limited. They clung to their phones like a security blanket, and in a way they were acting exactly as should have been expected. With limited interactions other than by devices, who wouldnt feel the need to hold onto all that kept them going for months?

As I think about how my classroom should look, feel, and operate, making connections is my number one priority. Some of the most important moments we are going to have with our students are going to be in the time-in-between interactions. My goal is to speak to students by name, with eye contact, and personalized conversations. Again, it isnt that I didnt do these things before, but post-pandemic it is going to be intentional, not incidental.

Additionally, Im going to put my Good Calls Home plan that I do every year into hyperdrive. Usually, I call or email five families a day until I have cycled through my roster, and then I do it a second time before Thanksgiving. This year, Im moving that up to a deadline before Halloween. Families have been isolated from the school community too, too often staring at Google Classroom notifications instead of interacting with educators. I plan to host an in-person (I hope) back-to-school potluck as well.

In previous years, Ive cared greatly about building relationships with students and families, but due to the pandemic, this task is going to be greater. Theres simply too much at stake to let anyone slip through the cracks. It comes naturally to me, but with 125- plus students and families, it is easy to take the path of least resistance, and I think that there is going to be resistance. The isolation and constant screen time has made the easiest of interactions seem momentous, further heightening the anxiety around social interaction.

The primary formalized way Ill address this socialization deficit is to build opportunities for structured conversation via our project based learning classroom. As I build resource groups (groups that are formed based on students strengths and weaknesses, as well as their interest), Ill make sure to do relationship-building activities. I like to use conversation cards that I create, laminate, and keep on a key ring. When we have a few down moments, Ill have students do a card together and observe which students need support and make sure to connect.

Weve known the importance of social-emotional learning, but post pandemic, classroom communities are going to be more important than ever. Perhaps, if there is a silver lining, we can look at this time ahead as a chance to establish best practices around social-emotional learning that include intentional community-building.

Cristiane Galvo holds a masters degree in applied linguistics from the University of Taubat, Brazil, and a doctorate in higher education leeadership from California Lutheran University. She has taught ESL for 20 years and has offered professional development to language teachers from around the world:

Teaching in the post COVID-19 era will certainly look different than previous to the pandemic. My lessons, teaching, and classes will differ not only in the planning aspect but in the social aspect as well. Teaching remotely through the pandemic certainly made my lessons look different than they would have been in the classroom. Not teaching my students in person changed the dynamic. Warm-up activities that required movement and interaction among the students were no longer possible. I am glad I could at least play some games through websites that I shared on my screen with my students.

Working exclusively remotely, I had to create a lot of new material for my classes. It was a year for search and research, learning how to integrate new tools in my lesson plans and classes. That knowledge cannot be ignored, and I like the fact that I can apply some online tools to my in-person classes as well. I will continue to take advantage of some platforms and websites. I believe that the use of technology will be more present in my classes, but I will make sure that my students have quality time for discussions without the pressure of looking at a screen.

I have always valued the personal connection in my classes, but many times this connection was not possible because of the unfamiliar technology or unstable internet connection. As we return to in-person teaching, among the many things that I will change is making sure that my students have space and time not only to connect with their classmates, but also to the school community through cultural events. In addition, I will add to my lessons topics that will emphasize the importance of friendship and how good relationships can support us in moments like the ones we have experienced during the pandemic.

I will include hands-on activities that require group work and discussion more than I did before. The lack of the physical space and contact was a challenge for educators and students. The cognitive and emotional effects of the lock-down and remote learning was undeniable. . The fact is that classrooms are not the only space where people can learn. Educators should take more advantage of the open space on their campus. I want my students to do activities outside the classroom as well. A walk around campus and sitting in a big circle under a tree playing a vocabulary game will certainly benefit my students.

Thinking about the practical side and being prepared for future changes, I will always rely on my Google docs and save as much of my previous remote work as possible. One strategy that I have adopted is keeping my bookmarks organized into topics. This will facilitate my reach to a useful technique, website, or lesson plan that I have successfully used previously.

I believe that remote learning contributed to the students ability to research online more purposefully and critically. Assigning an online task will also be easier since the students are already familiar with so many platforms available to them.

Taylor Jacobson is a 5th grade teacher in Virginia Beach, Va. You can follow her on Twitter at @mstjacobson.

Sean Ruday is an associate professor and the program coordinator of English education at Longwood University in Virginia and a former classroom teacher. Sean and Taylor are co-authors of Remote Teaching and Learning in the Elementary ELA Classroom. You can follow him on Twitter at @SeanRuday:

Teachers are superheroes. It was the resounding hum from parents, students, and politicians around the country when teachers were able to become Zoom experts with virtual lesson plans over the weekend of March 13, 2020. In the past year and a half, opinions may have changed, but the hard work and dedication of educators around the country have only gotten stronger.

