Meet Our Latest Fellows: The New Normal Wave
We’ve selected 49 Teams and 66 Fellows to join our our New Normal Fellowship in direct response to COVID-19
Over the past three months, the world has grappled with the new, challenging realities in our communities, work and personal lives brought on by COVID-19. During this time, we have listened to stories and watched 4.0 fellows and alumni, despite challenging circumstances, step up and take action to support their community’s emerging needs.
Our community’s resiliency continues to inspire us. Just as 4.0 fellows and alumni are responding and adapting to emergent changes, we know our programming needs to be responsive to support our community and increase the potential impact for students and families. In response to this, we created The New Normal Fellowship, a fellowship specifically designed for 4.0 alumni working on COVID-19 relief projects in their communities.
About the New Normal Wave
The New Normal Wave is a virtual fellowship designed for recent graduates of our Essentials and Tiny Fellowships, and alumni of our previous programming. All of our new fellows are focusing on projects supporting students, families and teachers as they re-enter into the Fall 2020 school year and adapt to the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.
Fellows will receive $5,000 and coaching to run projects targeting youth, families or educators and responding to problems caused, or exacerbated, by the COVID-19 crisis. For this wave, we have prioritized our funding in three focus areas we believe to be crucial during the outbreak:
- Ideas focused on social emotional learning
- Ideas focused on trauma and healing support
- Ideas focused on supporting early childhood caregivers
Meet Our New Normal Fellows:
Alex Owens & Diana Turner | Be Loud Hustle Club | New Orleans, LA
About Alex: Alex Owens has 10 years of experience as an educator. Most recently, he helped develop the Innovator’s Workshop at Bricolage Academy in New Orleans. That program provides the space for kids to design and build everything from stop motion animation to cardboard mazes to podcasts. He strives to work side by side with students to design authentic learning opportunities that that are engaging, inclusive, and student owned. Be Loud Studios is a product of that effort.
About Diana: Diana Turner is an educator based in New Orleans, LA. She has worked for 12 years in New Orleans schools including being a founding member at Firstline Schools and Bricolage Academy. Diana is dedicated to advocating for anti-racist pedagogies in schools and spaces for kids to play and be heard. She founded Be Loud Studios in 2019 by creating a radio station in her school when she saw students disengaged in their traditional school work and needing more practice with digital media skills. She looks forward to building partnerships across the fellowship.
About Their Idea: Inspired by Empower Community High School in Aurora, Colorado, we want to build on their program and plan to pilot the Be Loud Hustle Club. Through the Hustle Club, a cohort of kids learns one new creative skill independently at home. Our goal is for kids to learn how to learn. We want to coach them on how most “experts” develop new skills — by finding resources online, setting clear goals, connecting with intentional community, and making mistakes.
Alison Gillmeister & Lanette Dailey-Reese| Washington D.C.
About Alison: Alison Gillmeister is a co-founder of Capital Experience Lab Public Charter School. She has ten years of classroom experience and has taught in the Congress Heights, Brightwood, and Shaw neighborhoods of Washington, DC. Alison has especially treasured her time as a middle school inclusion teacher and English as a Second Language specialist at Center City Public Charter Schools.
About Lanette: Lanette is the Founding Executive Director of the Capital Experience Lab Public Charter School. She is an experienced school leader with a demonstrated history of working from early childhood to higher education. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Coaching, Sales, and Operations Management. Lanette has dedicated her career to creating high quality learning environments no matter your zip code.
About Their Idea: Engaged learning happens when students do work for real audiences on real issues. COVID is a real issue for all of our students, so this summer, we will support teams of 3–4 high school students in collaborating on virtually-conducted projects related to the social, economic, and public health impact of COVID-19. Our aim is for students to create a shareable product that demonstrates specialized knowledge about a particular aspect of the COVID-19 crisis. This project will ideally have an impact on its intended audience, be personally meaningful to the student creators, and also serve as a potential addition to a college admissions portfolio.
Ameerah Bello | Mathematician, Jr. fun interactive animated math lessons. | Atlanta, GA
About Ameerah: After spending time home-educating her children, Ameerah Bello, a fifteen year public school teacher stumbles on the gap that exists between math expectations for young children and their actual math capabilities. After much research trial usage she discovered the tremendous benefits of abacus-based math instruction and envisioned an American that adopted this tool which has long benefited countries who continually out-pace us in mathematical achievement. Inspired, Ameerah envisioned — and developed — her own simplified abacus — like apparatus to make math mastery in preschool and kindergartens more universal and achievable.
About Their Idea:We’re launching an interactive ‘edu-tainment’ math course where children’s math skills are developed and sharpened, with a social component to help them feel empowered.
Anna Gabriella Sarangaya Casalme | Racism is also a virus | Chino Hills, CA |
About Anna: Anna Gabriella Casalme is dedicated to creating a genuinely youth-driven civic engagement experience. As the founder and CEO of Novelly, she brings over 5 years of experience at the intersection of child health and well-being, design thinking, and technology. She has previously worked at AltaMed Health Services, the California Planned Parenthood Education Fund, and the School-Based Health Alliance. She completed her MSc in Childhood Studies from the University of Edinburgh, where she was a Rotary Maternal and Child Health Scholar and a Saltire Scholar. She received her B.A. in Human Biology and interdisciplinary honors in Education from Stanford University.
About Their Idea: Novelly is an ed-tech nonprofit reimagining civic education for youth through young adult fiction and digital technology. We are running a “Racism is also a virus” program, which discusses racial inequality and COVID-19 with youth.
Asha Owens & Rebecca Kwee | BestFit | Columbus, GA |
About Asha: Asha Owens — Co-Founder and CEO of BestFit. Asha is a product designer and software engineer with degrees in Neuroscience (B.S., Brown University) and Instructional Technology and Media (M.A., Columbia University). At Brown, Asha was recognized for her initiatives to improve persistence for underrepresented students in Computer Science, winning Palantir’s Women in Engineering Scholarship. Before BestFit, she’s built and managed Edtech products for clients such as the American Museum of Natural history, and was named a Finalist for the 2020 Camelback Education Fellowship.
About Rebecca: Rebecca is Co-Founder of BestFit. Her commitment to advancing educational equity is deeply influenced by her experience as an international student in the USA, her 5+ years of experience as a college counselor, and her long-term experience working with women migrant workers. She has a Masters in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and was a national research team member of the College Educational Quality Project. Before returning to the USA for graduate school, she ran financial literacy workshops for women migrant workers and asylum seekers in Hong Kong, and published a financial literacy handbook for Enrich HK, the largest Hong Kong charity promoting the economic empowerment of migrant domestic workers.
About Their Idea: BestFit is a web platform that reimagines the social safety net for nontraditional college students. BestFit empowers students to build their own support systems by connecting them to on-campus, community, philanthropic, and corporate resources. Our free resource portal provides a single stop for students to find and apply for basic needs assistance, reducing both time to service and the cognitive burden of finding and getting help.
Bahiy Watson | Survivalist Tech Entrepreneurship in COVID-19 | New Orleans, LA
About Bahiy: Bahiy Watson is a mechanical engineer and founder of The 1881 Institute — a workforce development initiative that prepares underrepresented populations for careers in engineering. Bahiy has worked to expand 1881’s offerings to serve partners in higher ed, secondary schools, and primary schools.
