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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 9.2.2022

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder

When I saw this article about Angela Ferguson in the NY Times about Indigenous Agriculture on the Onondaga Nation Farm, I mailed Sue Osborn to see if there was a connection to Lafayette BPL School and and sure enough there was one. Angela has presented at Lafayette twice and this coming year a student will hopefully be interning with her. This work around sustainability and growing healthy foods is part and parcel part of BPLiving and our Native American Initiative.

The call with New Schools for Alabama went really well. Next stop is Sonn getting connected to this group about the possible start of a school in Birmingham or Montgomery. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how similar New Schools for Alabama’s leadership development program was to TYBO. I suggested that our TYBO group (Eunice and Jen) have a conversation with them to compare how principal leadership development is done by both groups. Thanks Chris R. for making the connection here.

Great news! A student using the IBPLC has now been accepted to Hague University in The Netherlands. This now adds another country/school to our list that includes colleges and universities in Australia and the University of the West Indies.

The IBPLC was front and center on a call Casey and I had with Deputy Commissioner Angelique Johnson-Dingle and others from the New York Department of Education about a new grant that they received from the US DOE. We are finally gaining traction in state assessment work in large part because of Viv’s, Tanya’s and Sandra’s work around the IBPLC. Shortly after that call, Andrea and I were on a call with the Gates and Walton Foundations explaining the IBPLC. As I told our Board President Peter McWalters, they are all leaning in. I’m remaining hopeful.

This map of Manhattan was created by Alex Bailey. Similar to the story last week, about the LEGO designed prosthetic arms, Alex’s design was done in “LEGO Freestyle” meaning it was built without being from a kit or having instructions. Freestyle comes solely from someone muddling through the building of something they want to create.

Alex built this during his Transition Year, a year where students in Ireland don’t attend regular classes but set up travel, internships, service work and projects that they want to do.

Alex’s mom posted the design on Twitter and former basketball player/influencer Rex Chapman tweeted it where it then got millions of views. What if the same thing happened for designs around BPLiving or other initiatives in BPL driven by students' interests?

Once again, in these stories there are patterns here of muddling through and mingling with people around something that matters to you.

It was great to see Melissa Agudelo right after her first day back to school at Lincoln High. We were together doing a taping for a film series Meaning and Madness, produced by Pam Roy. This particular film deals with the topic of how the pressures of school and standardized testing affects the mental health of students. Other short films cover topics like the over-prescription of drugs to youth and the foster care system. They are shedding light on how these systems are harming kids and communities. The films are winning awards and right now the thought is they will be released in the future as a set that will also include films on the food industry and the juvenile justice system. Case in point regarding the timeliness of these films, this week the NY Times ran a series on teens and the use of psychiatric drugs – The Teen Was Prescribed 10 Psychiatric Drugs. She’s Not Alone. Our work in B-U is the practical on the ground follow-up for viewers of these films to get involved in making change in their communities.

As a child I wasn’t a very anxious kid except for one thing, I always wanted to know where I was. When I felt I was lost, I was a mess. It didn’t help that I couldn’t read and that in Brooklyn street signs were few and far between. What saved me was maps. As bad as these maps might be, I studied them to know my location wherever I was. It turns out that the inventor of Google Maps had the same kind of lost anxiety. This weakness became his great strength. With Google Maps, he always knew where he was.

This week, I had a great conversation with Pram Ram, the creator of Gooru Navigator. We haven’t talked for 10 years so, it was great to catch-up. It turns out that his work on a team that developed Google Maps led him to develop the metaphor for Gooru as a "GPS for Learning" that locates the learner for their knowledge, skills, and mindsets and uses personalized learning pathways to navigate every student to their learning goals. When I asked him if one of the purposes was to relieve anxieties about knowing where you are in your learning, he just nodded and I immediately got it. As Google maps works for locating where you are in the world, can Gooru serve the same purpose and relieve anxieties around learning and knowing where you are? This made me curious. We are arranging time where David and others can take a look at the Gooru platform.

While training and competing Serena Williams sticks to her plant-based diet. If we take a look at the lifestyle it takes to stay sharp in all sorts of ways you can bet sleep, stress management, movement, healthy relationships, and understanding what you put in your body are all parts of her lifestyle. Unbelievable but very believable.

Next week, Dennis, Adam, Wendell Pritchard, and David Bromley will be at a meeting in Philadelphia with the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters for College Unbound to give college credit for The 311 Credential.

Be Well!

Happy Labor Day

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