With the mask mandates beginning to let up, vaccines being available for a large group of the population, and with many parents looking forward to sending their students on the bus to their first day of school, its now time for us to reflect on what we have learned since March 2020. In this piece, we will discuss three ways our classes and teaching will change based on what weve learned about the importance of rapport and relationships, the need to focus on equity and justice within education, and the necessity to use technology meaningfully.


Our classrooms are intentionally set up to develop and foster relationships. We both find rapport an incredibly strong and important part of our classroom management. When we had to teach students virtually, we learned just how important that relationship building is. As we transition to post-COVID 19 teaching, we want to continue to be purposeful about the relationships we facilitate in our classrooms. No matter the instructional modality, we feel that it is essential that teachers work to construct communities that facilitate teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships. We have to ensure that our students feel happy, loved, and appreciated. Beyond the strong relationships we will build through our rapport, for students to feel that way in our classroom, they must know that they are valued, represented, and safe.


Shortly after the nation was put into shock by the COVID-19 pandemic, George Floyd was murdered and people across the nation took to protesting the abhorrent treatment of Black men and women in America. Teachers realized that they could not be silent about this and many teachers decided that they needed to educate themselves on how to have these conversations in the classroom. People like Liz Kleinrock, Ibram X. Kendi, and Paul Gorski continue to share their deep knowledge about anti-racist and anti-bias education. From here on out, we have to be intentional and direct about our inclusion and work towards justice. Teachers have a powerful position in the classroom to help students see that all people are deserving of justice and allow students to find out what they feel they can do about the inequities of the world.


In order to allow students to figure out what they find most important to learn about, we must begin to look critically at the technology we have in the classroom . One of the best ways to allow students to use technology beyond online worksheets and programs is to allow students to use inquiry to learn on their own. We can use technology to help students engage in authentic inquiries and apply knowledge in meaningful, student-centered ways. For example, we can help students identify concepts and essential questions they want to further understand and support them as they use technological resources to learn more about those concepts and questions and then ultimately convey their knowledge. Remote instruction has emphasized for us that technological resources be used in authentic, inquiry-based instruction and assessment.


The pandemic has exposed a lot of issues in the way that things have always been done. We have the unique and exceptional opportunity to take this as a learning moment and a fresh start.. By focusing on intentional relationships, working consistently to be anti-racist and anti-biased, and using technology meaningfully, we can ensure that we have a new and wonderful beginning.

Luiza Mureseanu is a secondary school teacher currently working as Instructional Resource Teacher, K-12, for ESL/ELD Programs in the Peel District School Board, Ontario. With over 18 years of teaching in Canada and Romania, she believes that all English-learners will be successful in schools that cultivate culturally and linguistically responsive practices and promote an asset-based teaching approach:

COVID19 significantly changed the world of education in ways that could not be anticipated before. Although the negative impact was strong, some positive outcomes came out of this global pandemic, too.

Educators around the world painstakingly explored and implemented new and functional delivery models, effective programs, various supports for students, and they continuously diversified instruction. A lot of know-how was built in a short amount of time, and this will serve education in the years to come. In particular, the use of technology will have a long-lasting impact in teaching and learning. The crisis required all teachers to become proficient, even if not always comfortable, with technology tools. Those who used these to augment and enhance instruction often found success with their learners.

The biggest lesson to take away from this crisis is the importance of using technology to improve teaching. Moving forward, I hope that teaching instruction in the post-COVID era will always include differentiating tools and help teachers constantly adapt as needed to spark engagement and facilitate learning.

The complexity that various technologies bring is both a gift and a curse at times. It is an asset for teachers if used to support independent work and student communication, and it allows for more diverse outcomes in the learning process. It is a deficit if technologies are used to minimize the time for classroom instruction or student interaction. Our students are savvy technology users. We must engage them in complex instruction demonstrating that teachers are not, simply put, a human search engine.

Thanks to Amber, Cristiane, Taylor, Sean and Luiza for contributing their reflections.

Please feel free to leave a comment with your reactions to the topic or directly to anything that has been said in this post.

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if its selected or if youd prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo.

Education Week has published a collection of posts from this blog, along with new material, in an e-book form. Its titled Classroom Management Q&As: Expert Strategies for Teaching.

Just a reminder; you can subscribe and receive updates from this blog via email. (The RSS feed for this blog, and for all Ed Week articles, has been changed by the redesignnew ones are not yet available). And if you missed any of the highlights from the first nine years of this blog, you can see a categorized list below.

I am also creating a Twitter list including all contributors to this column.

