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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 11.17.2023

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder

The other day, I woke up to an email from Sam Chaltain about an article he posted after his visit to The Met in Providence. The surprising subtitle of the article was: And a model we should all copy. It is surprising because rarely does anyone understand that the bigger picture is that all schools need to have our distinguishers and a culture where each and every student is the curriculum and the entire community is the school. I was glad to see Sam say it.

Also, this week an Op Ed – New Ways for Educating Our Youth by Eric Cooper and I came out in the Stamford Advocate. We’ve received some really good responses to the Op Ed and one action step taken by Denise Wolk who submitted it to the Providence Journal. It was great to connect with Eric and start things up again. Who knows where our collective work will end-up now that we are on a roll.

Charlie and I went to a conference/meeting of the California Police Activities League in North Tahoe, I didn’t expect that nearly everyone there would be a police officer or retired one and that they were predominantly men and women of color. Our meeting with Jennifer Lopez, their Executive Director went really well. CAL PAL has over 80 branches where they do lots of work with youth: preparing them for careers and college; introducing them to the outdoors; and loads of other intangibles. Thus far, our work with CAL PAL has been around their skilled trades programs where they are partnered with the Laborer’s Union and us, Harbor Freight Fellows. Our partnership over the next number of years is about to get much bigger with the potential introduction of B-Unbound into their places and the expansion of Harbor Freight Fellows in 311 type programs. Like most out of school youth groups, they experience the same second-class status from schools but this does not dissuade them. One eye-opener was the penchant for certifications that matter in the real-world. Because I’m not in the world of first responders I’ve never heard of and didn’t know how much investment there is in getting all sorts of certifications that are a combination of performance and text with an emphasis on: Can you do it? The other part to this certification equation was hearing everyone talk about their military service and their entry into the PAL world as youth. Yes, they were giving back. Once I learned that most of the CAL PALs were connected to the specific interests of the adults who work there, I saw how they could become a community of B-U’s serving youth with those interests online all over CA. There’s a great deal to discuss going forward and Charlie has done great work developing this connection over time.

Before the Ashé evening gathering at our place, Eunice asked me to do a brief workshop on: What do you mean by Learner-centered? As per my usual way of always doing something different, I made mention of the four new books that came out about BPL and since Ashé is made-up of leaders from Akron, Cleveland, Baltimore, Jackson and Oakland, we used the frames Love, Care and Vulnerability in Carlos’s new book to understand how leaders can develop youth-driven work.

BPL Apgar

Scott Carson, Carrie Duff, Sue Hart and I finally had our first meeting about BPL ‘Apgar.’ We looked at what we had done in the past and now have about a half dozen ‘Apgar’s’ we want to make for different constituencies including community, students, school staff and BPL coaches. The beauty of the Apgar format is that it is quick and observable using a specific evidence base. It is a good addition to the longer reflective pieces that are most common in educational professional development. The ‘Apgar’s’ range from BPLiving, The 10 Expectations, The Non-cognitive Dimensions, The Distinguishers and Interests, Practice and Relationships for LTI’s. We are meeting again on the 30th at 2. If you want to join the group, let me know.

I’m still playing with the notion of the power of four books coming out around our work in the last 6 months and what that means. Thoughts?


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