Category Archives: Upcoming Events

Announcing TAG’s 2017 Inquiry to Action Groups

Teacher Action Group (TAG) is excited to bring ItAG’s back to Philadelphia for 2017!

Inquiry to Action Groups (ItAGs) are an opportunity to build community by learning together, developing as activists, and linking social justice issues with classroom practice.

Small groups will meet for six to eight sessions between February and April to share experiences, respond to readings, exchange ideas, and develop plans of action.

Below find the titles and descriptions of this year’s six ItAGs. To register, complete this form. And please plan to join us for our kick-off event on February 16 at 6pm at Science Leadership Academy-Center City (22nd and Arch).


2017 Inquiry to Action Groups

1. Creating Grassroots Curriculum, Part II

In this Part II to a previous ItAG, we will engage in a series of workshops that build upon the work we completed last year.  We will begin by reviewing last year’s work, which resulted in a curriculum outline, themes and primary foci for a 7-12 Philadelphia humanities curriculum.  We will also explore existing models of grassroots curriculum and continue to create grassroots curriculum to serve our immediate environments and communities.  We will examine what makes a curriculum grassroots and solicit input from the various stakeholders that are vital to producing a sound, viable curriculum that can be used both inside and outside the learning institutions of our communities.  We welcome you to join us whether or not you participated last year.

Stacy Hill is a 14 year veteran teacher who has worked toward educating youth of all ages within the context of community, youth and curriculum development. She is a founding member and active board member of the Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce.

2. Education to Govern: Exploring the Possibilities of Public Education

How are we preparing our students to be leaders who can push forward a more equitable, liberatory society? How can our classrooms and schools be practice spaces for building the skills and strategies of active democracy? Using the text “Education to Govern” by Grace Lee and Jimmy Boggs as an anchor, we will firm up a framework, assess our classrooms, and explore tools to prepare our students to develop the capacities needed in order to collectively govern, now and into the future. We will work with various protocols for engaging in critical dialogue in the classroom, as well as brainstorming pedagogical shifts toward the classroom as an organizing space.

Hanako Franz, Ismael Jimenez, Anissa Weinraub — Philadelphia educators and organizers. Members of the Caucus of Working Educators and Teacher Action Group.

3. Environmental Justice in the Urban Classroom

How do environmental justice issues affect our students, schools, and communities? Issues in our environment affect every breath we take (both figuratively and literally), but the concepts and language of environmental justice aren’t familiar to most educators, students, and families. What are the issues, and how can we contextualize and fight for them with our students and schools?

Environmental justice issues include sustainable food systems and food deserts, air pollution and fossil fuels, water contamination and oil transport, #NoDAPL and indigenous rights, global warming and globalization’s effects on the world and workers, to name a few.

The goal of this ItAG is to bring together educators interested in exploring environmental justice in their classrooms, schools, and in the city. There are no experts, only fellow learners. Some of us have been using environmental justice concepts in our teaching for years, others are still trying to figure out what it even means. We will also invite environmental organizers from around the area to discuss their work and campaigns.

We will discuss the issues, collect and develop resources, and explore best practices. We will develop the agenda and essential questions at our first meeting.  Educators are encouraged to bring any resources or ideas you have to share. We hope this will be a jumping-off point for future environmental justice teaching and practice in our city and beyond!

Max Rosen-Long teaches Spanish at SLA Beeber.  He is a member of the Environmental Justice Committee of the Caucus of Working Educators. He became interested in environmental justice while working on the campaign for PSERS to divest from the DAPL Pipeline and Fossil Fuels.

4. Immigrant Justice and the Fight for Sanctuary Schools

In the aftermath of the election, students and educators across the country are mobilizing to transform their schools into places of sanctuary to protect students of immigrant backgrounds from the violence perpetrated by the state, as well as interpersonal violence. In this ItAG, we will explore what such a project entails by considering the following questions: What does the idea of a “sanctuary school” mean to us? What are the historical precedents of this social movement? How can we expand the notion of sanctuary across various facets of our teaching practice? What would it mean for us to put it into practice with and for our students?

