Today Your Humble Blogger offers a Friday links roundup we’ll call the Self-Referential Edition. I’ve been asked to make some public appearances, and I hope you will consider attending.
The first takes place Monday, April 15 at Honey, a nightclub located at 205 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Former Vikings player Oscar Reed and I will take turns giving 20-minute EDTalks — you know, like TED Talks except without the extra T and the viral likelihood.
I hear the first three talks played to packed houses and rave reviews. I think Reed and I can smoke ’em. Born to sharecropper parents on a Mississippi plantation, he has dedicated the last 35 years of his life to youth in a variety of capacities. He was Minneapolis’ youth programs director for 15 years. Co-founder of The Link, he’s going to talk about restorative justice in education.
I’ll be taking notes: There’s growing enthusiasm for the practice’s ability to keep challenged (and challenging) kids in school and to help provide a safe place where particularly African-American boys can find a positive voice for their most vulnerable feelings and needs.
I’m going to be talking about the amazing, dramatic changes in schools and in education reporting over the last 10 years, during which time it’s gone from staid to red hot. I have some stories to tell about barriers past and present to really drilling down on what’s going on in schools, and how those realities are — depending on the program — far worse and more encouraging than I ever imagined way back when.
I’m the opposite of a natural presenter, but I’ve gotten some great coaching from the organizers, and my MinnPost colleagues have made sure I’ll have a backdrop of photos and illustrations that will make me look like a pro.
An effort to spark discussion, the EdTalks are a joint endeavor of Minneapolis Public Schools’ nonprofit partner, AchieveMpls, the Citizens League, DRIVE Emerging Leaders and Young Education Professionals-Twin Cities. Twin Cities Public Television is filming the presentations for inclusion in TPT’s catalog of digital programming.
That means if you can’t come, you’ll be able to watch online sometime soon. But I do hope you’ll show up to at least lend moral support to Reed and me — who doesn’t do better with a few ringers in the house? — if not to mingle during the networking and discussion times before and after.
Doors open at 5:30; admission is free and open to the public. There will be adult beverages and snacks. If you are an educator in search of CEUs, I hear they are available. Check with the event sponsors for details.
The next two events are Minnesota Meetings, hosted by the Minneapolis Foundation, which has launched an initiative to highlight five elements that have been proven to position schools and kids for success. The push is called RESET, which is an acronym for: Real-time use of data; expectations, not excuses; strong leadership; effective teaching; and time on task.
The first meeting, which takes place Monday, April 22, at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, focuses on strong school leadership. We’ll hear from Dr. Steve Perry, founder and principal of a Connecticut school that sends all of its primarily low-income students of color to college and a frequent CNN education commentator.
I’ve been reading Perry’s book, “Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve,” in preparation, and I can say this: The man speaks truth to power, whether power is interested or not, and he’s got a message anyone interested in the fates of kids needs to hear.
After Perry has spoken, I am to moderate a panel where he’ll be joined by several local school leaders who will field questions about what obstacles and winning strategies look like here.
I’d tell you who I’ve heard will be on stage, but the lineup is still being solidified. You can check RESET’s website for details as they become available. For now, I predict a kinetic aura at the Fitz that night.
The second Minnesota Meeting I’ll be at takes place June 17 and features Mayme Hostetter, dean of the Relay Graduate School of Education in New York City, which trains teachers in the most effective and innovative instructional techniques. I haven’t done my homework yet, but if you want to trust that that evening — focused on effective teachers — will be as good as the first, get your tickets now.
A third Minnesota Meeting scheduled for May 22 will feature R&B phenom John Legend, who serves on the boards of Teach for America, Stand for Children and the storied Harlem Village Academies and who in 2007 launched the Show Me Campaign to use education to break the cycle of poverty. I’m not mediating, but I’ll be first in line to get in.
Tickets to any of the meetings, which all start at 7 p.m., may be purchased at the Fitzgerald Theater/MPR Box Office and through Ticketmaster. Tickets are $25 for April 22 and June 17; $40 for John Legend on May 22; and $75 for all three events. Visit www.fitzgeraldtheater.org to purchase tickets.