ACTS Spring Symposium: Resiliency, A Whole-School Approach
Monday, April 22, 2013 from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM (EDT)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
One more week to register for ACTS Spring Symposium: Resiliency, A Whole-School Approach.
Please join us for a light dinner and collaborative dialogue, as we explore this new approach. In the face of powerful historical forces of racism, poverty, and community trauma, many of our children, families and educators, themselves, are working in a culture informed by stress - but also communities where "grit" and other coping skills are already highly developed. How can we develop a school community into a "safe haven" that fosters resileince in each of their members - that excel with Resiliency as their culture?
This Symposium will include a short presentation of a new approach to school-wide resiliency practices, followed by a panel of responses from experts representing various perspectives: education, mental health, and wellness. We will then invite everyone to join in a community conversation to consider one another's ideas and advance a holistic approach, for which a variety of perspectives are needed.
Background: For more than two years, the Alliance has been developing an initiative that addresses the development of a comprehensive initiative, bringing educators, parents and community aprtners together in a concerted focus on Resiliency. Participating schools will undertake a community school development process that studies, analyzes, and plans around stresses that impact children and adolescents - and the adults who support them - resilience factors that can be fostered and strengthened, and the common practices, as well as resources and programs, that will change the culture to one that promotes resiliency.
Resilience is the ability to negotiate relationships and navigate the world, to develop a strong and successful identity - in school, in the family, in social relationships, in life. Resiliency describes the context or environment within which resilient assets are developed. We believe that a school community can transform its culture into one that promotes healing and cultivates resilience. Those planning to attend will receive a summary of the ACTS Resiliency Project in advance.
Jarrod Bolte, Acting Director of Teaching and Learning, Baltimore City Schools
Jarrod Bolte currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of Teaching and Learning for Baltimore City Public Schools, overseeing the offices of early learning, extended learning, ESOL, humanities, literacy, learning to work, STEM education, teacher support and development, school counseling, and the advanced learner program. Jarrod has worked in the District since 1999, as an elementary school teacher, Instructional Support Teacher, Literacy Coach, Academic Dean, Acting Principal, Coordinator in the Office of Teaching and Learning, and Director of Teacher Support and Development. Since 2009, Jarrod has re-established the City Schools New Teacher Institute and developed an Institute II for second year teachers, a mentoring program for beginning teachers that has grown to include site based mentors and support for all new teachers in City Schools. He manages Teacher Professional Growth under the Race to the Top grant and efforts to develop and track the growht of all teachers in City Schools.
Dr. Adanna Johnson-Evans, Asst. Prof. of Psychology, Loyola University Maryland
Dr. Adanna J. Johnson-Evans is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Loyola University Maryland. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Marquette University. Her research focuses on in use of traditional African healing in psychotherapy and recruitment and retention of people of African descent in psychology. Dr. Johnson-Evans is a licensed psychologist in Maryland, owner of Ipako Wellness Counseling https://www.facebook.com/DrAdanna/info, helping families, couples, and individuals through holistic counseling services. Also, Dr. Johnson-Evans, a member of the Association of Black Psychologists and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, is Board Chair for DewMore Baltimore, a nonprofit dedicated to improving civic engagement of Baltimore City youth.
Co-Founder, Holistic Life Foundation, Inc., Program provider in Baltimore schools
One of the three Co-Founders of Holistic Life Foundation, Inc., will join the panel as well. The Holistic Life Foundation is a Baltimore-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities. Through a comprehensive approach which helps children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness and self-care HLF demonstrates deep commitment to learning, community, and stewardship of the environment. HLF is also committed to developing high-quality evidence based programs and curriculum to improve community well-being. HLF has been providing programming to Baltimore and the nation since 2001.
More detail about ACTS Resiliency work: Working within a framework developed by Dr. Peter Murrell, Rachel Carlson, Jessica Strauss, and Maritza Alcoreza, ACTS works from the premise that we must focus collaboratively and developmentally, not only on the individual child acquiring one or another resilient attribute, but on creating the kind of culture that consistently fosters practices supportive of each individual's success. We explore the practices and relationships that engender the characteristics, capacities and skills that cultivate positive identity development and support relationships for school success. What are the daily common practices of teachers, parents, administrators, students that foster these skills in one another? What are the programmatic interventions that address specific contextual challenges? What kind of climate supports resiliency through its normal relationships and culture, every day, in every setting? How do we come to agreement on common practices across environments - from classroom to cafeteria, in school, home and neighborhood?
We believe that current thinking needs to expand the optic for what counts as evidence of successful impact. The results need to be in terms of indices of well-being, not just the reduction of incidents of individual trauma. Are students doing better? Are they feeling safer, smarter, healthier, and stronger? Are they attending school, functioning well in school and out of school? Are they happy? Are they interested in learning? These indices ought to matter most to any professional, educator, social worker, counselor, parent, etc.. They certainly matter much more than the easier but problematic research of high stakes test scores or numbers of behavior incidents. We need a comprehensive community, family, and school approach to raising healthy successful children – and comprehensive metrics to evaluate it.
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ACTS - the Alliance for Community Teachers and Schools
The Alliance is a group of activists dedicated to the belief that urban children deserve to grow up in nurturing school communities, where each can develop a strong, capable, culturally-grounded identity. We work to ensure that schools are places of respect, inspiration and purposeful activity, where children have the very best possible learning experiences, led by adults who know them well. With a focus on educational resiliency, we cultivate excellence in all those who support children’s healthy development, creative capacity and academic excellence. We support concerted collaboration that makes each school community one of shared responsibility, engaged work, and infinite opportunity. To those ends, we foster the emergence of community teachers and community schools.