About Their Idea: Our idea is a virtual experience where college students in tech majors act as high school mentors while simultaneously developing their novel idea to crowdfund at the end of the pilot. High school students benefit because they participate in a rewarding summer experience that includes preparing their portfolio for college admissions. College students benefit because — amidst rampant unemployment due to COVID-19 — crowdfunding helps them earn valuable experience and confidence through the development of an entrepreneurial mindset.
Baiyina Jihad | Beyond the Classroom | Atlanta, GA
About Baiyina: Baiyina Jihad grew up in the inner city of Atlanta,Georgia. She is Georgia State Alum, Teach for America Alumni and a former Fulton County educator. She founded Beyond the Classroom from her experience as an educator. Her goal is to advance students’ reading and confidence.
About Their Idea: Beyond the Classroom current solution is to provide a 1 on 1 personalized reading experience that advances students reading skills and confidence. Our current model has been proven that we can increase student reading skills by 30% within the 9 weeks of sessions. To address the pandemic, we will expand our method by offering small group sessions and parent workshops. Small group sessions will allow us to offer free or reduced-cost for parents. As well as empowering parents to be able to navigate this space with their child during virtual or in-person workshops. We surveyed parents and teachers in the Metro-Atlanta community and based on this data we believe we can make a drastic impact on these communities.
Website: bytc.us | Social: @beyondtheclassroom_atl
Bianca Johnson | JSSCS Virtual Camp | Atlanta, GA
About Bianca: I’m Bianca Johnson, 27. I am from Atlanta, Georgia also where I current reside. I’m also a single mother of one. I’m currently a 6th Grade Title 1 Math Teacher. I current hold a BA in Middle Level Education (Math & ELA) and working on my last 6 weeks of my master in Curriculum and Instruction. (BA-Georgia State University, MB- Western Governors University). I’ve been told that I’m a very optimistic individual that’s willing to take the initiative involving any vision that occurs.
About Their Idea: JSSCS Virtual Summer Camp will provide remediation throughout the summer to insure that students move on to the next grade level prepared. The program will be centered around the specific standards students would have missed from direct instruction due to the pandemic.
Blake Arsenial Nathan | Educate ME Teacher Dream BLDRS Plus + Program | Atlanta, GA
About Blake: Blake Nathan is a educator and edprenuer. The Tennessee State University Alum and two time graduate of IUPUI, serves as the CEO and Founder of the Educate ME Foundation. Blake’s life mission is to provide black and brown students across the nation with an equitable education.
About Their Idea: The Teacher Dream BLDRS Plus+ translates and delivers college & career readiness core competencies in an effort to support and increase retention of transition teachers and school leaders in title I districts and charter school networks.The Teacher Dream BLDRS Plus+ curriculum addresses key social and emotional areas, by developing a sense of community through intimate training sessions. The program creates accountability and trust through active engagement and growth monitoring
Brad Petersen & Betsy Petersen | Tilling the Soil: A Toolkit for Growing Together | Boise, ID
About Brad: Brad Petersen is co-founder and CEO of Brighter Fun. He is also co-founder and former co-director of Future Public School in Boise, ID. Brad was a 4.0 Schools Tiny Fellow focused on increasing equitable access to innovative STEM and computational learning opportunities. Previously, he taught and designed curriculum for KIPP Houston Public Schools from 2013–16. He graduated magna cum laude from BYU-Idaho and was a Teach For America corps member. He has a Master’s degree from the University of Houston. While teaching, Brad founded an after-school computer-science club in partnership with Google, and co-founded and led a technology startup centered on empowering student voice in the school cafeteria.
About Betsy: Betsy is an artist, illustrator, and co-founder of Brighter Fun. She’s spent the past eight years as an independent artist as well as a collaborator with organizations such as Papyrus, Minnetonka, and Bravery Magazine. Her amazing portraits, greeting cards, murals, children’s clothing patterns, and designs are playful, yet careful.
About Their Idea: Tilling the Soil: A Toolkit for Growing Together is a vibrant card deck of activities for adults and caregivers to engage with feelings and emotions with children and other adults. This idea will introduce easy and fun ways to engage with emotions in a low-stakes way. It will bring families together and create common language and tools across the community and school, even intermingling with teachers and Future staff. It will also offer a respite from the constant flow of technology as potential cyclical lockdowns take place with future outbreaks.
Brandy Jackson & Luk Hendrik | Scaffolding SEL with Scoutlier | Tampa, FL
About Brandy: Brandy has spent 17 years as an educator in grades 6–12. She started as a language arts teacher and social studies teacher, and in 2010 transitioned to become a STEAM educator where she has worked to build career-ready skills through after-school programs and summer extension programs. Currently, she is a middle school educator, and teaches robotics, introduction to business, and sixth grade “wheel class”.
About Luk: Luk Hendrik “grew up” as a scientist exploring the whys of disease and working on how to make treatments effective and accessible to all. Seeing how progress was invariably driven by local knowledge, skill and intuition, he entered the education field hoping to help build science and health capacity in underserved areas in the US and globally. Propelled by the 4pt0 Launch Program, he co-founded Aecern and has overseen the development of the Scoutlier platform, a virtual learning and collaboration platform that allows teachers to transform their teaching so that it works in any situation — the classroom, a lab, on a field trip or at home. The devastating impacts of isolating students from their teachers and peers during Covid-19 has motivated him to focus on how Aecern might support the mental well-being of students.
About Their Idea: We will leverage Aecern’s Scoutlier learning platform to reimagine and deliver our paper-based SEL curriculum virtually in a way that all students, no matter what their skill level or technology access can participate and benefit from. By structuring the introduction to SEL issues and allowing our students to respond in their preferred mode (text, audio, video, image, etc.) in the environment they feel most comfortable with, we hope to build confidence, self-esteem and community among our students, regardless of what instructional setting they have to operate in (classroom, hybrid, virtual).
Brittany Stoudemire | Atlanta, GA
About Brittany: Brittany Stoudemire is a former educator and a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Education from Emory University and her master’s degree from Brooklyn College. Brittany is passionate about improving education and life experiences for students who need us most!
About Their Idea: My idea is to create a virtual learning curriculum that focuses on Social Emotional Learning. In addition, literacy, mentorship, and virtual field trips is an idea that I would also like to explore in the lesson curriculum.
Bryan Boyce & Rachel Lieberman | Socio-Emotional Learning Through Writing for Students of Color with Disabilities | Minneapolis, MN
About Bryan: Bryan Boyce grew up in Waseca, MN, and graduated from Grinnell College before teaching high school English in Lesotho and the Rosebud Lakota Reservation and serving as Assistant Director of Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano, which he led to nationally recognized student gains. He is the Founder and Director of Cow Tipping Press, a social venture dedicated to changing our narratives on developmental disability, for which he is the winner of Grinnell’s Wall Alumni Service Award, Teach For America’s Social Innovation Award, and a 4.0 Schools Tiny Fellowship. As the sibling of a brother with developmental disabilities, Bryan knows firsthand the value and richness of exchange across neurological differences. He seeks to give others this opportunity — an alternative to presuming deficit and pity — through the often inventive, radically self-representative writing of Cow Tipping authors. In his spare time, Bryan takes on the odd consulting side hustle, enjoys every single menu item at Taco John’s, and strives to preserve a streak of having swum in outdoor bodies of water each of the past consecutive 161 months.
