THE MAGAZINE OF THE HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION FALL 2011
How a one-room schoolhouse and a drafty old shanty led to the college presidency.
David Wilson’s Path accepting Wikipedia | the book doctor | Larsen’s quirkiness
the big picture
the appian way
June 21, 2011 Dean Kathleen McCartney may not be Zdeno Chara, and the Sunken Garden may not have been the TD Garden, but a cup nonetheless was raised to help the Ed School community celebrate the Boston Bruins victory over the Vancouver Canucks a week after the hometown team won the Stanley Cup â€” their first since 1972. And while the Bruins only had ice, the Ed School had ice cream.
â€˘ FALL 2011
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
features Truce Be Told
The Road Taken Morgan State University President David Wilson, Ed.M.’84, Ed.D.’87, goes home — to the red dirt roads, the one-room schoolhouse, and the next generation with the same urgent desire to learn.
Just a few years after banning Wikipedia, some educators are starting to make peace with the popular online encyclopedia that anyone can write and edit.
Ed. received bragging rights and a gold circle CASE award — the only one given for cover design — as the best alumni magazine cover for our fall 2010 issue!
a click away
stories and links found only online www.gse.harvard.edu
Called “poignant,” “powerful,” and “one of the best,” the Ed School’s contribution to the It Gets Better Project was a four-minute video that debuted in July. The video features students, staff, and faculty who share their stories of being bullied, of coming out, or of feeling alone while growing up — stories that, as Dean Kathleen McCartney said, may move you to tears.
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4 Pushback 6 The Appian Way 30 Alumni News and Notes 40 Recess 41 Investing
SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR Lory Hough firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION MANAGER/EDITOR Marin Jorgensen email@example.com DESIGNER Paula Telch Cooney firstname.lastname@example.org DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS Michael Rodman email@example.com COMMUNICATIONS INTERN Rachael Apfel
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jill Anderson Rachael Apfel Chris Buttimer, Ed.M.’10 Mark Robertson, Ed.M.’08 Janet Sudnik COPYEDITOR Abigail Mieko Vargus PHOTOGRAPHERS Jill Anderson Steve Barrett Cheryl Gray Tanit Sakakini Martha Stewart Robert Sutton
When Jim True-Frost was preparing for his character to switch careers from cop to teacher on the HBO series, The Wire, he didn’t immerse himself in every book or movie about the profession. He didn’t have to — the groundwork had already been laid by years of conversations with his wife, who had been a public school teacher. TrueFrost told the Harvard EdCast this past summer, “I was vividly schooled by Cora.” events www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/events twitter www.twitter.com/hgse facebook www.facebook.com/harvardeducation youtube www.youtube.com/harvardeducation flickr www.flickr.com/photos/harvardeducation issuu www.issuu.com/harvardeducation foursquare www.foursquare.com/hgse
ILLUSTRATORS Matt Cooney David Cutler Daniel Vasconcellos © 2011 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Ed. magazine is published three times a year. Third-class postage paid at Holliston, Mass. and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Harvard Graduate School of Education Office of Communications 44R Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138
To read Ed. online, go to www.gse.harvard.edu/ed.
What an interesting article (“Quiz Kids,” summer 2011). I just graduated from Newton North High School, where I partook in a variety of academic competitions, all of them science related. Our team had a lot of success, and in relation to the rest of the state, we did far better than most athletic teams in the school. Nevertheless, I never felt as though we got nearly as much attention as the athletic teams, whether from our peers or the school administration, which never helped fund the costs such as transportation and study materials. It’s nice to see that at some high schools, the academic teams get more attention. — Jazzkingrt
Quiz Kids I enjoyed your article in the latest Ed. My wife, Carol VanDeusen Lukas, Ed.M.’71, Ed.D.’78, is a graduate. I served as the state coordinator for the Massachusetts Academic Decathlon for 25 years and actually began the contest in the state back in 1984 at Cambridge Rindge and Latin. The contest continues today with more than 35 schools competing and sends a championship team to the national contest each year. One aspect of the contest that schools like is that the nine-person team must have students with B and C averages. Thus, it is not just a contest for top students to enter. This has proved very successful. In addition, there is a special curriculum prepared each year that the students must study in order to do well. It includes seven academic areas plus preparing to write an essay, give a speech, and be interviewed. Often the material in the study guides is not something students would normally study in the regular classes. One small correction: Your spellchecker needs checking. There is no second “a” in Decathlon. This is a common mistake and has even appeared in headlines about our events. — Henry Lukas 4
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Hungry For Change I find it odd that there is no mention in this article (“Lunch Line,” summer 2011) of any initiatives or data from the Boston Public Schools for which the author sits on the school committee. There are a few schools in Boston working on this issue with programs like Chefs in School or Farm to School Thursdays. The real issue lies within the more than 80 schools that are socalled “satellite schools,” where the district offers an RFP and gives the contract to the lowest bidder, not necessarily the best provider. We need to really
change the way we provide nutrition and education about nutrition and wellness as we are nearing a tragedy concerning the health of our children and young adults. We need to prepare our children for the future not only academically, but holistically as well. — Kenny Jervis
Caution: Speed Bumps Ahead In consideration of older readers with less than 20-20 vision, would you consider minimizing those artistic page layouts where print is superimposed on
