Each year, we ask Facing History Partnership Schools in Los Angeles to identify those members of their community who have become 'upstanders' - the individuals and groups who shape their community by speaking up on behalf of others and standing up to injustice small or large. On Thursday, we will celebrate our 2015 Upstanders and we are proud to share their stories as inspiration for us all.
My children will come of age in an era of easy digital access, of school districts across the country exploring one-to-one computing, and their hometown deciding that students have the right to bring personal cell phones and electronics into schools. So, like many other parents of digital natives, I wonder how they will harness and utilize the power of this global access. How will they navigate the myriad of behaviors, distractions, and opportunities that the digital landscape provides? How will they define their digital Universe of Obligation and, as digital natives, will they be digital bystanders or digital upstanders?
As Halloween draws near, representations of ghosts, goblins, and vampires saturate the seasonal displays. Given the success of various Halloween events at local theme parks, it's clear that there is no shortage of people who want to be frightened. For a fee, we can go to a haunted house or staged zombie apocalypse, and experience the thrill of controlled panic.
I can't help but ask myself, "Why would we want to surround ourselves with these images? What is our fascination with monsters?"
As October is Connected Educator Month, we are pleased to announce our partnership with Educator Innovator! Educator Innovator, powered by the National Writing Project, provides an online "meet-up" for educators who are re-imagining learning. Educator Innovator is both a blog and a growing community of educators, partners and supporters. We know we're with the right partner, because in this month focused on "Connected Education," the theme chosen by Educator Innovator as its key focus is:
Student Agency, Student Voice, and the Maker Movement
"Powerful learning occurs when youth, driven by their own interests, are supported in being creators and not just consumers of knowledge." We agree. And, it makes me think of the story behind a young group of "makers" we worked with several years ago.
I love the project, too, but the story behind it is so special to me!
On October 11, 2014 at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools Campus, more than 15 schools and upwards of 120 students, teachers, parents, and administrators took the time on a Saturday to come together with one common goal: Strengthening school community.
Facing History Los Angeles hosted our 3rd Annual Los Angeles Partnership School Summit on School Culture. In our first year of this summit, we featured the film BULLY and looked at how small steps can make a difference for peers confronting bullying on campus. Last year we considered a short animated film from StoryCorps, Listening Is An Act of Love, to grow beyond just stopping bullying and consider how to build a positive school culture by small acts of compassion. This year, we continued to explore ways to build a stronger community by considering the steps of an "upstander."
Mayor Tom Bradley. His name is given to a number of buildings around the city – the international terminal at LAX being perhaps the most prominent. But, did you know…
When I taught U.S. history, early in the semester my students were required to read and discuss Abigail Adams' letter dated March 31, 1776 to her husband John. In it, Adams asks that her husband not forget about women's rights while fighting for America's independence from Great Britain. She wrote,
I’d taught the story of Kitty Genovese for years and thought I’d read all there was to read on it. I was convinced that I knew the story. It had touched me deeply, shocked me, and moved me. Perhaps that was the problem, I had become far too comfortable with an uncomfortable story, and stopped exploring, asking, questioning. For an old man it was a rookie mistake and one that I’d unfortunately made every year for 16 years.