Register NOW: Education for Liberation Conference on Saturday, April 30

Eventbrite - TAG's 7th Annual Education for Liberation Conference

tagphillyconf

At this year’s conference, we celebrate the vision, strength and resourcefulness of students, educators and community members exercising power and creativity in the face of abandonment and dispossession.  We stand firm in the conviction that the people and places in the Philadelphia school system are not disposable, but instead worth cultivating. Rather than disregard and erase our communities’ wisdom and knowledge, we strive to create a space that values this cultural wealth and uses it to ground our work for manifesting just communities and schools.  Drawing from the power within leads us towards limitless possibility and real transformation.

This year’s workshops include: 

  • African American History Curriculum Review Collaborative: non-negotiatiables and the importance of the counter narrative
  • The Benefits of Guided Inquiry Pedagogy for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • The School to Prison Pipeline
  • Reclaiming Assessment and Leadership of our Schools
  • Teaching Consent Through Youth Media (film screening and discussion)
  • Trauma Informed Teaching
  • Children with Incarcerated Family: From Silence to Collaboration
  • Creating Our Own Mythologies
  • Historytelling: Storytelling as a tool for continuity and resistance
  • THERE’S MORE TO OUR STORY: Counteracting The Tragedy of A Single Narrative
  • Being Poor is Expensive: Philly Students Use Math to Explore Social Justice
  • Mindfulness in the Classroom

Saturday, April 30  •  9:30 — 4:00
Folk Arts and Cultural Treasures Charter School
1023 Callowhill St. 

Eventbrite - TAG's 7th Annual Education for Liberation Conference

Mindful Mondays: Mindfulness in Philly’s Classrooms

Below, you will find an introduction from TAG’s 2016 Mindfulness ItAG, Mindful Mondays. For more, check out their blog. You can also join them Mondays from 5-7pm at The Living Room Cafe (701 S 5th St.) through April 18. Find their full schedule below.


 

mindfulness itag 2

We are a group of current and former educators who have experienced the every day frustrations of teaching. We know how powerful and effective practicing mindfulness as a teacher is on decreasing disruptive behaviors, increasing student engagement, and tending to the socio-emotional health of our school communities .

Each Monday through the month of April we will be collaborating with experts in mindfulness who will share their resources, practices and inspiration with Philadelphia-based educators. We will learn how to be mindful and how to create a sustainable environments for our students in a way that uplifts the practice of teaching and learning.

Why not join the inquiry? We practice, chat, chew and unpack the complexities of engaging with this work in classroom spaces. Below find a listing of our driving questions for each session. Feel free to join us for any of them, no experience needed. Just an openness of heart and gratitude for the reflective practice.

Mindful Mondays, 5-7pm

Location: The Living Room Cafe, 701 S 5th St., Philadelphia, PA.

2/22: What is mindfulness and how is it practiced?

2/29: How do I teach and model mindfulness for my students?

3/7: How do students benefit from mindful practice? What structural changes happen in the brain after practicing mindfulness?

3/14: How do your students perceive things?  How does this affect their responses and behavior?

3/28: How can mindfulness positively impact student engagement with content? How do I incorporate the use of mindfulness in my approach while teaching content?

4/4: How can Mindfulness support teacher resilience in environments low on collaboration, modeling or support? How can mindfulness decrease stress reactivity in teachers?

4/11: Who is practicing mindfulness in their classrooms and what works for them?

4/18: Guest students and their experiences with mindfulness.

African-American History Collaborative ItAG Meeting Reflection

The African-American History Collaborative ItAG meets every other Thursday from 5-7pm at Central High School. For more and to join the conversation, check #AFAMtalk or email Yaasiyn Muhammad or Ismael Jiminez.

The following blog was written by an attendee of the ItAG, Shayla Amenra. Shayla is currently a masters student in curriculum development at Arcadia University, and small business owner at HAPPIMADE. Previously, she taught elementary and high school, and ran a mentoring program at Drexel. You can find this and more on her blog.