About Rachel: Rachel Lieberman grew up in and around Chicago, Illinois before moving to the Twin Cities to attend Macalester College. For over eight years she has enjoyed teaching in special education classrooms, coaching Special Olympics, and working as a caretaker for individuals with developmental disabilities. As a Program Director with Cow Tipping Press, Rachel works toward a society that expects, accepts, and celebrates neurodiversity, and embraces greater equity for all of us. Rachel also performs as a dancer and multidisciplinary artist in several Twin Cities projects and collectives, and occasionally challenges the unsuspecting Cow Tipping student to a dance off.
About Their Idea: Our idea is simple but valuable: to connect the creative writing and book publishing opportunities that Cow Tipping is known for to three transition classes of color in the Twin Cities, with a focus on expressing and processing the emotional challenges of the COVID/George Floyd era.
Cameron Fadjo | Data Stories | New Rochelle, NY
About Cameron: Cameron Fadjo is an educational leader and designer with 15+ years experience creating innovative, equity-focused learning programs, products, and services for all students. From developing the first city-wide computer science educational program for the New York City Department of Education to leading educational product development for K-12 and college students at Google, Cameron has helped create learning experiences that have impacted the lives of students around the world. He has also created community-focused efforts that have introduced young learners to creative computing and data science. He is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services at Pleasantville Schools and he is a member of the Executive Steering Committee with the New York State Department of Education Computer Science Task Force. He holds a PhD in the Learning Sciences (Cognitive Studies in Education), as well as masters degrees in Instructional Technology and Ed Psych from Columbia University, a C.A.S. in Educational Leadership from Niagara University, and a B.M. from Berklee College of Music.
About Their Idea: To create a Data Stories competition for high school students to learn how to create and share their own experiences during the pandemic using data. Students will be guided through a series of online activities to introduce them to the basics of creating stories with data. At the end of the program there would be an end of semester ‘competition’ where submissions would be judged by a panel of ‘data storytelling’ experts. Stories would be published online.
Candice Wilson-McCain | Charlotte, NC
About Candice: Candice is a non-profit founder, curriculum designer, and project-based learning consultant who helps STEM educators plan and implement impactful learning experiences.
About Their Idea: I will create an online professional development course for special area teachers working in under-resourced STEM schools that will provide them with the strategies and resources necessary to support students’ social and emotional learning needs. Using the five social and emotional learning competencies from CASEL, teachers will complete a four-week virtual training program to learn how to integrate academic and SEL in their classrooms. During the training, teachers will explore ways to teach self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision making, self-management, and relationship skills through their academic content.
Chris Duni & Farian Rabbani | Be (A)Part | New Haven, CT
About Chris: Chris is a disability advocate, educator, and digital curriculum designer with experience working for StudySync and McGraw-Hill Education. He is a Teach For America alumni, having taught in public schools for 10 years.
About Their Idea: Founded in March 2020, Be (A)Part is a youth-driven campaign that will employ young people to rebuild our communities in the face of COVID-19. We will use evidence-based practices to co-create and centralize youth organizing and skills training in order to mobilize students to contribute to one’s school and community, safely. This project will also ease the structural burden for teachers, administrators, families, and local advocates.
Christi Carpenter & Alicia Loera | Oakland, CA
About Christi: Career classroom teacher who stubbornly believes education is the most powerful weapon we have to change the world.
About Alicia: Alicia was born in Puerto Vallarta, Jal. Mexico. She is a first-generation immigrant and college graduate. Her work revolves around immigrant/refugee advocacy in Oakland, CA. She is currently working as a peer advisor in West Contra Costa and continues to do advocacy work through her non-profit East Oakland DREAMers. She is en route to Graduate School to obtain her MA in Counseling Psychology.
About Their Idea: East Oakland DREAMers is a grass-roots organization of undocumented young people, that has provided direct cash assistance to people impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. In order to keep undocumented immigrants safely and stably housed, our idea is to recruit 2–3 multilingual volunteers from among EO DREAMers organizers and collectively train ourselves to navigate the confusing and ever-changing landscape of tenant’s rights. We will then act as advocates for families to approach their landlords when they are unable to pay their rent. Although we cannot provide legal services, we can provide trusted counsel and informed communication in many cases, as well as referrals to legal organizations when the situation demands.
Colby Heckendorn & Genevieve Backer | Atlas At-Home Learning Kits | St. Louis, MO
About Colby: Colby graduated with his Bachelor’s in educational studies from the University of Missouri — Columbia. After working for five years at Enterprise Holdings, he switched careers when he became a Teach For America corps member in St. Louis. Colby taught fifth and sixth grade for four years at Mann Elementary, becoming a lead teacher and serving as a model classroom for the St. Louis Public School District. Colby’s belief that all students can achieve at high levels is what propelled his students forward. During his last two years in the classroom, his students consistently had some of the highest scores in the district. Colby has been a teacher and school leader in the St. Louis Public School District for the past nine years. Most recently, he was the building principal and instructional leader at Patrick Henry Downtown Academy, where he served the amazing students and families in the Columbus Square neighborhood of downtown St. Louis. Colby is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with The Opportunity Trust where he is working to launch Atlas Public Schools, an intentionally diverse year-round charter elementary school that will open in the Fall of 2021.
About Genevieve: Genevieve is a native to St. Louis and began her career in education as a 2013 Teach for America Corp Member in New Orleans. She taught for five years both in a traditional school district as well as a charter school. She earned her Master’s in Education from Johns Hopkins University. Most recently, Genevieve was a fellow with the Diverse Charter School Coalition and was the Principal-in-Residence at City Garden Montessori in St. Louis. For the past two years, Genevieve has been an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with The Opportunity Trust, as she works to launch Atlas with her co-founder, Colby Heckendorn. Together they are passionate about reimagining public elementary education in St. Louis.
About Their Idea: We will send out Learning-Kits for July and August. For our June Learning-Kit, All of our students will receive a PBS Kids Learning Tablet as well as resources that are designed to help students learn about shapes, colors, and patterns. We are also working to secure internet access for the 16% of our families who do not currently have reliable internet. Our July and August Learning-Kits will include some basic school supplies, and they will focus primarily on learning resources that families can use with their children as well as learning games and activities. Kits will also include books and projects that focus on social-emotional learning.
Constance Barnes & LaShawnna Harris | Project CUNYReachback | New York, NY
About Constance: Constance’s commitment to social change began in the late 90’s when she helped start the New Millennium Youth Initiative in Mt. Vernon, NY.She shifted her energy from computer programming to education after receiving her Bachelor’s from Lehman College and enrolled in the Urban Teaching Academy at Mercy College. Her first years as an educator were spent in the South Bronx. Constance obtained her Master’s in EDU and Certificate of Advanced Studies in School Administration and continued her pedagogical journey to become a School Administrator, Director of Special Education, Program Director of Charter Schools and hold a host of other educational leadership roles. In 2018, she founded UnmaskEDU, LLC. in Atlanta, GA to provide support for charter schools and families navigating special programs. In 2019, she returned to her home in NYC, secured a role as Tech Career Coach for the Mayor’s CUNY2X/TECH Initiative and subsequently founded The Bronx Learning Lounge, a curated collaborative space for educators to network and share resources.
About LaShawnna: LaShawnna is a New York City based education entrepreneur, strategy consultant and co-founder of sharEDtalent LLC. At sharEDtalent she leads a team that connects schools with freelancers from across industries to help fill their human capital needs on a gig basis. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, she held numerous positions in education including elementary school teacher, math staff developer to founding assistant principal and principal, principal coach and independent consultant. Much of her work has been focused on leadership development, school improvement and managing complex change.
