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Elliot's TGIF (2/1/2019)

From El – “Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder


It Rainin’ TGIF’s - I’m now getting three BPL school Weekly TGIF’s. The Maple’s Met, The Weekly What from New Harmony and Lafayette Big Picture TGIF are all great to receive. There might be more out there but are the ones sent to me. These become the graphic accounts/memory of a school’s development with as many voices in them as there are stones in the soup. They all contain a certain set of common features unique in practice and language that make them BPL. Along with Learning Plans for every student and staff member, we always wanted every school in the country to do something like this out to their communities every week. It is rare in the world of education to see these types of weekly’s, not as notices but as documentation of learning. What kind of accountability is that?


My visit to New Harmony High this week was highlighted by loads of meetings with staff, students and board members. Students were getting ready for their third quarter question about developing their understanding through an interest they have around an issue that affects their community (environmental or social). They have to get out and meet with people around the issue which is yet, another step of getting out on LTI days. This work reminded me of what I saw at Latitude last week. I listened to students give some very honest and personal accounts of what they want to look into and the feedback they received from students and staff.


Also, I visited with Chris who is the artist, writer, environmental activist building his canoe at NHH. The canoe is made out of paper inscribed with stories and images from community members and students in the layers of the canoe’s skin. If you remember, I wrote about Chris a few months ago. Today I introduced Charlie Plant to Chris. When got around to talking about how Chris’s dad was a surgeon who is also working on the canoe and is from Woonsocket, RI of course, Charlie had a connection to his dad. It turns out that before Chris’ dad was a surgeon, he was a welder and worked on Block Island. Naturally, Charlie knew people in excavation that Chris’s dad probably knows – small, small world.


After being at a statewide Jumpstart Conference in Baton Rouge, David Berg and Charlie Plant joined Danique and I to discuss Harbor Freight Fellows and ImBlaze at the systems level with Claire Jecklin, Executive Director of New Orleans Career Center (NOCC). It turns out that NOCC is located in the same building as New Harmony. Charlie also met with Adam Bourne over at The Net, who is working on putting together Harbor Freight Fellows for the next 3 years. So far, so good, as all of the Harbor Freight and ImBlaze work comes together over the next 3 years.


On our way to the airport, David and I also made a stop to see Stefin Pasternik at Living School in his new place in East New Orleans. His new school site is an old Laser Tag building with acres of land around it for gardens and all sorts of other activities. East New Orleans is the most diverse part of the city and one with the least amount of schools. Many students have long rides to start and end their day so, Stefin’s school is well-located. It was great to see him and the energy around yet, another start-up in the Affinity Cohort.



Next week, I’m in San Diego and of all places during this cold snap Duluth, MN where I will be giving a keynote to their interstate wide conference of alternative schools. Doug Thomas from EdVisions and I will be spending quite a bit of time together next week and I’m looking forward to catching up.


This Sunday The Super Bowl is in Atlanta. Many players did their Leaving To Learns to many of the same places we went to this past Big Bang. It is great to see how they are using their time before a big game – Rights Conversation for Some Super Bowl Players -

Enjoy the weekend!