Jazmín Delgado is an interpreter for the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. She is also pursuing a doctorate in American Literature with a special focus on U.S.-Central American relations.
Rosi Barbera teaches Social Work with a focus on human rights and social justice at La Salle University.  She has worked with various immigrant-focused organizations in Philadelphia.

5. Trauma and Resilience in Education

This ItAG will integrate an exploration of trauma informed practice and self care, and how both affect ALL of us in education.  To explore trauma, we will read articles and one very practical book about teachers’ and administrators’ roles in a developing a trauma informed space. We will also focus on the Sanctuary Model by Susan Bloom and look at the wider implications of trauma and how it affects everyone from classrooms to cities, to society as a whole. We will be joined by clinicians who have certifications in trauma treatment as well as other practitioners in the field. To explore resilience and self care, we will consider the following questions:  How do we keep the fire burning? How do we maintain our passion, energy, and commitment in the face of difficulties, frustrations, and traumas? What helps us bounce back after disappointments and failures? How do we creatively and realistically create change, without succumbing to cynicism, complacency, or despair? How do we balance patience and persistence with a sense of urgency? What habits and practices sustain our sanity and help us flourish and grow over the long term? How do we care for ourselves in order to care for others? How do we balance cycles of sacrifice and renewal? How do we, and how can we, support each other in this work?  
Our goal is for participants to feel empowered with strategies, information and be willing to act further to help push forward the movement of having trauma informed practice as the norm, and a clear sense of their own path towards resilience.  

Erika Dajevskis is a school counselor at W.C. Longstreth Elementary.
Ericka Morris is an EWS Case Manager at the Philadelphia Education Fund, as well as a part time educational consultant focusing in areas of trauma informed teaching practices, self care and best practices for urban educators in general.  Ericka taught at three Philadelphia schools and has one year of administrative experience.  Ericka has also been a certified trainer through Handle With Care, a crisis intervention and behavior management training organization.

6. White Educators and Race: Exploring Our Practice

According to 2012 data, Philadelphia’s teaching force is 69% white, while its student population is 59% black. It is essential for us to have conversations about race, whiteness, and implicit bias with our colleagues, especially white educators. Through this ItAG, we will interrogate the impact of systemic racism and implicit bias on our own practice as educators, review examples of whiteness and implicit bias trainings that already exist, and work to create a training module, specifically designed for Philly educators, to help Philly teachers explore the impact of race on our practice. While the goal of this ItAG is specifically to encourage educators to interrogate whiteness, this group welcomes participants from all backgrounds and professions who are interested in engaging in this work.

Essential Questions:
– How does systemic racism in the United States affect the thoughts and actions of white educators?
– How can we examine the impact of race and bias on our classroom practice?
– How can we engage in conversations about race and the classroom in constructive and critical ways?

Charlie McGeehan is a Humanities educator at The U School. He is involved in racial justice work through Teacher Action Group and the Caucus of Working Educators.  

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

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.

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!

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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.

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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

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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.

Announcing the 2015 Education for Liberation Conference!

6th Annual Education for Liberation Conference:

#BlackLivesMatter: 

Centering Racial Justice in Our Fight for Public Education

 Saturday, April 25th, 2015
9:30 — 4:00pm

At this year’s TAG conference, we invite participants to connect the national fight for racial justice to the local transformation of Philadelphia’s education system. Together we will reflect on our practice and experiences, imagine new possibilities, and activate ourselves to do the work that will create the school system Philadelphia students deserve. Join us.

Currently, the fight for racial justice is at the forefront of our national conversation. There’s a reinvigorated movement to address the systemic racism within the nation’s criminal justice system.  How is this mobilization and raised consciousness informing our fight for quality public education?  What are the implications for changing the foundations of our schooling system and re-energizing our classroom practice?

Meanwhile, the fight for quality public education is at the forefront of our local conversation.  Debates rage over excessive standardized testing, charter vs. public schools, fair funding, and local control.  How does a racial justice analysis shape our approach to these issues? In a city where we are educating mostly low-income students of color, how are we ensuring that we center our work on their lived experiences, needs, and successful futures? 

This year’s conference highlights include a panel that lifts up the voices of young people of color, a diverse set of workshops that highlight a range of education topics, and a gallery of student work from around the city.

Register today and spread the word!