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.
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.
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
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
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.
We need your help to make the conference run smoothly. Consider volunteering to help us in a number of different ways.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
- 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@
- 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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 here, The Tribune here and here, The Daily News, City Paper, Raging 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!
151 N 4 St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Lunch, childcare, and parking provided free of charge.
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.
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)
- 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!
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 *
In leading up to the October 16th event at the Free Library, Teacher Action Group Philadelphia convened two community roundtables for the truths and stories provided by Ta-Nehisi Coates to emerge significant lessons for local students, educators and the greater Philadelphia community. Through our inquiry, we seek to urge audience members to recognize that the issues that make Between The World and Me such a powerful text is more than a true human story, but a present living history that is actively plundering, assaulting, and burdening Black life in Philadelphia. There is much work to be done to transform cross-sector public policies that have collided to create and collectively reinforce the conditions that underwrite the undeserved suffering in many Black and Brown neighborhoods within Philadelphia. This stands beyond yet inextricably intertwined with the personal necessity of interrogating and transforming harmful attitudes and beliefs that make such policies justifiable. Furthermore, let this be a reminder that there are many local organizations, with only a few named below, who have deep histories of organizing Philadelphia community members to reckon with many of the concrete realities that his book draws to the surface.
Click below to read the entire piece by TAG member Chris Rogers at Medium.
Every candidate talks about great schools – that’s not hyperbole, education is the #1 issue among likely voters in Philadelphia. That’s great. What’s not-so-great is politicians who love talking about great schools but loathe talking about what makes them great. These men and women are trying to get elected, so the goal is to present their ideas as broadly as possible.
For those of us in the actual schools, that doesn’t work. Does a great school support their teachers’ rights to organize? Do they suspend children who opt-out of high stakes testing? This matters a lot, but is rarely discussed.
As a sequel to our 2014 Governor’s Report Card, here’s our assessment of the current Democratic Mayoral Field, based on their responses to our survey. You can read the survey, the responses, and our reasoning.
-The Candidate Report Card Inquiry to Action Group