For the last couple of months I have found myself becoming more pessimistic regarding the state of our nation, african-americans, and education. As a masters student I am constantly ingratiated in the woes and perils facing the educational system; particularly urban schools. I also spend time discussing strategies on what we as educators can do in our little corners of the world to make it right. However, no matter how enthusiastic the conversation I am often left feeling discouraged and pessimistic. Needless to say I  needed to find somewhere to ‘vent’ my aggravation after I read the numbers of blacks in prison and continual police shootings. Not to mention the constant attack I see happening on Philadelphia schools, its’ students and teachers.
A few nights ago I attended the African-American Curriculum ITAG group meeting. If you are unfamiliar with ITAG/TAG Philly you can check out their site here. This group is taking a serious look at the  African-American History course with the goal of making it more accessible, providing certain standards of study, and empowering for students. Once complete, the group would like to submit their final curricula to the school district for approval to implemented city-wide.
This ITAG meeting was just that place for me to be. It was attended by mostly teachers, but there were others in attendance who are in the education world as well.  A few of the educators in attendance teach the African-American Studies course. One of these teachers mentioned that 65%(I think I might be low on this number) of Philadelphia teachers are white, and it’s student population is majority black. Given the numbers, a majority of the teachers of the African-American Studies course will be white. What are the implications? What will the experience be for black students receiving this information from White teachers? Will students of color feel safe exploring the historical context of racism and their relationship to Mayor Kenny’s continuation of ‘Stop and Frisk’ with white teachers? What about white students, how can they explore issues around whiteness and privilege, while understanding connections between this history, neighborhood empowerment and themselves? How would the white teacher talk about the brutal history of this country with their black students while acknowledging their role, passive or otherwise, in this system?What happens when they are called ‘cracker’ by a black student? Is it a teachable moment, or another disciplinary action? Can they move through history to current events helping to motivate action from these same students?
What about the power dynamics? During our discussions a black male teacher shared his story of being told his white students feel threatened by him. This teacher explained that he was doing the same things he had been doing with his black students, but for some reason with his white students he was threatening. Is it possible for this class to address these issues? If so, how, and can they be addressed the same if the teacher was white? In this case how can the teacher ‘teach’ when he first has to address the idea of him being the boogyman. How does a black educator effectively teach this course without being labeled a trouble maker, extreme, or inciting their students to hate all whites? How do they encourage unity and collective activism if they worry about job safety?
Even with a B.A. in African/African-American Studies I am constantly reminded that there is always more for me to learn. I am excited to be a part of this group. The idea of being able to use my field of study to work towards effective change in education helps my pessimism.  It helps as I continue to read about neoliberal policies, watch videos of schools being taken over, and how wonderful(not) TFA has been for African-American teachers. What this group proposes to do follows the districts  idea to, “create a culture that not only reinforces a desire to learn, achieve and grow, but reaffirms their existence in the world.”
Source:

2016 Education for Liberation Conference – Call for Workshops, Tables, Student Work, and Volunteers

tagphillyconf

At this year’s conference, we celebrate the vision, strength and resourcefulness of students, educators and community members exercising power and creativity in the face of abandonment and dispossession.  We stand firm in the conviction that the people and places in the Philadelphia school system are not disposable, but instead worth cultivating. Rather than disregard and erase our communities’ wisdom and knowledge, we strive to create a space that values this cultural wealth and uses it to ground our work for manifesting just communities and schools.  Drawing from the power within leads us towards limitless possibility and real transformation.

Saturday, April 30  •  9:30 — 4:00
Folk Arts and Cultural Treasures Charter School
1023 Callowhill St. 

 

Eventbrite - TAG's 7th Annual Education for Liberation Conference


Call for workshop proposals

We invite you to share a workshop with the social justice education community in Philadelphia.  We welcome workshops that are focused on political education  (e.g. intersectional analyses of how institutional oppression affects our students, our schools, ourselves as educators) and deeper understanding of the current context, curricular ideas, instructional strategies and teaching practice, presentations of community work and student-led presentations.  We particularly encourage student-facilitated workshops.  We will offer three tracks of workshops.

  • Restorative Justice and Healing Trauma

  • Teaching and Learning

  • Organizing for Just Communities and Schools

Submit a workshop proposal here.