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The past and present of American utopianism | Life Examined – KCRW

Posted: at 12:03 pm

Well before the counterculture years of the 60s and 70s , 17th and 18th century America offered fertile grounds for those with utopian impulses. Groups like the Shakers, the Oneida community, and even the ideas of the Transcendentalists were founded on the notion that their societies would be so appealing and perfect that they would give rise to larger movements.

Most collapsed, torn apart by the realities of life and human nature. Today they provide interesting critiques of the worlds in which they came to be, and some even carry lasting legacies, like public schools and libraries. KCRWs Jonathan Bastian talks with Chris Jennings, writer and author of Paradise Now; The Story of American Utopianism, and traces the history of some of Americas earliest brick and mortar utopian communities

Chris Jennings is a writer and the author of Paradise Now; The Story of American Utopianism. Photo by Terri Loewenthal

The majority of those 18th and 19th century Americas utopian visions were on the extreme end of the spectrum imposing strict rules to achieve a perfect society had a habit of bumping up against human nature. Today, however, there are plenty of intentional communities all over the U.S., perhaps with less rigid rules and more realistic ideals. Many of them center around creative ways to share land and housing. KCRWs Jonathan Bastian talks with Anna Newcomb, founder and 20-year resident of Blueberry Hill, a cohousing community in Northern Virginia, about the joys and appeal of community living.

Anna Newcomb is the founder and 20-year resident of Blueberry Hill, a cohousing community in Northern Virginia. Photo by Brian Kent.

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The past and present of American utopianism | Life Examined - KCRW

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Beyond the Bonfire Fireside at Five Finds Community – 303 Magazine

Posted: at 12:03 pm

Fireside at Five is on a mission to rekindle the flame for connection that began to fizzle out throughout the pandemic. What began as just another Zoom call in early 2020 turned into a much-needed break from long, monotonous days. Its five oclock somewhere, because each Fireside chat connects Denvers professionals and passionate individuals for Happy Hour. Raising a toast to battle the pandemic situation was in order, but not nearly the sole focus.

Instead, these chats began with a group of friends having meaningful conversations about life, bringing together those within one industry to talk about hardships, the future and solutions for their precarious situations. It pushed for intimacy in a time of isolation with that time potentially ending, the community-driven focus of Fireside at Five has extended its reach to continue to bring more members into the thoughtful circle.

(Left) Founder Gertie Harris and the first official employee, Jaclyn Drummond. Photo by Jeff Fierberg.

Founder Gertie Harris demonstrated the strength that COVID instilled in a lot of folks by continuing to move forward even when life seemed stagnant. Instead of wallowing in unfortunate circumstances, she fortified communities with intentional collaboration to grow beyond the homes people were locked up in. Over 120 chats have united more than 500 spirited minds. Even as more screens went black with summer in session and the pandemic softening, the capabilities for Fireside at Five programmings burn brightly.

The beginning of Fireside started innocently with strengthening connections I already had. Then in morphed into a resource for the people of Denver to find intentional and impactful partnerships all around them, said Harris.

The conversation continued to flourish without the accompaniment of blue light glasses, a rudimentary cocktail or WiFi. An official campfire event hasnt been added to their queue, instead Fireside at Five unites folks at each different pop-up series extending from summer and into the fall.

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Firesides first major collaboration, The Supper Club series, intermingled the community of chefs that tirelessly persevered in the face of the pandemic. Tajahi Cooke is the ring leader of these events bestowing it with the name of his inspiration, Ms. Betty. His idea of a pop-up series is meant to unite, connect and bond locals with chefs, thereby strengthening the communitys power through authentic engagements. He brings lightness and joy into a space thats painted with stress. Among the heat of one kitchen, Cooke welcomes Denvers food industry moguls to burn brightly alongside him. Fellow contributors include Frank Bonanno who has blessed Denverites with concepts like Mizuna and the Dairy Block and Natascha Hess who grew an authentic Asian street food truck into a new storefront. Well-recognized chefs foster intimacy through dialogue as they escape from the kitchen for the night. This cocktail party has the chefs hosting.

As the momentum of these monthly dinners grew, so did the possibility for action and impact. This summer they partnered with Sophies Neighborhood, a local organization for the awareness of Multicentric Carpotarsal Osteolysis Syndrome (MCTO). Sophie Rosenberg, Hosea Rosenberg of Blackbelly and Santo in Boulders daughter, was diagnosed with this bone degenerative condition last year. MCTO affects 30 individuals in the world at a diagnostic level, but from the support of The Supper Club series and the community, it now affects many Denver individuals that have signed up to help. Each dinner gave a portion of the proceeds to the foundation. The dinner Rosenberg co-hosted donated all its proceeds and resulted in over $35,000 raised for MCTO research. Fireside helped define the aspect of a neighborhood within this organization.