About Their Idea: “Project CUNY Reachback” will create a near-peer mentorship model between current CUNY students in various disciplines and incoming freshmen. Our focus will be to build strong female leaders with programming across social-emotional health, leadership and wellness through a hybrid model.
Danielle Denver & Holly Phillips | Dida Clubs | New York, NY
About Danielle: Danielle is a mother, lifelong learner, and advocate of young people’s right to direct their learning. She has been working with young people for over 12 years in many roles including: learning facilitator, tutor, suspension hearing advocate, camp counselor, mental health group therapy counselor, and dance instructor. She is also experienced in nonprofit management and operations, educational programming, advocacy, and startups. Her work has centered on promoting the right to self-determination for vulnerable and marginalized populations, with a focus on children, teenagers, and persons with mental illness and physical disability. She served on the board of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education for three years. Danielle holds a Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Rochester.
About Holly: Holly Phillips is a math teacher and progressive education advocate in New York City. She serves as Program Manager at Dida Academy, a self-directed learning center in Brooklyn, NY that fosters student choice in education and prioritizes mental health and social-emotional learning. Holly has a B.A. in Educational Studies from Principia College and has been working with children and families for a decade in both math instruction and bereavement supporting roles. She believes that with a supportive community and greater agency earlier in their lives, students are able to develop the mindsets and skills necessary to be happy, independent, and life-long learners.
About Their Idea: Dida Academy seeks to provide a better solution to virtual-public-school-at-home. Their prototype virtual program that launched due to the onset of the pandemic provided much needed structure, stability, and community for students during the time of need. Dida Academy hopes to continue to improve their prototype program to allow students of the Brooklyn community to even further connect, grow, and learn in the fall of 2020.
Danielle Stewart | Decatur, GA
About Danielle: Danielle designs programs that ignite the school spirit of students of color. Inspired by her parents who advocated for her to have quality educational experiences, led her to her own journey as a minority in a predominantly white society and a first-generation college student which gave her a unique perspective. Through the adversity, she became determined and passionate about providing resources that were innovative and could help others gain a new found enjoyment in education, despite their own challenges.
About their idea: We will create 6–8 weeks of virtual college prep workshops, where each week introduces a new theme that will help students explore their options in this “new normal” — from determining future goals, learning how to identify and build support systems, selfcare in college and more. The end result of our workshops will help students design a plan of action that students will be able to share with their guidance counselors in the upcoming school year.
Daniel Fountenberry & Sarib Mahmood | Coteacher | New York, NY
About Daniel: Daniel Fountenberry is the Founder and CEO of Coteacher, an organization on a mission to connect every teacher in the world with a ‘Coteacher,’ so that teachers can share their workload, learn from each other, and provide each other emotional support. Previously, Daniel was founded Books That Grow (Essentials Fall 2013), which provided adaptive learning materials for students with special needs. He began his career in education as a middle school teacher in his hometown, East Palo Alto California.
About Sarib: Sarib Mahmood is a Computer Science graduate who’s been working in different EdTech startups since graduating in 2014. He believes that teachers are lacking the support they need when it comes to technology. To achieve that goal he has worked in different capacities in Tech Startups from Developer to Technical Lead to CoFounder. Outside of work, Sarib is also quite active in sports and part of the AFL Canadian National Team.
About Their Idea: Coteacher is a platform that matches teachers (based on student population, instructional goals, and personal interest ) and places them in Professional Learning Communities or Professional Learning Networkss — so that teachers can care for each other’s needs, support each other with work, and advance initiatives that improve education.
Davian Morgan | Black Boys Book Bunch | Washington, D.C.
About Davian: Davian Morgan is an alumnus of the University of Maryland — College Park (B.A.), John Hopkins University (M.Ed), and Teach For America — DC (2014). Davian is a proud Washingtonian and Prince Georgian, currently serving as the Vice-Principal of the Elementary Academy at his TFA placement school, Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School in Washington, DC. He is currently pursuing his Ed.D in Educational and Organizational Leadership at Vanderbilt University. Davian is the Founder/CEO of Hopeful HoriSONS (non-profit organization) aimed at supporting male youth of color in low-income communities.
About Their Idea: Black Boys Book Bunch ensures that students have access to high-quality, on-grade level texts at home. New books will be provided to them once a month to read, discuss, and keep forever. We will primarily focus on reading texts about the lives and experiences of Black men and boys or texts written by Black/Brown authors. Additionally, our book discussions will serve as an opportunity to learn and practice effective coping strategies in response to the tough issues/topics that we discuss and personally experience/witness.
Gabriel Reyes | OppNet Virtual Science Research Trainee Program | Dallas, TX
About Gabriel: Gabriel is a recent first-generation college graduate from Brown University with an Sc.B. in Cognitive Neuroscience, and a current student at Columbia University studying Neuroscience & Education. Born in an immigrant household and reared in poverty, Gabriel is interested in exploring how socioeconomic status impacts brain development and how this impacts neural mechanisms integral to learning and memory. They hope their scientific discoveries influence schools to better teach low-income students of color while also tackling systemic forces that prohibit marginalized students from progression socially, academically, and professionally.
About Their Idea: OppNet Virtual Science Research Trainee Program will create a virtual science research training program that teaches aspiring STEM professionals fundamental skills integral to accessing future research opportunities.This will be accomplished by creating resources for students to learn two primary skills: (1) how to review empirical scientific articles; (2) and how to use peer-reviewed journal articles in order to create a research report.
Irene Greaves & Karine Parker | Houston, TX
About Irene: Irene Greaves believes learning to love should be the most important purpose of education. Irene graduated in 2009 from The American University of Rome with a BA in Art History and in 2015 obtained an M.Ed from The University of Pennsylvania. Irene has worked in the field of education over the past 10+ years, in different parts of the world. She created Lovescaping as a response to all these experiences. She is currently based in Houston, Texas, where she teaches Lovescaping. Her first book, “Lovescaping: Building the Humanity of Tomorrow by Practicing Love in Action” was published in 2018.
About Karine: Karine Parker is a committed program director, Social and Emotional coach, educator, visual artist, and community developer. She is the founder of Be the Peace — Be the Hope which develops programmatic responses to at-risk youth issues through arts, mindfulness, and social & emotional education. Her programs help develop important life skills and the youth’s ability to optimize their capabilities in challenging environments, from impoverished neighborhoods in Houston to refugee camps in West Africa, Iraq, India, and beyond. Her community and educational work lead the youth to reimagine and improve public spaces, improve their life and leadership skills as well as their social contributions while solidifying the fabric of their communities. Go Hope!
About Their Idea: A workshop webinar series to address the most pressing social and emotional needs of educators. Our goal is to offer a supportive and empathetic virtual environment where educators can heal, build their self-confidence, self-awareness and resilience toolkit so they can better cope with the expectations of the “new normal” and best support their students. They also will learn practical tools on how to engage their students and create a sense of caring and community, whether working in a fully virtual or hybrid environment.
