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Breaking News! Finishing the Game with the Ednium Alumni Collective

After months and months of discussion, community listening, planning, and research, the Denver Public Schools Board of Education stands poised to make a decision that could improve the future prospects of countless young people of color in our city. With the support of Ednium, the non-profit alumni collective organized by TeRay Esquibel, Denver could have graduation requirements in Ethnic Studies and Financial Literacy as early as 2023. All that remains is an important Board vote in June, and it could happen.

Ednium threw up the TooDope Bat Signal, and we are here to amplify this work. Listen to this episode, and then tweet or post using the hashtag #ifihadknown, followed by your story of how you would have benefitted from Ethnic Studies, Financial Literacy, or both. Be sure to tag @tayandersonco, @drolson4dps, @anhelacob, @revbrad, @bacon4co, @obrien4co, @scott4schools. Be sure to include @edniumalumni, @teray_esq and of course, @toodopeteachers when you do!

95. “Burnout is a Community Issue” The Case for Social/Emotional Support for Educators

Do you find yourself weary of the “self-care” pronouncements made in education? How many Starbucks gift cards before I feel relaxed, positive and enthusiastic? How many baths before the grinding sense of defeat fades away and I can show up like a Hollywood movie teacher? If I practice mindful breathing until I hyperventilate, am I doing it wrong? And why do I feel uncontrollable hostility to people who work out every morning, and proceed to tell, like EVERYONE about it?

The fact is that self-care is only a small part of the issue of social and emotional wellness in education. We have attended professional development sessions, taken steps to address our students’ social and emotional needs, and some schools and districts have even stated that they will adopt SEL curriculum for the foreseeable future.

So why don’t educators feel any better?

In an illuminating roundtable discussion with the Center for Cognitive Diversity’s Emily Santiago, school leader Dr. David Gutierrez and doctoral student Paulina Whitehat, Gerardo seeks a deeper understanding of the social and emotional needs of teachers, and how school leaders may better create the conditions for true social and emotional wellness and support. By sharing their own research-based insights, experiences, and specific programs and practices, the panel delves deeply into a neglected and understated issue. With over 40% of teachers stating that they will depart the profession in 2021, this episode is a must-listen.

Emergency Episode: The Chauvin Conviction

Heavy day yesterday. We reluctantly and ambivalently process the day after former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts in the murder of George Floyd in 2020. We listen to each other, share honest reflections and come to you in all our uncertainty and emotion. We hope you are processing in a healthy way, in a good way, and we understand if you feel you must skip this episode.

Much love to you all. We have so long to go, and we have to keep going.

95. “Burnout is a Community Issue” The Case for Social/Emotional Support for Educators: A Roundtable

Do you find yourself weary of the “self-care” pronouncements made in education? How many Starbucks gift cards before I feel relaxed, positive and enthusiastic? How many baths before the grinding sense of defeat fades away and I can show up like a Hollywood movie teacher? If I practice mindful breathing until I hyperventilate, am I doing it wrong? And why do I feel uncontrollable hostility to people who work out every morning, and proceed to tell, like EVERYONE about it?

The fact is that self-care is only a small part of the issue of social and emotional wellness in education. We have attended professional development sessions, taken steps to address our students’ social and emotional needs, and some schools and districts have even stated that they will adopt SEL curriculum for the foreseeable future.

So why don’t educators feel any better?

In an illuminating roundtable discussion with the Center for Cognitive Diversity’s Emily Santiago, school leader Dr. David Gutierrez and doctoral student Paulina Whitehat, Gerardo seeks a deeper understanding of the social and emotional needs of teachers, and how school leaders may better create the conditions for true social and emotional wellness and support. By sharing their own research-based insights, experiences, and specific programs and practices, the panel delves deeply into a neglected and understated issue. With over 40% of teachers stating that they will depart the profession in 2021, this episode is a must-listen. Take the free dynamic empowerment assessment to identify your needs at https://www.centerforcognitivediversity.com/dynamic-empowerment.html and check out the incredible programming of the CCD at https://www.centerforcognitivediversity.com/.

Emergency Episode with Project VOYCE: Resiliency and Persistence

One of the understated stories of the 2020 election cycle was the rising tide of youth activism and participation in what was considered a crucial election. Beyond the top of the ticket, a number of state and local resolutions had massive implications for young would-be voters.

Across the country, electorates have been considering lowering the voting age. While this is not a new effort, various cities across the United States have considered a change to the electorate. In some places, voters sixteen and up would be allowed to vote in certain circumstances, like school board elections. In others, there were proposals to allow young citizens sixteen and up to vote in any and all elections.

In Colorado, some of Kevin and Gerardo’s students voted in the 2020 election, because they would be 18 by election day. However, part of the fallout from November 3 was the passage of Amendment 76. While the amendment was regarded as uncontroversial by some, it has dire implications for historically disenfranchised voters, as well as young voters.

Project VOYCE, whose motto “Nothing About Us Without Us” brilliantly characterizes its ethos, philosophy, and commitment, has been working on campaigns to expand youth voice across the system, including Student Voice Student Vote (SV2). These brilliant young activists and policymakers have worked hard to amplify a dynamic and needed demographic: the youth of our community.