A Return to Her Roots
Ms. Mosca (“A to B: Why Erica Mosca Cares,” summer 2011) was by far the best teacher ever. She inspired us to do better, helped us out with anything, and encouraged us to set bigger goals for our lives. I feel lucky to have had her as my fifth-grade teacher. — Natalie P. Ms. Mosca was the best teacher I ever had in my life. From the day I started school until now, I have never met a better teacher than Ms. Mosca. — Brandon P. I love my teacher Ms. Mosca, she inspires me to do more! — Linda L. Good luck, Erica. They are cutting education in Nevada. Excellent teachers are leaving in droves to go to other
states. The people here do not need education. They only need people as hotel maids, servers, valet parkers, and “paid entertainers.” Just be sure to bring with you loads of patience, tenacity, and smarts. It will be a long, hard fight. — Tula6249
Soldier On Every word written here (“Not the War Umesh Sharma Expected,” summer 2011) compels us to move out of our grooves and be a fighter. Place doesn’t matter, be it the battlefield, corporate grounds, or the fight for humanity. — Gilbert_cool11 Umesh, you are a brave man indeed — and ambitious. There are American soldiers who become intellectuals after they leave the military life, but not the other way. I wish you success in your chosen career. It is wonderful to think that you can still continue to use your laptop. — Bhuban Baruah Nice article! Umesh is a living example that proves hard work will reap results! He has gone through difficult times in his life but his determination to succeed kept him following his dreams. I have known him for the past few years because he was my housemate in Washington, D.C. I wish him the best in all his endeavors. — Saji
L.A.’s Finest We’ll be lucky and happy to welcome this gentleman (“Study Break: Ryan Shepard, Ed.M.’11,” summer 2011)
into the ranks of policymaker and education advocate for our kids! Congrats Ryan, and great story, HGSE team. — Anthony Jewett, Ed.L.D. candidate I really like your response for what motivates you. I can truly relate to the internal clock that indicates our progression, and I feel that in order to reach your purpose, you must be intimately in sync with that clock. Good luck with the Los Angeles move; I know you will make a significant impact in the community. — Misgana
a darkened or colored background? I was interested in the piece about a “green” Harvard building. Reading the text, which threaded its way through rugs and chairs and people, was like driving on a country road and having to slow down for mud puddles. In one zone there was yellow print on light brown background. I suppose some people like to read articles this way; for me, it interrupts the flow of my thinking. — Christian Melgard
Parenting Progress I attended HGSE from 1975–79. I exited with a dossier two and half inches thick asking for exceptions. At the time, I had three children and served in the New Hampshire legislature. Because I knew no exceptions would be granted for childcare, I made all my requests for leniency rest on professional obligations. It’s good to see (“A Room With A View,” summer 2011) that the Ed School is finally realizing that good parenting is part of good education. — Ruth Nemzoff, C.A.S.’76, Ed.D.’79
Corrections A couple of details about Jen Holleran were incorrect in the last issue of Ed. Holleran graduated in 1995, not 2005. She also served as executive director of Bay Area for New Leaders, not CEO. In the same issue, we also identified Natasha Kumar Warikoo as an associate professor at the Ed School. She is currently an assistant professor. HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
the appian way
lecturehall Assistant Professor Jal Mehta
All of us at professional schools are in the ‘knowledge and action’ business.”
tul Gawande’s book, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, became a favorite among Jal Mehta’s students at the Ed School — they even made related t-shirts — because it embodies an attitude Mehta has long admired: Make do with what you have, and try to leave everything a bit better than you found it. This is exactly what Mehta is trying to do for education reform through his various research projects, including The Chastened Dream, a book-in-progress that has him on leave for the next year to be a fellow at Harvard’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. The book explores the idea — the dream — that social science can inform social policy to achieve social progress. Institutions like the Ed School were started with this dream in mind. Mehta believes in the dream, too, but he’s also a pragmatist: He knows that reality, especially the reality of fixing schools, is much more complicated. Still, he remains optimistic. In July, he spoke to Ed. about the limits of the dream, what motives him, and why being impractical isn’t such a bad thing. What are the limits of the dream? I identify four: that science cannot settle questions of value, that experts cannot settle questions of democracy, that social science is epistemologically limited, and that social policy is just one input on people’s lives. One contention in the book is that we at professional schools now know at some level the original dream is flawed, and tell our students as much, but we continue to act as if the old equation is true because we don’t have much to replace it with. Can this be changed? A goal for the latter part of the book is to try to reconstruct a thicker view of how to connect knowledge to public action, one that recognizes the importance of values, welcomes democratic decisionmaking, is aware of the limits of different forms of knowledge, and is not utopian in its aims but is still hopeful about how we can make public progress on a range of social problems. What do you mean by connecting knowledge and action? All of us at professional schools are in the “knowledge and action” business — we hope to develop knowledge or teach students things that will help people act for better in the world. The question I’m interested in is what sorts of knowledge actually enable people
to act more effectively. Sometimes in the academy we act as if the only sort of knowledge is scientific knowledge. Effective practitioners possess what Aristotle called phronesis, or practical wisdom drawn from experience.