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Fireside at Five revolutionizes the idea of fundraising. Many organizations and individuals are uplifted on their track to a higher goal. Firesides current project is for the betterment of the RiNo Art Park and allows artists and creative minds to utilize tools, space, kitchens and each other for their newest projects. Their major events have been the Summer Swing Series and Gin and Jazz nights. The Summer Swing Series hits its final note on August 27, 2021. DJ Bella Scratch mixing music livens up the lounge location. Live artist Buddy Bravos reminds attendees what the Art Park can cultivate. Libations from Mythology Spirits quenches any dancers thirst. Pop-up veteran Heart of Vintage makes yet another appearance to elevate anyones closet.

READ: Summer Speakeasy Series Is A Fun New Fundraiser

The summer fun might be settling down, but Harris ability to rally the community through events is amplifying. Now Fireside works with developers to bring more unique pop-ups to the Denver space. These outlets being art, food and music.

Scene from the RiNo Art Park. Photo Courtesy of Rino Art District.

A current project partnered Fireside at Five with a local startup, Pocket Change, which converts social media engagement into fundraising dollars. Founder Christian Dooley saw the potential a like and repost could have. A user of Pocket Change engaging on the app converts to a microloan from a cloud of funds provided by investors. It draws out the action as well as awareness. Fireside at Fives partnership with Pocket Change builds on their funding to grow the RiNo Art Park. However, users can also start their own fundraising ventures for their personal passion projects.

Harris brings the best of memories collected at a campsite bonfire to the city of Denver. Intentionality and impact continue to light the way for the future of this community.

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Beyond the Bonfire Fireside at Five Finds Community - 303 Magazine

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1000 ACTS OF KINDNESS: Northridge Church spreads love through special initiative – The Union-Recorder

Posted: at 12:02 pm

During August, Northridge Christian Church has worked to proclaim Gods love for the Milledgeville community in 1,000 different ways.

Outreach Pastor Kristin Meier said the churchs 1,000 Acts of Kindness initiative came about as leaders began discussing how Northridge could be known as a church that shows the love of Jesus in the place where their members, or partners, live, work and play.

The idea of really doing some intentional efforts to invest in this community was brought up, and once we had the idea, it became very clear that there were a lot of different areas that we could focus on blessing, Meier said.

Each Sunday in August, the church has focused on a certain group within the community that they could bless and pray for. The campaign kicked off on Aug. 1 when the church donated 120 backpacks filled with school uniforms to Communities in Schools of Milledgeville/Baldwin County.

It made a big impact in our community, said CIS Program Coordinator Courtney Bentley of the donation. Because we serve all of the public schools, were always looking for ways to get resources. So, partnering with Northridge Christian Church was a way for us to increase our supply that we have so that we were able to reach out to more of the students in our community.

The church also recognized educators by inviting all teachers in Baldwin County and beyond to attend service on Aug. 1 and blessing each of them with a $25 gift card.

On Aug. 8, Northridge supported Chard Wray Food Pantry by collecting food items through bumper bags. Church members had the opportunity to bring a bag of pantry items and leave them at their bumper while attending church service, and elementary students came around to collect them. Meier said about 200 bags were collected that day.

On Aug. 15, the church began working to highlight local businesses.

We know that local business owners are the heartbeat of our local economy, and we wanted to spotlight a few of those, Meier said.

Four local businesses were featured through Facebook posts, and people who liked and shared the posts were entered into random drawings for $25 gift cards each day that week.

On Aug. 22, a dollar club was sponsored where church members were asked to bring $1 donations for the Baldwin High School Resource Room, a place where students can go to get necessities such as hygiene and food items.

This will be one way that we can help them to be well-stocked for the school year, Meier said.

The campaign will close Sunday with a special breakfast for First Responders with gift cards presented to them in church service.

In addition to the planned activities, the church has also encouraged members to do random acts of kindness throughout the community and to let leaders know so that they can be counted toward the 1,000 cumulative acts. They can do this in ways such as cutting a neighbors grass, making someone a meal or paying for the persons coffee in the car behind them in the drive-thru.

Thats another way that we are hoping to engage our community in knowing that we can really transform things by doing small things with great love, Meier said.

Though the planned activities are ending in August, Meier said the hope is that these random acts of kindness will simply become a way of life.

We want this to really become the culture of our church, she said.

Meier said Northridge Christian Church believes in transforming the community through outreach.

We believe that were blessed to be a blessing, so we really take those values into account when were thinking about how we show love to Milledgeville.

Spreading a little joy along the way is a bonus.

Its my belief that the church should be the most joyful place on Earth, Meier said. I think that we should be the ones that are really leading the charge of spreading love, showing kindness, and not so people see us, per se, but so that people see Jesus and see how he loves. Thats our ultimate goal.

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1000 ACTS OF KINDNESS: Northridge Church spreads love through special initiative - The Union-Recorder

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