The inaugural Humanities Amped Learning Community Summer Institute, attended by nearly 50 participants representing EBRPSS educators from five schools, Amped Community Educators, and high school and middle school youth apprentice leaders, has been running online for the last three weeks. Despite the inherent challenges of distance learning, our learning network members engaged in community building, workshops, and reading and reflection focusing on culturally sustaining pedagogies, restorative justice practices, mind-body wellness, and arts integration. Sessions leaders included Eric Butler from Talking Piece, Toni Bankston from the Baton Rouge Children's Advocacy Center, Lorena Germán from The Multicultural Classroom, and Forward Arts Teaching Artists Desireé Dallagiacomo and Donney Rose. Throughout the institute, planning teams of educators and youth have sought to address the following driving questions:
What are the conditions of student and educator well-being, connectedness, and engagement as civic-minded problem-solvers? How do we center these priorities in online/hybrid learning?
The teams worked collaboratively to develop concrete action plans for the coming school year.
One middle school apprentice leader shared that their biggest take-away from the institute has been “Learning about restorative justice and collective hope.” An EBR teacher also mentioned the notion of collective hope, offering that “Deeper student-teacher collaboration leads to braver, richer learning spaces. Transformative justice requires collective hope, which requires connection, imagination and action.” Another EBR teacher expressed, “I’m not alone. I found out there are others who see the struggle in our classroom and are willing to not only call it out, but be active participants in change at ground zero (the classroom).”
We celebrated the close of this institute with an online forum highlighting the work of four teams. We were joined by special guest Dr. David Stovall, who provided framing for this work as well as a response to each presentation. We invite you to not only view the forum (below), but to visit our Summer Institute webpage to review all of the team plans for the 2020-21 school year!
We are grateful for the support of ReCAST Baton Rouge, the Huey and Angelina Wilson Family Foundation, and the partnership of the Big Buddy Program, the EBRPSS 21st Century Learning Center, and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. And as always, we are grateful for your support of this work as we continue to engage in what Dr. Shawn Ginwright calls radical imagination, or "our collective dreaming about how things should be" (2016, p. 23). Thank you for engaging in radical imagination with us!