Jen Chiou and Chelsea Hylton | Integrating Yoga and Mindfulness into Coding Classrooms | Irvine, CA & New Orleans, LA
About Jen: Jen Chiou is the founder of CodeSpeak Labs, which runs computer programming classes in PreK-12 schools. Prior to founding CodeSpeak Labs, she worked in tech where she was shocked at how difficult it was to recruit a diverse tech team. She ran a nonprofit tech startup called Crisis Text Line that built the first nationwide SMS-based crisis hotline and built online tools for the media company GOOD Magazine. Prior to getting into tech, she focused on innovating and expanding education models, particularly for low-income students. She’s supported the creation of more than a dozen teacher recruiting organizations around the world through the Teach For All network and consulted for education and youth development nonprofits at the Bridgespan Group. She graduated from Stanford in 2005, where she was highly envious of her peers who came to college already knowing how to code.
About Chelsea: Chelsea Hylton is a New Orleans based educator and Founder of Project Peaceful Warriors, a non-profit organization developed to bring the tools of Trauma-Informed Yoga and Mindfulness to students and educators. Originally from Alexandria Virginia, Chelsea has been serving students and schools through Yoga and Mindfulness since 2009 starting in Charleston, SC where she received her B.S. in Physical Education at the College of Charleston. Upon moving to New Orleans in 2014, Chelsea began working with charter schools within the Recovery School District where she served as both an K-6 enrichment and middle school english teacher. As a teacher, she gained invaluable communication skills and learned pedagogical practices that continue to influence the way she trains and approaches her work with youth today. As Founding Director of Project Peaceful Warriors, she has taught over 6,000 hours of yoga in the classroom, trained over 500 teachers, and taught over 3,000 students in the City of New Orleans. Her work with Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine was published in March of 2018 in the Journal of Psychology Research and Behavior Management. Chelsea has is a 500 hour ERYT, RCYT, and YACEP.Chelsea aims to create community minded and user centered programming that creates safe and healthy learning environments in schools and all students have equitable access to the tools that they need for success. Her vision is to see a shift in the focus of education beyond academic success to address the social emotional needs and success of young people.
About their Idea: This summer, CodeSpeak Labs (CSL) is running all of our coding camps online. Schools and parents want students to be working with us for longer blocks of time, so students are sitting in front of a computer screen sometimes in 2.5 hour blocks. CSL and Project Peaceful Warriors (PPW), the leading expert in trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness education, will work together to creatively design ways to integrate movement, mental and physical breaks, and reflection into our work. Now, more than ever before, is our opportunity to lean into our yoga and mindfulness toolbelt as educators to help our students (and ourselves) feel grounded and focused in this overwhelming time.
Websites: ww.Codespeaklabs.com |www.projectpeacefulwarriors.org
Jessica Hamman | Glean Education’s Summer Swell Camp (SWELL: Summer Work Eases Learning Loss) | San Rafael, CA
About Jessica: Jessica Hamman is a former teacher, interventionist, and instructional designer who has worked in both traditional and online classrooms. In 2016, she founded Glean Education, a company partners with school districts and states to provide accessible online training that increases teacher awareness of struggling readers and instructional best practices to increase student literacy progress, build academic equity, and close the achievement gap.
About Their Idea: We are creating summer school pop-ups using community volunteers to provide instruction in literacy, math, science, and SEL for homeless and foster youth in a way that is replicable and scalable in other areas around the state and country.
John W. Spencer | TEACH IT Labs Institute | Philadelphia, PA
About John: John W. Spencer is a lifelong Philadelphian who believes that businesses have the responsibility to impact people, planet, and profit positively. With that in mind, he formed TEACH IT Labs, Inc. [TEACH IT]. TEACH IT’s mission is to provide information technology that imparts skill and provides knowledge for social change and the advancement of humanity. John holds a Doctorate in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, along with Master’s Degrees from Lehigh University and Drexel University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Morgan State University.
About Their Idea: Because students are now required to attend school virtually, we must prepare and empower families to adequately support their child(ren) when it comes to learning the core academic subjects, as well as support their child(ren)’s social and emotional learning needs. As such, I would develop a free course for parents on my TEACH IT Labs Institute learning management system. The course will address self-awareness, responsible decision making, relationship skills, social awareness, and self-management — all in the context of navigating the local school system and providing academic support in the core subject areas.
Johnaé Strong | Black Girls Restore(d) | Chicago, IL
About Johnaé: Johnaé Strong is a writer, healer, and creative based in Chicago, IL. She has a background in education and has taught all ages from toddlers to adults including serving as a certified Restorative Justice practitioner. A large part of her work has integrated political education, healing, and organizing including her tenure as a founding member and Co-Chair of the Chicago chapter of BYP100, an organization a part of the national Movement for Black Lives. Currently, she is founder & CEO of Strong Visions Productions, a multimedia company committed to honoring the beauty and wisdom of BIPOC folks through education, healing, and the arts. She is on all social media @johnae_alyse
About Their Idea: My idea to address the problem is continuing my pilot program, which is even more urgent as a result of the pandemic and national trauma related to racial injustice. The original pilot is an online academy focused on organizing and restorative practices to bring emerging changemakers including parents, teachers, and students together to build plans of action in their local community to address inequity in education while honoring human dignity of folks at the margins.
Karima Wilson | Houston, TX
About Karima: Karima Wilson, founder of Forged Ed, supports schools in building equitable learning environments through tools and trainings. Her passion is building supportive communities for educators and students of color. Karima has been a bilingual teacher, an assistant principal and a school leader. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and her master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education. In her free time, she likes to cook and play capoeira.
About Their Idea: What we learned from piloting the 100% Me Curriculum with KIPP Voyage is that strong foundational adult social emotional skills are critical to strong SEL teaching. Our goal is to help the faculty build their self-management and self-awareness skills. This program will now act as both a prequel and a supplement to last year’s workshops on equity. The sessions also play a dual purpose, modeling effective strategies for teaching and learning online.
Dr. LaTasha Adams | Atlanta, GA
About LaTasha: After realizing that she had been mistracked in middle school due to the predominant race and class of her elementary school, Dr. LaTasha Jones Adams vowed to be a voice for the voiceless in the fight towards ending educational inequity. She began teaching as a Teach for America corps member with the Atlanta Public Schools. Since then she has been a middle school and elementary school principal, curriculum specialist, curriculum coordinator, educational research associate, and assistant professor. Dr. Adams is also a member of several advisory boards and professional organizations all while founding Dominion Literacy, a non-profit that focuses on educational equity and advocacy through literacy. Through her service, Dr. LaTasha Adams echoes the cries of the voiceless and continues a relentless pursuit towards her life’s mission: educational equity for all. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction/Urban Education from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte; a Master of Education in Teaching Excellence from Cambridge College; Bachelor of Arts in English and Religion from Spelman College. In her spare time she enjoys traveling with her husband and daughter, Zoe.
About Their Idea: We plan to host a series of webinars for families who want to learn more about SEL and strategies to prepare students for returning to educational settings. Some of the topics for the webinars include: 1) What is social emotional learning? 2) What are developmental implications after Covid-19? 3) How can we prepare for kindergarten readiness?
Laura Stein | New Orleans, LA
About Laura: Laura Stein is the co-Founder and Executive Director of Dancing Grounds. Prior to founding DG, Laura worked for Community Works of Louisiana as an afterschool and summer Site Director and Teaching Artist. Before moving to New Orleans from New York City in 2012, Laura was Director of Education & Production at Dancewave (2010–2011), NYC Executive Director of RISE (2007–2009), Education Pioneers Fellow (2007), Policy Associate at New Visions for Public Schools (2005–2007) and Program Assistant at the Social Science Research Council (2003–2005). In 2010, Laura lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she helped create a girls’ Hip Hop program for Tiny Toones. Laura holds a Master’s in Public Administration (M.P.A.) from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and a B.A. in the College of Social Studies from Wesleyan University.