Amendment 76 represented a gut-punch for Malachi Ramirez and the rest of the young activists at Project VOYCE and they found that a lot of their could be nullified by this amendment. They were forced to regroup, and the result has been the SV2 Listening Campaign, in which youth are invited to share their experiences, struggles, dreams, and concerns as they not only approach adulthood, but as they face and address issues TODAY.

Kevin and Gerardo sit down with Malachi to learn more. To sign up for a listening session, please complete this survey! Listen and support. More information can be found at https://www.studentvoicestudentvote.org/

94. 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson

Rodney has over 20 years experience as an educator with Richmond Public Schools. He graduated from King William High School in rural Virginia in 1996. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia State University in 2000 and a master’s in educational administration and Supervision from VCU in 2011.  He started teaching at Virgie Binford Education Center in 2015, a school inside Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, in an effort to better understand the school to prison pipeline.  His classroom is a collaborative partnership between him and the students.  He provides a civic centered education that promotes social-emotional growth.  The knowledge he is gaining from his students is also helping develop alternative programs to keep students from becoming part of the school to prison pipeline.

His accomplishments in education vary from his professional growth to his students’ personal growth.  He has been published four times by Yale University.  He has received numerous awards for his accomplishments in and out of the classroom, most notably the R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence.  He has worked with Pulitzer winning author James Foreman to develop curriculum units on race, class, and punishment as a part of the Yale Teacher’s Institute.

He was named the 2019 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief States Schools’ Officers.  He used his time as teacher of the year to advocate for cultural equity to make sure students have teachers and administrators who look like them and value their culture.  He was recently named HBCU male alumnus of the year by HBCUdigest.com. He was also named #8 on the Root magazine’s Top 100 influential African Americans of 2019. Last December he was named Richmonder of the Year by Richmond Magazine. He is currently a senior advisor with Richmond Public Schools. He has started the RVA Men Teach Program to recruit and retain male teachers of color in Richmond Public Schools.  He is also working with the district to implement anti racist policies and pedagogy.  His passion is helping the underprivileged and underrepresented populations in America.

We get a chance to chill with Rodney, laugh, get deep and of course, a fire top five rappers.

Follow Rodney on Twitter @RodRobinsonRVA and on Instagram @rodrobinsonva, and at https://rodrobinsonrva.com/

Exit Interview 04. “I Am Still an Educator” with Shalelia Dillard

Welcome to Episode 4 of the Exit Interview with Asia Lyons and Kevin Adams!

This week we hear Shalelia Dillard share her story. It is a similar refrain for Black educators who have experienced institutional alienation and rejection within the education system. We invite you to listen and take in her story of optimism, belief in schooling as an equalizer and in her own brilliance and talents to provide a quality education for children generally, only to see her confidence and professionalism come under attack by the same forces that permeate our system.

But, as we have seen during the life of this podcast, the process has been liberatory while still painful. Shalelia has discovered that most dangerous of discoveries: that it is possible to continue to be an educator without teaching in a school. She shares her inspirational path and reminds us of what it means to be not an industry artist, but an artist in the industry.

Catch the Exit Interview monthly in the Too Dope Teachers and a Mic feed.

The Exit Interview is a production of Too Dope Media.

Music composed and performed by Kevin Adams

93. Trauma, SEL, and Healing with Dr. Apryl Alexander

This week, Kevin and Gerardo connect with Dr. Apryl Alexander, professor and researcher of Forensic Psychology at the University of Denver. Initially, we hoped to discuss Social/Emotional Learning and Trauma-Informed practice as we prepare for a possible increase in in-person teaching and learning, as well as a potential full return to in-person schooling in the fall. What we got was so much more. Dr. Alexander challenges prevailing notions around trauma and sexual violence, comprehensive sex education, and her assertion, as articulated in her writing and TED Talk, that “sexual violence is preventable.”

We discuss all that not only as it pertains to a return to in-person schooling, but as it pertains to education more generally going forward.

Plus a FIRE top five.

Emergency Episode: AAPI Educators Speak Out: “Celebrate Us and See Us”

In this emergency episode, Gerardo hosts a roundtable with five Asian American/Pacific Islander-identifying educators from across the United States to discuss the horrific murders of eight Asian and Asian American people in Atlanta a few days ago. Carla, Erika, Tran, John, and Kim share their stories of struggle, triumph, purpose, pain, and invisibility as this threat of violence and death hangs over them, as is has over all Asians since they first came to these shores.

In this episode, they express pain, anger, frustration, disappointment, and more than any other emotion, numbness. The draw critical connections to a larger AAPI Civil Rights struggle, acts of murder and violence faced by their community, and ways in which anti-Asian hate and violence are acceptable in our world, as they have always been.

This episode is heart-wrenching and inspirational. Listen today and stand in solidarity with our AAPI neighbors and friends.

92. The Comeback

Just the fellas today. This harrowing adventure of schooling during a pandemic is fraught with contradiction, anxiety, frustration, joy, disappointment and doing one’s best with what one has. We engage in some real talk around returning to in-person schooling, including our own experiences, as well as across the country.

Additionally, we shout-out our financial supporters with nicknames (can you find yours?) and look ahead to the final weeks of school. Don’t call it a comeback! Actually, call it a come back. Because we’re literally coming back…to school buildings…

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