Call for student work

Please share examples of your students’ amazing work!  Participate in the student work gallery that showcases students’ expressiveness and skill, and also provides models of what education for liberation looks like in action.  Examples include visual art, memoir, poetry, digital media, student-led presentations/exhibitions

Sign up to display student work here.


Call for tabling and lunch conversation facilitators

Do you have resources or curriculum to share?  We will provide a table for you to display your work and offer it to others.  We also invite you to sign up to host an informal lunch conversation around a theme of your choice.

Sign up to table or facilitate a lunch conversation here.


Volunteer!

We need your help to make the conference run smoothly. Consider volunteering to help us in a number of different ways.

Add your name to a volunteer list here.

“Exit Strategy” at Philadelphia Theatre Company

Continuing our focus on the impacts of school closures in Philadelphia that began with “Witnessing reForm”, TAG has arranged for $10 tickets to a new play about the closure of a Chicago school and TAG member Sam Reed will participate in a panel discussing the play on February 9.

ES_TAGPhilly

Continue reading “Exit Strategy” at Philadelphia Theatre Company

Announcing 2016’s Inquiry to Action Groups — Register now!

TAG is excited to present 2016’s Inquiry to Action Groups.  ItAGs bring together educators, parents, students, and community members to focus on topics related to social justice in education, and to take action connected to what they learned.  ItAGs create a space for us to explore, imagine, and work towards creating the schools our students deserve.

Listed here are descriptions of NINE ItAGs, which will convene across the city in the coming months:

  • African American History Curriculum
  • Countering Racial Capitalism for a Just City
  • Creating Grassroots Curriculum
  • Cultivating a Mindful Classroom
  • Feminism is for Everybody
  • History and Memory of the 1981 Teachers’ Strike
  • Math and Social Justice
  • Questioning the World
  • Reclaiming Assessment, Classrooms, and Leadership: Responding to High-Stakes Testing and the Future of Assessment Reforms

Register for ItAGs now!

Then join us at 6:00 on FEBRUARY 11 at SCIENCE LEADERSHIP ACADEMY (55 N. 22nd Street) for a PUBLIC LAUNCH and a chance to meet the facilitators.

Spread the word!  Share the ItAGs list and registration widely, and join the movement for educational equity and justice in Philadelphia: @TAGphilly; #ItAGs16; #PHLed; www.facebook.com/tagphilly.

For more information, reach out to us at tagphilly@gmail.com.

Support a Game Changer for Education in Philly

Early in 2016, there is an incredible opportunity to change the landscape of education in Philadelphia.  Imagine electing a teacher union leadership committed to actively struggling for social justice through strengthening democracy and empowering teachers across the city.

The Teacher Action Group stands in solidarity with the 
Caucus of Working Educators, a caucus within the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) organizing for transformation of our public schools.  The Caucus envisions a democratic and transparent member-driven teachers union.  They are running a slate of inspiring candidates in the upcoming PFT elections in winter of 2016.

Whether you are a member of the PFT or not, please join us to support the work of WE, especially in this critical time!

  • Become a member of the caucus and encouraging your colleagues to join (community allies who are not members of the PFT are also welcome to join).
  • Read and share WE’s platform and build relationships with people around you who connect to its vision.
  • Attend a WhoAreWE Session:                                                          
  • Host a #WhoAreWE session for your colleagues within and beyond your school (contact: kelleycollings@gmail.com for information).
  • #OccupyTheSRC on December 18, 2015 5:00 PM, 440 N. Broad.  Show your support for our schools, students, and teachers.
  • Fundraise and donate to support the election campaign.  Join us for one (or more!) of the following fundraising events:
    • Friday, December 18th: House Party, e-mail contact@workingeducators.org
    • Tuesday, December 22nd 5:00PM: “Meet the Slate Fundraiser”, Son’s of American Legion Squadron #366 Loudenslager, 7976 Oxford Ave.
    • Saturday, December 26th: Painting with a Twist, email contact@workingeducators.org
    • Wednesday, December 30th: “Party for your Right to Fight” (Host: Kelley Collings), 441 W. Earlham Terr.
  • Organize every PFT member to vote in the 2016 election.
  • Help flyer at every school in Philadelphia (contact kelleycollings@gmail.com for information about getting materials and locations)

Questions?  Want to join this effort at a deeper level? Contact Kelley Collings:      kelleycollings@gmail.com215-868-3089

 

Submit an ItAG Proposal by December 1st!