About Their Idea: Dancing Grounds will build a virtual curriculum that provides dance training, develops young leaders, and promotes health & wellness. From our initial attempts this spring, it is clear that attempting to directly translate in-person strategies to a virtual format does not have the same effectiveness. DG needs support and resources to determine a new virtual strategy, including format, curriculum, and technology, in order to create impactful classes that provide the same level of training and support as our in-person programming.
Laura Thomas | The Bud to Blossom Project | Washington, DC |
About Laura: Laura Thomas is the founder of Effective to Great Education, an ed tech startup developing social emotional learning tools geared for our most vulnerable students. Her South Carolina upbringing within an education oriented, black family fostered an early interest in developing habits that would enable her to build and maintain her academic achievement; yet also strengthen her self-identity. With a driven interest in performance, intrapersonal and interpersonal development she cultivated her life-long passion into supporting black and brown kids from underserved communities as a mentor, program designer and educational enrichment educator. Laura completed her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her graduate studies concentrated in education policy from Brown University. She spearheads the Transformative Technology Chapter of Washington, DC and serves as a mentor for the Women’s Launch Pad Program at Brown University. She has been most recently awarded Moonshot Fellow by Kravis Leadership Institute and was named 2019 Dent the Future Scholar by the Dent Foundation.
About Their Idea: Bud to Blossom Project is a social emotional learning web-based technology application that helps student participants track emotions, measures emotional change and suggests interventions and teaches them practices. Our prototype equips disadvantaged students of color with consistent self-regulation practice through our algorithm, while enabling teachers, schools and districts to monitor school climate. In response to COVID-19, I have designed a Mindfulness Labs program specifically for Bud to Blossom to virtually support student onboarding and critical thinking activities on mental health, mindfulness and social emotional learning in addition to its current capabilities.
Lawrence Wagner | CyberSpace Academy Remote Program | Colorado Springs, CO
About Lawrence: Lawrence Wagner is an eight-year Army veteran who also is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Spark Mindset. Lawrence has over ten years of project management experience, along with a background in military, cybersecurity, high-tech business, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and human design thinking. Lawrence has a Master’s Degree in Business Management from Colorado Technical University. He also received leadership training from Leadership Pikes Peak Signature Program and Center for Creative Leadership Community Leadership Program and is currently serving on the Colorado Workforce Development Council. Now living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, he is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and is a huge Ohio State Buckeyes, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Cleveland Browns fan
About Their Idea: Spark Mindset Cyber Academy Program is moving from a face-to-face to a virtual experience that uses both asynchronous and synchronous learning to prepare students for the CompTIA Network + certification. Each lesson will have soft skills integrated into each networking lesson, and each week students will learn financial literacy with a combination of live remote learning and Junior Achievement Virtual Park. Students will receive 4 hours of technical training and one hour of financial literacy each as they move through our program.
Lee Pruett | San Jose, CA
About Lee: Lee is a former science teacher and current school psychologist who is a mom to a student with a learning disability. Lee believes passionately in the power of educational institutions to respond to and uplift communities. Her role in her school district is to advocate for the most vulnerable students and ensure that their educational needs are being met. When Lee is not thinking about special education and working on building partnerships between the school and community, she like to do crafty things and watch movies.
About Their idea: A robust online SEL program for students in grades TK-2 to address the gaps that will grow due to the lack of in-person social interaction and play. SEL programs equip children with the language to express themselves, which leads to fewer behavioral problems and better learning outcomes. A component of my program will be parent trainings that compliment student learning and allow the parents to also learn the SEL language that the students will learn.
Mikala Streeter | Outdoor Adventure & SEL for Teens | Atlanta, GA
About Mikala: Mikala Streeter is the Founding Principal of The LIFE School, an accredited, nonprofit high school in Atlanta, that has transformed the traditional high school experience to be more personalized, real world, and exploration-focused. Prior to founding The LIFE School, Mikala taught middle and high school computer science and math courses for 7 years, designed project-based STEAM curriculum, and coached teachers around the world. She also co-founded an educational technology company focused on college access. She is a 4.0 Schools Founder Advisor and a SXSWedu conference speaker. Mikala has a B.S. in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.A. in Education (Learning, Design, and Technology) from Stanford University.
About Their Idea: Outdoor Adventure & SEL for Teens will host a series of 5–10 outdoor activities for our students and parents so they can safely spend time together in person. Each outing would include an SEL workshop led by an experienced practitioner. These workshops would teach students and their parents practical skills for dealing with the depression, anxiety, loss and social separation caused or exacerbated by the pandemic.
Monica Green | Capital Village Community Circles | Washington D.C.
About: Monica Green knew from an early age that she was an educator. Growing up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, she began working with young people in middle and high school. After graduating from Towson University, Monica began her career as an educator teaching middle school English in Suitland, Maryland. For 15 years, she taught English and theater in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, developing a passion for integrating field experiences, community experts, and teaching artists into the everyday curriculum. Monica has served as a team leader, department head, and coordinator for the AVID program, a college preparatory program aimed at making college accessible to all students. In this position, Monica grew in her passion for ensuring that all students have equal access to a rigorous, college-preparatory academic path, regardless of their academic history. As a way of helping schools keep students engaged and motivated, Monica’s consulting company, Project Destiny Educational Solutions, partnered with schools and educational organizations to provide curriculum writing and professional development services. Monica founded Capital Village PCS as a way of reaching students who get lost in the system of schools not built for them. She believes that with learning environments that are flexible, adaptable, and customizable to student needs, all students can thrive. Monica earned her Master’s degree in education in curriculum and instruction. She is also a candidate for a Ph.D. in educational leadership, with a dissertation on student engagement in the blended class
About Their Idea: Community Circles for Students & Families: We will bring on a trained certified psychologist to lead group therapy sessions for students. These sessions, entitled community circles, are aimed at providing students both coping skills and positive peer support during the first semester. We will also hold another group therapy session for the parent or guardians of the student participating. These sessions are to provide coping skills for the adults also dealing with the trauma associated with the Coronavirus outbreak. Together the groups are working on the same coping skills but in an adult and child context. Further, the counselor will work with individual families on continued services through various programs.
Nakeyshia Kendall & Patrice Fenton | Now More Than Ever: Examining K-12 Educators’ Social, Emotional and Occupational Well-being During COVID-19 | San Francisco, CA
About Nakeyshia: Nakeyshia Kendall is the Founder and CEO of MindCatcher, a non-profit organization centered on helping educators shift their practice from being educator-led to student-led by using diversity, equity and inclusion competencies (DEI) in their fellowships and workshops. MindCatcher works with public schools and organizations serving a majority of students of color. Prior to founding MindCatcher, Ms. Kendall led product marketing for a tablet-based, K-12 curriculum at Pearson and co-led an education partnership formed to increase innovative learning practices in public education. The partnership earned grants from prominent foundations, including Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, and Gates Foundation. Ms. Kendall is a member of EdLoC, National Equity Project Leading for Equity Fellowship alum and 4.0 Schools Tiny Fellowship alum. Before her work in education, she spent over a decade in investment banking and private equity. Ms. Kendall holds a BA from Columbia College, Columbia University and MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
About Patrice: Patrice E. Fenton, PhD serves as researcher-in-residence at MindCatcher as well as Founder & Chief Thought Partner at The Fenton Collective. A leader in identity-responsive research, Dr. Fenton is an equity-centered change strategist, with a passion for leadership development, teacher education, and centering wellness in the workplace. She is an adjunct assistant professor of special education at Hunter College, and a Board member of South Bronx Community Charter High School, the Latinx Education Collaborative and Disruptive Partners. She is also a proud Brooklyn, NY native, a former middle school educator and mom to son, Jair Asad, and daughter, Haile Masani.
