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Community Partnerships

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 Collaborations in Southern California

Community partnerships are a powerful way to bridge research and teaching/learning practices. I believe strongly in breaking down the walls of the university classroom or K-12 school to create authentic learning experiences as well as to foster venues to share/enact research. During the spring 2016 semester, my IES 412: Teaching of Writing K-12 students collaborated with middle school students and their teacher at Yorba Academy for the Arts. The outcome of this collaboration was a focused writing project that engaged deep learning, connection to issues meaningful to the learners, and alignment with rigorous learning standards. The final versions of these writing projects were made into an anthology of journalistic writing, and the middle school students and their families joined us on campus for a publishing party. We had a second annual publishing party in spring 2017 (photos and digital anthology are here, and a write-up of the event can be found here). Thanks to the Klein Family Foundation for supporting this project.

Other collaborations: I was happy to share my research with youth advocates during the Orange County Human Relations BRIDGES Summer program in July 2017. In May 2015, I presented research at the Rise Up for Children, Schools, Community & Family summit at Chapman University. At this event fostering dialogue amongst local educators and researchers, I presented recent work on critical and sociocultural literacy practices. I also spoke on how I have enacted this work in the past in my roles as a secondary-level educator and literacy coach.

In November 2014, my colleague Dr. Quaylan Allen and I presented an overview of what has come to be known as the School-to-Prison Pipeline at the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels, and engaged local educators and students in dialogue on ways that we can interrupt these social processes. We did this work at the Walk in My Shoes conference, an event held that year at UC Irvine. (See an article in Prowl, Chapman’s online magazine, that references our work at this conference.) Based on the discussion at this event, we were invited to present similar research and engage in discussion with educators at South Junior High School in Anaheim, CA in January 2015. Thanks to the educators in these communities for inviting us to participate in meaningful and dialogical professional development.

Collaborations in New York City

Just before moving from New York to California, I had the honor of presenting aspects of my pedagogical work at a Racial Literacy Roundtable at Teachers College Columbia University, a forum that allowed for dialogue with graduate students, former secondary-level students and colleagues, and other researchers and NYC-based teachers. Thanks to the one-and-only Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz for the invitation to share and discuss artifacts from my pedagogical work.

As a secondary-level educator and literacy coach in New York City, I was able to partner with Mothers on the Move, the Educational Video Center (where one of my former students, Ms. Raelene Holmes-Andrews, recently won a Media for a Just Society award for her amazing documentary filmmaking), the New York City Council on the Environment, along with various theater and spoken word performance groups, to create authentic learning and action projects with and for my secondary-level students.

Before leaving New York, I had the honor of collaborating with the Umoja Network for Young Men, an organization founded by Erik Nolan that works to holistically nurture young men and encourage them to accomplish self-directed goals through mutual support, recognition, and empowerment through collaboration. I had the honor of being invited to be one of the curriculum designers for Umoja as the network begins expanding to create spaces of support for young men in multiple educational communities. I see this work as a powerful opportunity to operationalize some of my recent research.