top of page
  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 5.10.2024

“Are you with me now” A J Ryder


“And it's knowing I'm not shackled

By forgotten words and bonds

And the ink stains that are dried upon some line.” John Hartford


As a companion to their annual fundraising event New Village Girls Academy produced this film that will not leave a dry eye in the house. New Village Girls has been a BPL school for about 15 years and continues to do remarkable work. Javier Guzman and Andrea Purcell have been principals at New Village and now Jennifer Quinones is the head of school. But, even when you do excellent work, the waters are difficult to navigate in Los Angeles Unified School District and New Village has had challenges with the bureaucracy. It all seems so unnecessary given the incredible results they have had. It is one of the prices you have to pay for admission when you dare to be different and courageous.


On Wednesday Andrea and I met with Anna Ponce and Noemi Donoso from Great Public Schools Now. Over dinner we discussed the development of our work around internships and outside of school learning experiences for LA youth. After the meeting I felt we were getting much closer to making progress with lots of schools and youth development groups that are bring with them community and industry partners. The next day Charlie and I had a call with Danny Corwin from Harbor Freight Tools for Schools where we discussed their strategy for LA and how we can contribute to it with Harbor Freight Fellows and the partnerships we have developed around internships. It is great to feel there is this opportunity in LA and it reminded us of the work Crishell and Charlie are doing in South Carolina which in turn comes out of relationships, trust and building community by mingling with muddling through the things that matter to everyone.



“Philosophy lives in words, but truth and fact well up into our lives in ways that exceed verbal formulation. There is in the living act of perception always something that glimmers and twinkles and will not be caught, and for which reflection comes too late.”  William James


This week, on college campuses, basketball courts and court rooms the ‘science of reflection’ and judgement is front and center. In all cases “the living act of perception” has passed and what’s left is recounts and reflections. With all of our technology, it still doesn’t look like we are very good at discerning the truth and fact when so many disagree about what happened. Even in the wayback machine, my grandfather and his buddies with tongues in their cheeks used the phrase, “He lies like an eyewitness.” In part, this difficulty of human beings to accurately reflect is a major problem with any system of assessment educational entities conjure up but does it have to be? There are ways……


John Ruskin said, “Lay a brick level in its mortar, or take a straight shaving from a plank, and you’ll have learned a multitude of things that the words can never tell.” Here Know-what is embedded in know-how. Is work done with the hands measured in the ways John Ruskin describes in schools? Can we discern the know-what embedded in the know-how and measure it? In the end, if the only purpose is to match to an outdated set of content standards what’s the point of modes of assessment that back track when the proof is in the pudding or in the case that follows in the dough and in the hands


"Show me your palm"


In the few short paragraphs that Frank Wilson sent me this week, anyone can figure out just how people in the know understand and decipher the know-what. These paragraphs were from a book written by Ken Forkish on The Elements of Pizza. In it Enzo, not a baker but pizzaiolo raises his hands to show that the darkened lines in his palms only come from someone who has pinched dough a certain way thousands of times. Here the proof of know-what and know-how is in a physical manifestation. This is a standard met not once but overtime thousands of times where Enzo clearly points out that not only are pizza and bread different but being a pizzaiolo is different from being a baker. “The life is different, the dough is different, the baking is different. The end product is different. The oven is different. And pizza is not the same as bread.”


This week, I had really good talks with people from Carnegie and Stand Together about the IBPLC in concert with B-U and ImBlaze and the ways you can show how you are smart. More to come….


On our Zoom with John Fischetti, who is now in North Carolina but is also part-time at the University of Newcastle in Australia where he researched the International Big Picture Learning Credential, we discussed doing Longitudinal Surveys coming out of this work right from the get-go. Enzo is onto something around meeting a standard.


Next week, I’m in NYC for the BPL board meeting but I’ll also have meetings in Newark and New York. The week after I’ll be up in Winnipeg working with our schools in Seven Oaks and Winnipeg School Divisions.


Be Well!

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page