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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 4.5.2024

“Are you with me now” A J Ryder

I Just Dropped By to Say, “Hello!  Johnny Hartman

Friday morning

In about an hour I’ll be at Debbie Meier’s home in Hillsdale, NY. I’m pretty excited to have BPL staff meet her. On Saturday Deb will turn 93 and in my many talks with her she’s just as feisty and concerned about democracy, education and the state of the world as ever. I’ve known Debbie for 34 years and our conversations have never disappointed in their depth, honesty and cutting to the chase on difficult issues where people don’t necessarily walk away agreeing but certainly form new ways of looking at the issue at hand.


It was 25+ years ago that Central Park East Secondary School (CPESS) in Harlem graduated its first class. Debbie is now raising funds to bring them together for a documentary showing the long-term effects of CPESS on these adults, most of whom are still in touch with one another.


Reflection, “The essence of community, its heart and soul, is the non-monetary exchange of value; things we do and share because we care for others, and for the good of the place.”― Dee Hock, One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization

A few hours ago we finished our staff meeting with Deb in the driver’s seat and me along in the passenger’s seat for the ride, From where I sat, it felt like everyone was taking away lots of the gems that Deb was dropping on us about democracy and certain words like ‘rank’ where the system sorts people in ways that create inequalities. She also played with other words like leadership and integration probing the many nuances and pros and cons behind their use. My key takeaway was how her genius plays with a word or a question allowing everyone to grapple with the many ways that the ideas behind the word reveals challenges when put into practice. It is one of her gifts. An example of one question she tackled is: When should someone start teaching? Deb believes you should start teaching when you are older, not when you are young and don’t know enough or have enough time. In education we do the opposite.


One more thing….

 When taking questions from BPL staff, it was amazing to hear people bring up students they know from CPESS and each time Deb’s reaction showed that she knew each and every one of them well and where they are now. Hmm?



Dropping by to say hello again…

On Tuesday, my drop by was coincidentally on a Professional Development at The Met day so, I had a chance to have lunch and catch up with loads of people I haven’t seen for a while. The real reason I dropped by was to get proposals ready for B-Unbound and The Friendship Bench with Brian and Cheryl. I was also collecting photos for both Pam Roy’s and my Master Classes. There are literally thousands of photos in the archives.

Here’s a few from our younger days!

This is how we showed up for graduations and proms:


And dropping by again…


This time I stopped in on Michelle Cummings doing a talk on her new book: The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide. This book has been used by teachers for decades and now Michelle has put her mark on it with this revision making it way more relevant with sections on DEI and AI. I’ve known Michelle for over 20 years and have advised her as a teacher, principal and superintendent. It has been great to be part of her trajectory. The update of this book also includes some BPL tips.


All in all, it was just one of those wonderful weeks where I just dropped by and each stop was better than the next.


Enjoy the weekend!

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