From the Classroom to the World: Inspiring Social Justice Activism in the Middle SchoolMark Silbebrerg, Middle School Principalmsilberberg@lrei.org - @silberbergmark - #sj-nysais
Collecting some stories on social justice worktaking place in our schools:Scale, Risk, Innovativeness, and Difficulty
SCALE: Gets at the institutional impact of the programLeft – “Safe” = ideas/program that happen in small pockets inyour school (i.e., in a unit, in a grade, etc.) they may servetheir stakeholders well, but don’t seem to have wider impacts.Right – “Big” = ideas/program that are having an institutionalimpact within and maybe across divisions and acrossdisciplines.
RISK: Is the program pushing stakeholders out of their comfort zones towards core school values?Left – “Achievable” = student outcomes are predictable; hard todifferentiate work from different years; the students are engaged, butthe program is not really mission critical.Right – “Outperforming” = we have some clear goals, but there is a fairamount of flexibility in terms of design; we are learning with ourstudents; we’re all operating just outside of our comfort zones; theprogram evolves with each iteration; failures are learning opportunities.
INNOVATIVENESS: Is the program human-centered, collaborative, prototype-driven and mindful of process?Left – “Following” = we’ve been doing it for a long time; it feels comfortable;no reason to rock the boat; the students are engaged, but we haven’t reallylooked at the learning goals for a long time.Right – “Leading-Edge” = there is a clear thinking/planning cycle: discovery/empathy, interpretation, ideation, experimentation, evolution; there’spotential to transform teaching and learning in ways that are missionfocused.
DIFFICULTY: Is program nimble with low resource demands or dependent on significant institutional support?Left – “Easy” = ideas/programs that stakeholders can implementwithout significant help in terms of institutional time and resources.Right – “Difficult” = ideas/programs that are hard for individualstakeholders or small groups of stakeholders to implement on theirown; significant institutional commitment is required to achievegoals to implement.
Go tohttp://tinyurl.com/nysais-sj to contributeor use the post-it notes
Students learn letter writing, phone calling,email and interview skills that they use toidentify partner organizations
Some of our partners . . .• New York Immigration • Housing Works Coalition • Invisible Children• Mercy Corps Action Center • Ishmael Beah Foundation• Geoffrey Canada, • “It Gets Better" Project• Promise Academy, Harlem • GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Children’s Zone Straight Education Network)• UN Conference on the • The Innocence Project Millennium Goals • CAPP (Child Abuse Prevention Program)• NYC Million Trees • GEMS (Girls Education and• Patricia McCormick Mentoring Services)• SPARK • Global Kids• Common Ground • Food Bank of New York• Office of Disarmament Affairs at the United Nations
Groups create web sites on our Elgg socialmedia site to document their work
They blog about their site visits, interviews andtheir developing understanding of the issues.Peers and partners comment on their posts.
They join in with and initiate actions tosupport their partner organizations