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Pearl Arredondo: My story, from gangland daughter to star teacher
Pearl Arredondo grew up in East Los Angeles, the daughter of a high-ranking gang member who was in and out of jail. Many teachers wrote her off as having a problem with authority. Now a teacher herself, she’s creating a different kind of school and telling students her story so that they know it’s okay if sometimes homework isn’t the first thing on their minds.
Pearl Arredondo helped establish a pilot middle school that teaches students to be good communicators in the 21st century.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER?
Pearl Arredondo grew up in the impoverished East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. She was raised by a single-mother, a long time Los Angeles Unified School District office secretary, who saw firsthand the challenges facing students in public schools. To ensure that she got the best education in the district, Arredondo was bussed to schools almost an hour away from home.
Arredondo graduated and moved on to Pepperdine University, where she received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Education and Instructional Leadership. She was the first in her family to graduate from college and began her teaching career at San Fernando Middle School (SFMS) — the very middle school she attended eight years prior.
At SFMS, she embraced the mission of enhancing educational opportunities for historically underserved students. To do so, she launched the school’s Multimedia Academy, which serviced 350 low-income students. After three successful years, the Multimedia Academy faculty decided it was time to make a full split and become a separate school. In 2010, she helped lead an ambitious reform agenda, through a pilot reform model, that focused on technology development, improving outcomes for children and strengthening families. The team founded San Fernando Institute for Applied Media (SFiAM), the first pilot school established in the Los Angeles Unified School District at the middle school level.
Arredondo is passionate about increasing student access to technology and closing the digital divide, and is a tireless advocate for technology-based curriculum that prepare students to enter a global economy. Her goal is to make SFiAM a model of educational reform.
Currently, Arredondo is pursuing a Master of Science in Educational Administration and is a 2013 National Board Certified Teacher candidate. She is also part of the 2013 Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship and serves as the Vice President of SFiAM’s Governing Council. She is featured in the short documentary film TEACHED Vol.1: “The Blame Game,” and is a role model for young Latinas seeking to make a difference in their communities.
Ken Robinson: How to escape education’s death valley
Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish — and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational “death valley” we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.
Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
Why don’t we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity — are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says. It’s a message with deep resonance. Robinson’s TEDTalk has been distributed widely around the Web since its release in June 2006. The most popular words framing blog posts on his talk? “Everyone should watch this.”
A visionary cultural leader, Sir Ken led the British government’s 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. His 2009 book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, is a New York Timesbestseller and has been translated into 21 languages. A 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, was published in 2011. His latest book, Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, will be published by Viking in May 2013.
“Ken’s vision and expertise is sought by public and commercial organizations throughout the world.” BBC Radio 4
Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to spark learning
It took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity. In a fun and personal talk, Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works.
As a high school chemistry teacher, Ramsey Musallam expands curiosity in the classroom through multimedia and new technology.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
Technological innovation in education can be a slow and painful process, with new technology difficult to acquire, implement and adopt. But that doesn’t stop Ramsey Musallam, a chemistry teacher at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco, whose mission is “to meaningfully integrate multimedia into a hands-on, inquiry-based learning cycle” and to empower other educators to do the same. Musallam is a vocal advocate for tools like flipteaching, tabcasting, video podcasting and screencasting in the classroom. He runs the education blog Cycles of Learning, where he gives written and video tutorials on how to turn everyday apps like Google Docs, screencasting from an iOS device, YouTube, KeepVid and word clouds as effective teaching tools. Musallam received an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco in 2010.
Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion
Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.
Rita F. Pierson has spent her entire life in or around the classroom, having followed both her parents and grandparents into a career as an educator.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER?
Rita F. Pierson, a professional educator since 1972, has taught elementary school, junior high and special education. She’s been a counselor, a testing coordinator and an assistant principal. In each of these roles, she’s brought a special energy to the role — a desire to get to know her students, show them how much they matter and support them in their growth, even if it’s modest.
For the past decade, Pierson has conducted professional development workshops and seminars for thousands of educators. Focusing on the students who are too often under-served, she lectures on topics like “Helping Under-Resourced Learners,”“Meeting the Educational Needs of African American Boys” and “Engage and Graduate your Secondary Students: Preventing Dropouts.”
“Parents make decisions for their children based on what they know, what they feel will make them safe. And it is not our place [as educators] to say what they do is ‘wrong.’ It’s our place to say maybe we can add a set of rules that they don’t know about.” Rita Pierson
Overcoming Dyslexia, Finding Passion – Piper Otterbein
Piper Otterbein is a senior at Cape Elizabeth High School. Piper was born in New York, but she has lived in Cape Elizabeth for the past eleven years. When Piper was in first grade, she was diagnosed with a learning disability. While Piper struggled throughout elementary school, it was not until 7th grade that this disability was identified as dyslexia. Piper and her family spent a great deal of time and resources trying to fix her dyslexia; during her middle school years, Piper spent countless hours after school in tutoring programs. Although she was determined to be successful in school, work took a long time to complete, and she frequently found herself frustrated and exhausted. When Piper entered high school, she had a revelation; rather than focusing all of her energy on the challenges in her life, she decided to alter her outlook and focus instead on her strengths. While she remained a conscientious student, Piper threw herself into what she loved most: the arts, event organizing, and community involvement. Today, Piper has a strong presence in the CEHS community. She juggles painting, ceramics, and drawing with her involvement in student council, SEED, the planning of the TEDx youth conference at CEHS, and her part-time jobs working in a furniture store and babysitting. All of Piper’s talent and hard work has paid off; next fall, she will be attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she will study interior design and accessory design.
Mentoring the Next Generation: Michael Benko
Featured on ABC, NBC, and Fox news affiliates Michael Benko is the co-founder of the Amazon Best Selling team the Student Success Academy. Michael’s focus is to empower the next generation of students through providing personalized education within a creative framework for students to flourish. Since the start of the Student Success Academy in 2011 Michael has consulted high school students across three different states and worked with five different universities. His vision is to maximize the potential and increase the chances of success for every individual that comes into contact with the Student Success Academy.
Stewart Brand: The dawn of de-extinction. Are you ready?
Throughout humankind’s history, we’ve driven species after species extinct: the passenger pigeon, the Eastern cougar, the dodo … But now, says Stewart Brand, we have the technology (and the biology) to bring back species that humanity wiped out. So — should we? Which ones? He asks a big question whose answer is closer than you may think.
Since the counterculture ’60s, Stewart Brand has been creating our internet-worked world. Now, with biotech accelerating four times faster than digital technology, Stewart Brand has a bold new plan.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
With biotech accelerating four times faster than digital technology, the revival of extinct species is becoming possible. Stewart Brand plans to not only bring species back but restore them to the wild.
Brand is already a legend in the tech industry for things he’s created: the Whole Earth Catalog, The WELL, the Global Business Network, the Long Now Foundation, and the notion that “information wants to be free.” Now Brand, a lifelong environmentalist, wants to re-create — or “de-extinct” — a few animals that’ve disappeared from the planet.
Granted, resurrecting the woolly mammoth using ancient DNA may sound like mad science. But Brand’s Revive and Restore project has an entirely rational goal: to learn what causes extinctions so we can protect currently endangered species, preserve genetic and biological diversity, repair depleted ecosystems, and essentially “undo harm that humans have caused in the past.”