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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 1.13.2023

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder New Forms, New Measures and now New Legacy - two generations of learners

I had a great trip to Denver visiting New Legacy Charter School and old friends. First off, there’s so much talk about New Legacy. From having Steve Bartholomew as Executive Director and Sara Kahn as principal of the high school to the staff and to the students and their children, this is a school where students are thriving in a great culture. At New Legacy, students are figuring out who they are in the world with adults who really care about the things that give their lives meaning. All of the students have been and are living through very difficult situations that range from human trafficking to physical and sexual abuse both in and outside the home. Many have children or are going to have children. There are mothers as well as fathers there. And, their children are at the school as well. This is not a school that is financially well-endowed but it is a school with lots of supportive adults.

Here’s a few initiatives at work there. Lots of students were getting real-world certifications in pharmaceutical tech, Microsoft, A+, Cisco, Salesforce, Autodesk, Adobe, teaching, early childhood, becoming doulas and Harbor Freight Fellows. These are fields they want to enter.

The entire school uses BPLiving to develop healthy lifestyles starting from the things that matter to them. To that end, there are all sorts of groups coming inside from the outside and then, going outside to learn. Women’s Wilderness – Girls Lead for Life is one example that promotes healthy lifestyles.

Who knows you know what you know

I can’t say enough about how two of our principals, one from Providence and the other from San Diego having no clue that the other was moving to the Denver area end up at New Legacy Charter. Steve as the Executive Director hired Sarah as the principal. It is these types of relationships that get people compelling work. By the way, the mission of New Legacy is: We envision students and young families creating a legacy of education leading to a compelling career, financial independence, and positive parenting. I like not just leading to a career but leading to a compelling career. Aside from time with students in advisory, I spent time with individual students telling me their stories of where they come from, how they got here, how they are keeping up with their schooling, parenting, working almost full-time and where they are headed. In the evening, I had dinners with Steve and Sarah. On Wednesday evening, we were joined by Ulcca Joshi Hansen and had a great catch-up. Ulcca is interim director at Grantmakers and her husband is running for Mayor of Denver.

On my first night, I met with Scott Springer from Harbor Freight Tools for Schools where I found out about all of these CTE centers springing up all over the country. Neither school, nor industry but connected to both in ways that make sense, it seems like these new entities are figuring out ways to work with youth around their interests. That said, at the Wednesday Meeting we previewed Beth’s new video on her new Aviation/B-U space – Habitat for Aviation in Franklin County, Vermont. The video is BPL all the way and is an example of the CTE spaces that Scott and Ulcca were describing. Shades of Thunderclap Newman – There’s Something in the Air. In March, we will be convening our Colorado schools from Aurora, Durango, Fort Collins, the Colorado Springs area and Thornton. Each school is bringing staff and students to this conference that will be held at New Legacy. Everyone kept on telling me what great work Loren is doing coaching the Colorado group and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with keeping in mind a few things. First, Sarah has negotiated with the Colorado Department of Education the development of a competency-based system based on BPL Learning Goals. The next step could be the IBPLC as a way to vet and warrant multiple schools in a system. The fact that Jared Polis is now Governor is a good thing for us. He knows our work for 20 years and we know him. There is quite a bit of alignment with his policies. So, who knows? Things may be lining up. Carpenter’s Clubhouse I’m working on a proposal with Joe Youcha, Anthonette and Charlie to set-up B-Unbound in Carpenter’s Clubhouse’s. The Clubs have potential to be a great fit where youth are already coming to a place they want to come to and now can gain access to adults who do the work that will be a feed into HFF. Thanks to Brenna’s help I had four Zooms with India this week and one email set up with Nigeria. On my call with Parmeet from our school in Mumbai I learned that India is almost the exact opposite of the US in terms of private/public school ratios and regulations. In India 90% of schools are private and there is little if any government regulation of schools. Obviously, this education environment has its own issues but that said, innovators have taken notice and there is a large infusion of international funding going into India for schools and programs. For us it means the potential setup of B-Unbound as an initiative that gets students out beyond the walls of schools around their interests. It is also fertile ground for the IBPLC and starting many more BPL schools. In Nigeria a program , not a school called Peculiar Generations Foundation contacted us for support precisely around what we do with B-Unbound. We’ll have a call next Friday.

The more our org charts look like this, the closer to reality we get to reality

From the Heart of Soul Martin Luther King jr. once said “The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.” I may go to hell but rest assured it won’t be for this reason. Happy Martin Luther King Day! Be well!

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