Interested in starting a conversation with colleagues about a social justice topic in education that relates to your practice?  Submit a proposal to facilitate an Inquiry to Action Group.  ItAGs are 6 — 8 week spaces for educators from across the city to learn and take action around a theme.  All are welcome to facilitate.  Complete this form by December 1st to propose an ItAG for 2016.  Questions? Contact us at tagphilly@gmail.com.

The WE Convention on Nov 14th: Organizing Skills, Union Lessons, and Announcing the 2016 Election Slate and Platform!

image

Without a doubt, this is probably the most exciting time in WE’s brief history:

  • In September WE announced its Leadership Bid and Listening Campaign; and have been covered by most major papers in the city. (The Notebook here and hereThe Tribune here and hereThe Daily NewsCity PaperRaging Chicken Press here and here).
  • Through the listening campaign, the Caucus has heard from educators from every part of the city about what they love about their jobs, the obstacles they face, and their ideas for how we can strengthen our union.
  • All that data is currently being compiled into a platform that truly represents the democratic power of educators in Philadelphia.

And on November 14th, The Caucus of Working Educators will host its Annual Convention. Every educator and education advocate is invited to join us for a day of skill-building, workshops from education and union experts from across the country, and…kicking off the official 2016 election platform and slate!

The 2nd Annual WE Convention
November 14, 2015 at 9:30am – 3:30pm
Old First Reformed UCC
151 N 4 St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Lunch, childcare, and parking provided free of charge.

Please RSVP through the website or on facebook.

12036896_840065129425861_3153804035954096421_n.jpg

WE are working to build a member-driven, democratic union that can defend and transform public education– but your ideas and passion are needed to make it possible. Join for the whole day or any part of it (make sure you get some lunch, too). Even if you can’t make it, please forward this info to a Philadelphia educator you know that might be interested.

 

Tentative Program:

9:30-10:00am- Breakfast and Registration

10:00-10:45am- Opening Plenary: “Race, class and the future of our union”, Brian Jones (NyCORE/MORE)

10:45-12:00pm- Workshop Session 1
  • Organizing to Win: How to Have Effective Conversations that Move People to Action
  • #WEarethePFT: Carrying our Message through Social Media and Beyond
  • Internal Union Elections: Know Your Rights

12:00-1:00pm: Lunch (catered by school employees from Taggart Elementary)

1:00-2:15pm- Workshop Session 2

  • Organizing to Win: How to Have Effective Conversations that Move People to Action
  • Lessons from Recent Labor Victories: Open Negotiations, Hunger Strikes, Charter Protests, and more
  • It Takes More Than a Strong Caucus: Grassroots Fundraising for Our Election Campaign

2:15-3:30pm- Closing Plenary: Announcing the 2016 Leadership Slate and Election Platform!

ItAG Facilitators Interest Meeting

cropped-Screen-shot-2012-04-03-at-8.38.25-AM.png

When? Thursday, November 5. 6-8pm

Where? Science Leadership Academy, 55 N. 22nd St.

What? Part of buiding the collective power of students, teachers, families, and community is leading our own engagement into the work together. Inquiry to action groups are spaces for all invested in education for liberation and social justice to learn alongside each other around a theme, and plan actions for communal sharing and uplift at TAG’s annual conference this April. If you are interested in leading, facilitating, and/or co-creating a space, join us to learn about past itags, writing a short proposal of your idea, and how to mobilize community within and outside of your school to participate. Share the word and see you soon.

Past ItAGs have included…
•Black Music as Rebellion * Hip Hop: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly * Queer Issues in Education * • Social Justice Unionism * Content Focus Groups ** Teaching Ferguson *

RSVP on Facebook.