About their idea: MindCatcher, a non-profit helping educators shift their practice from being educator-led to student-led by using DEI competencies. MindCatcher works with public schools and organizations serving a majority of students of color. We aim to engage 12–15 educators of color in researching their own practice to devise strategies to support educator well-being. Learnings will be utilized to incorporate more social emotional learning into future MindCatcher programming and shared more broadly through our partner, Digital Promise.
Nathaniel A. Turner & LaTonya M. Turner | G.P.S. — Great Parenting Strategy | Zionsville, IN
About Nathaniel: Nathaniel A. Turner is the author of multiple books, including the history-making Raising Supaman. Turner’s books, videos, speeches (including TED Talk), and workshops empower countless people. Nate holds numerous degrees: Accounting (Bachelors), History & Theology (Masters), and Juris Doctor. The diversity of his education, combined with a wide range of personal experiences and professions make him a modern-day renaissance man. Nate’s been privileged to speak at some of America’s top universities and corporations. Business, government, and community leaders value his out-the-box perspective. Parents and guardians count on him for genuine and timely counsel.
About LaTonya:Dr. LaTonya Turner is the Dean of The Klipsch Educators College, Marian University. As a champion for diverse students, Dr. Turner continuously seeks ways to make sure all children, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic standing, have ample opportunity to maximize their potential. Turner’s advocacy is regularly expressed through institutional consulting, leader coaching and workshops for students, parents, and educators.
About Their Idea: Our idea is an educational instruction course for parents. Over the last few months of the Pandemic, it is clear from the media and social media that most parents, regardless of wealth or privilege, are finding homeschooling exceptionally challenging. Changes to the delivery of education aside, if historically and geographically marginalized students have any hope of being prepared, parents will need equitable access to online education training and parenting resources that support their new and expanded role as parent and teacher.
Quanice Floyd | Arts Educator Campaign School | Washington, DC
About Quanice: Quanice G. Floyd is a renaissance woman who wears many capes. Born and raised in NYC, she has spent over a decade in Washington, DC where she has received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from Howard University and Kent State University respectively. Her passion for arts administration led her to pursue her second Master’s degree in Arts Management at American University and is currently a doctoral student at Drexel University. Quanice is the Founder & Director of the Arts Administrators of Color Network and the Executive Director of Arts Education in Maryland Schools. In 2018, Quanice was honored with the American Express Emerging Leader Award by Americans for the Arts.
About Their Idea: Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) will be piloting an arts educator campaign school in Spring 2021 to encourage arts educators and teaching artists to run for political office because arts educators need a seat at the table. This would be a nonpartisan program in collaboration with the Maryland Republican Party, Maryland Democratic Party, and the Maryland Green Party to create a series of workshops that provide tools and resources to teachers to run for positions like school board, county/city council, commissioner, etc. We want to shift the power from those who have been “normally” making changes to those who are most affected by the changes that are made.
Rajan Patel & Micky Wolf | Made@Dent: COVID Response/PPE | Baltimore, MD
About Rajan: Rajan is an avid maker who believes we can build a better world. He co-invented the Embrace incubator, a product of empathy-driven design that has impacted and saved the lives of over 300,000 babies across the developing world. Today, as Co-Founder and CEO of Dent Education, Rajan is passionate about empowering the makers and problem solvers of tomorrow. He trained at Stanford’s d.school to become a teacher of design thinking and has organized and led programs of his own across twelve countries, though Dent’s work currently focuses on empowering high schoolers in Baltimore City. Rajan holds a BS in Biomechanical Engineering from Stanford, an MBA from Stanford, and an MPA from Harvard.
About Micky: Micky is Director of Programs at Dent Education, which empowers under-resourced Baltimore youth to launch their own ventures and learn design thinking, making, and entrepreneurship. He is a Venture for America Fellow and Co-Founder of Exposed, a together-help fellowship for millenials to personalize positive psychology research. Micky is born and raised in Texas and jokes that his blood is burnt orange. In college, he was privileged to serve as The University of Texas at Austin Student Body Vice President & Co-Founder of the Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab. Micky loves serendipitous adventures, freestyle rapping, and deep conversations with new people (aka future friends).
About Their Idea: In our programs, students learn to be designers and creators. But, not only do they learn to build stuff, they learn to understand people’s needs and create solutions that help others. We are going to expand on these programs while investing heavily in our Made@Dent: PPE program that employs our youth entrepreneurs to build solutions to keep our community safe. We have started with face shields (have engaged 51 students to build over 8,000 face shields in just over 1 month), but plan to expand to other products as well. As we build out the platform, not only do we have more impact in the community, but students have access to a way to earn income.
Website: www.denteducation.org | Social: @denteducation
Rochelle Thompson | Atlanta, GA
About Rochelle: Velma “Rochelle” Thompson received her B.A in Education from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. She has taught elementary, middle, and high school for the last twenty years. Keeping up with her passion for literacy, she decided to go back to school and pursue her M.ED and ED.S degrees in Language and Literacy from Georgia State University, and plans to return to complete her ED.D in the near future. She is the founder/owner of C.S.I. Educational Services LLC and U.P.L.I.F.T Academy, where she provides teachers and students all over the world with best practices in literacy in every content area. She has worked as an Educational Consultant for the top major book companies where under her leadership have seen major increases in student performance. Rochelle loves to read, research, helping others, teaching, and spending time with her family. Rochelle looks forward to successfully engaging the students and continuing to promote life-long learning for each student she touches. Her motto is “If you are not learning you are not living”.
About Their Idea: Virtual classes that would help to prepare students with foundational skills that include basic computer platforms to help students communicate with teachers and resources within the school. My plan is to create a “ Best Practices” handbook to go along with virtual classes to help guide students and parents with questions and answers regarding platforms and resources for the upcoming school year, which will help prepare them for high quality learning. The goal is to prepare the parents and the students just in case we don’t return to school in the fall, help the parents who may not be comfortable with their students’ learning during this pandemic semester, and for digital learning days that will be part of the curriculum in the fall.
Sari Levy | New Orleans, LA
About Sari: Sari Levy has been an educator in New Orleans for 10 years. Before New Orleans, Sari taught in the Bronx, New York for 3 years, and received her Masters in Education. She has been teaching at Bricolage Academy for the past 5 years. Over her career Sari has taught 2nd and 3rd grade, been an Assistant Principal at ARISE Academy, coached teachers, established the Bridges Math Curriculum at Bricolage, and founded the math intervention program at Bricolage. Last year, Sari participated in the Personalized Learning Teacher Fellowship through New Schools for New Orleans. She has 2 kids, Edwin and Lucas.
About Their Idea: Our goal is to create meaningful math moments for students and families while students are not in school. This service provides 45 minute math tutoring sessions, with caregivers present, that instills confidence and competence for students and families in these uncertain times. This is not a basic tutoring session — this is about caregivers developing a math mindset and skills, so learning can happen without me or their teacher. By finding more opportunities to engage in thoughtful, math-related conversation at home, students will have more practice and exposure to learning.
Tammy Kwan & Lorri Hope | Professional Portfolio for Family Child Care Providers | New York, NY
About Tammy: Tammy Kwan is the co-founder and CEO of Cognitive ToyBox, an edtech company that integrates research and technology to support early childhood educators. She has worked with some of the largest school districts and community based organizations in the US to make assessment easy and actionable. Her work has received support from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education. Tammy holds an MBA from NYU Stern and a BA in Psychology from Stanford University.
About Lorri:Lorri Hope’s passion is to improve the lives of children by supporting their caregivers to provide foundational high-quality early childhood experiences. Currently, she is serving as an Early Achievers and Infant/Toddler Coach. Lorri utilizes relationship-based coaching competencies and 25 years of experience providing licensed family-home child care to connect with early childhood child care programs and teachers to improve their quality of care and education services to children in the Birth through kindergarten entry age range.
About Their Idea: We are developing a QRIS-aligned early childhood professional portfolio to help providers monitor and improve on their work towards high-quality care and education. . The professional portfolio will enable early childhood professionals to visualize their progress on quality improvement initiatives, communicate the value of their work to the community, and take ownership of the important work that they are doing to help families and children thrive.
Telicia Fogle-Simon | Lead4Change | Houston, TX
About Telicia: Telicia Fogle-Simon is a mother, wife, educator, mentor, consultant, and entrepreneur. As a visionary for youth development, she stands on the belief that “every child deserves a champion” as so eloquently spoken by Rita Pierson. Ms. Fogle-Simon’s educational journey propelled after she graduated from Kashmere High School in Houston, Texas. She then attended WGU where she received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a M.Ed. in Learning & Technology. After a few years, Ms. Fogle-Simon went on to pursue her M.Ed. in Education Administration in 2012 at Lamar University. Taking her first leap, Ms. Fogle-Simon began teaching her first class at Southeast Academy, a small private school in South Houston. This sparked a 22 year career in both private and public education. As a servant leader, she developed a passion for motivating and inspiring others to find the “Excellence” in themselves. With that passion came Choice Nation Academy in 2017, a youth leadership institute that aims to be the change for youth development by being a bridge between home, school and the community. As Choice Nation Academy educates, network, mentor and coach, youth’s capacity to identify their own “Excellence” in the areas of emotional, financial, environment, intellectual, social, occupational, physical, and spiritual will be enhanced.
About Their Idea: In order to address the problem of increased stress and trauma amongst youth ages 11–14 in low-socioeconomic communities, this idea will provide a flex model leadership program. The leadership program provides youth with virtual and in-person opportunities to lead during Covid-19 and beyond. Youth will use human-centered design to develop a service-learning project/business that focuses on solving the identified problem that they see in their community or school. In-person opportunities to use workspace for research, user interviews, mentor guidance, creative thinking space, collaborate with peers and acquire additional resources for project implementation.
Tyler Brewster | C.I.R.C.L.E. Up! — Creating, Inspiring, and Restoring Community Lifts Everyone Up! | Linden, NJ
About Tyler: Tyler E. Brewster is a New York City native — born and raised in the borough of Brooklyn. She began her career in education at a small, 6th-12th grade school in Brooklyn, NY. In her time with the NYC Department of Education she served many roles, from middle school mathematics teacher, to Dean of Student Discipline, to full-time Restorative Practices Coordinator — one of the first in New York City. Using her unique blend of experience as both a public school student and educator, she co-founded Peer Connect in 2016. Peer Connect is an education consulting firm that provides quality educational opportunities and support around restorative practices, conflict resolution and culturally relevant pedagogy for schools and youth-facing organizations.
About Their Idea: While it is still uncertain what school may look like in the Fall, what remains painstakingly clear is we need a well-crafted plan and accessible resources for school communities. Continuing with the YRJ model of youth-centered, youth-led work, my project is a virtual fellowship for youth practitioners. Accepted participants will complete an 8-week, 25-hour program designed to 1) build their skills as Circle Keepers and writers; and 2) provide a social-emotional outlet and support system. The final product will be a Reintegration Unit Plan, with youth-written Circle lessons and resources for schools to use when returning in the Fall.
Wisdom Amouzou & Olivia Jones | The Hustle Collective | Aurora, CO
About Wisdom: After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Communication and a certificate in Leadership Studies, Wisdom taught and was awarded the 2015 Sue Lehmann Teaching & Learning Award through Teach for America. In 2016, Wisdom co-founded the HadaNõu Collective while working as a Diversity & Equity fellow with RISE-Colorado to design equity workshops for students, families, and educators. He was a 2017 Camelback Ventures Fellow and winner of the 2017 TFA Social Innovation Award. Wisdom currently serves as Executive Director of Empower Community High School, an innovative student-led high school grounded in Transformative Resistance. His life goal is infusing an African spirit and love ethic in all he does — whether it’s writing tall tales or co-creating a community high school in Aurora,CO.
About Olivia: Olivia first entered the classroom in 2010 when she worked to design and implement a student-led literature circle program with sixty 7th graders at the Bruce Randolph School in Denver. From 2013–2017, she taught English Language Arts at Denver’s Manual High School. During her fifth year at Manual, Olivia worked alongside 15 seniors to co-create The Mardale Jay Writing Center (MJWC), the first student-led high school writing center in the nation. One year after its founding, The MJWC expanded into the larger community to serve all students in the Denver-Metro area. Within one year, the MJWC had connected with over seven hundred students from more than forty schools across Denver and Aurora. In October 2017, Olivia co-founded Empower Community High School. An innovative public school offering authentic education that is led by students, co-created with community, and guided by educators. Olivia feels the most joy when living and learning in a community grounded in love.
About Their Idea: In March 2020, Empower shifted to offer core content courses virtually in response to the Stay at Home order from Governor Polis. While moving core content courses onto Google Classroom was fairly easy, we were still discovering and piloting ways to keep our work from a distance aligned to Empower’s mission: Authentic education that is led by students, co-created with community and guided by educators. In response, The Hustle Collective is an initiative that will offer students a virtual opportunity to develop self-discipline. The Hustle Collective is a leadership development experience Empower students can choose to opt into.
Zachary Patton & Nneka Gigi | Los Angeles, California
About Zach: Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Zach is a designer and photographer currently residing in Los Angeles. He launched his career as a creative entrepreneur in 2009 when he founded the first black owned skateboarding company and retail space in Western New York. Since then, he’s left his mark on a handful of other industries such as hip hop, education and technology. Additionally, Zach is an advocate for financial literacy, black ownership, K-5 education, prison reform and mental health in the digital era.
About Nneka: Nneka Gigi is a Nigerian Multimedia Visual Artist out of Los Angeles, CA. Her work utilizes themes such as Afrofuturism and 90s Nostalgia with a particular focus on her Nigerian identity and Cultural Pride. One of the aims of her work is to reverse negative stigmas and redefine what it means to be a Black Woman and an agent of sustainable change in today’s systematically oppressive socio political environment. As a hair sculpturist, painter, and educator, Gigi constantly seeks out ways to impact local and global communities and inspire future generations. She’s currently curating Kwenu; a summer program for elementary kids of color in South L.A. It launches Summer 2020 with the help of her partner, Zach Patton.
About Their Idea: Natural hair is inextricably tied to the mental health of Black girls. Given this, we are using natural hair to explore the intersectionality of hair, critical literacies, and mental health by training teachers and offering free sister circle reading sessions to students.