How did you get interested in all of this? I grew up in Baltimore, which is a city that is as divided as any I know by race and class. Where in Baltimore you grew up very likely determined what kind of opportunities you were going to have in life. That seemed very unfair to me as a kid, and it seems just as unfair now. My work is motivated by trying to remedy that injustice. And you think schools are an important part of the equation? I started by getting a Ph.D. in sociology and social policy, and continue to be interested in the range of social policies and institutions that can be used to remedy inequality, but have come to see schools as potentially the most transformative lever for breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty. What about your own school experience? A big influence on my work has been my parents, who were both educators, and my school, the Park School, which prided itself on promoting critical thinking and student inquiry. I believe
strongly that educational environments should be lively, interesting, and challenging places. Schools are not only places that help people get jobs, they are also places that can potentially transform who people are, what they value, and how they think.
You joke about thinking too much in your own life. I love to think about things — you can ask my wife, I’m terribly impractical — and I think there is beauty and honor in really thinking hard, which is part of what makes schools potentially such special places. In that sense, all of the projects I’m involved with are motivated by the question of how we could give the kind of education I had to all of our fellow citizens. You had a son, Alex, this year. Has that changed your perspective on any of this? It reminds me that we don’t just want our kids to be educated. We also want them to be happy. In theory, it matters if he makes his developmental milestones; in practice, all I want is to make him smile and hear him laugh. He also has been very popular with the students — they’ve already recruited him for the “I’m Always For Better” campaign. — Lory Hough HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
the appian way
Chris Buttimer Found That Greed Isn’t Good
I remember watching Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko proclaim, “Greed is good” in the TV trailer for Wall Street when I was in middle school. I don’t think I ever saw the movie until much later in life, but I remember being attracted to the lifestyle portrayed on the TV screen — the limos, the women, the flashing computer screens, and just the overall frenetic and exciting lifestyle that everyone who worked on Wall Street seemed to be living. When I graduated from college at the height of a market boom, I decided I’d try my hand at becoming the next Gordon Gekko. I worked as a Wall Street trader in Boston first, and then in New York. What I found was a workplace environment and overall lifestyle that I loathed. My coworkers routinely withheld information from each other, fudged numbers, stabbed friends in the back for bonuses, and used their connections to get ahead, undeservedly so in many cases. After five years in finance, I decided I had had enough. Coming back to my hometown of Boston, I fell into an assistant teaching position at a summer school program, which I had only planned on doing to make a few dollars while I applied to graduate school to do something — anything — other than work on Wall Street. After about a week of working with the students and seeing how amazingly smart, funny, kind, and caring they were, I knew that teaching was what I wanted to do. For two years, I worked part-time as an assistant teacher in the Cambridge Public Schools, while I got my master’s degree in teaching at night. When I graduated, I took over for the English teacher at the middle school who was retiring. I spent my all of my time, energy, and money (the district’s as well as my own) creating an engaging literary environment in my classroom where we read great books, discussed big ideas, and wrote until our hands hurt. In doing so, I was able to reach about 75 percent of my students effectively; however, I simply didn’t have the skill set to instruct students who were three or more grade levels behind their peers and who struggled with decoding and fluency — areas that are typically, yet erroneously, seen as being the purview of K–5 teachers only. I came to the Ed School to gain the knowledge required to teach every one of my students effectively. I gained these skills in the reading specialist program under Lecturer Pamela Mason, M.A.T.’70, Ed.D.’75, and I now feel like I have the tools to either reenter the classroom as an effective practitioner or to work with teachers to build their capacity in areas that I was lacking when I began my teaching career. 8
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However, given the school’s expertise in the policy arena, my coursework exposed me to trends in education reform that I find extremely troubling, which is one reason why I came back to learn more through the Ed.D. Program. Many of the current reformers at the policy and administrator levels are embracing neoliberal market-based, corporate-style reforms, which promote practices that I saw lead to such greed and corruption on Wall Street. With the advent of competitive reforms such as merit pay, test-based accountability, and market-based systems like vouchers and charters, we are already seeing unintended consequences in the forms of cheating, competition for scarce resources, and a system of winners and losers. These reforms are creating new tiers in an already stratified education system, thereby threatening the institution of public education and our nation’s democratic ideals. When my time at the Ed School is up, I have a tough decision to make in determining whether to fight for equity for students and teachers in the classroom or to take that fight to policymakers at the state and federal level. Neither of these roles will give me Gordon Gekko’s lifestyle or salary, but I’m fine with that because the work I’ll be doing advocating for kids, families, and teachers will be far more rewarding. — Chris Buttimer, Ed.M.’10, is currently an Ed.D. student in the Culture, Communities, and Education Program. He has not seen the Wall Street sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and doesn’t plan to.
Have Phone, Can Learn Smartphones are used for everything nowadays. To check our bank accounts when standing in line at the coffee shop. To search the web for a favorite recipe or directions to a store when we’re lost. To film our kids playing soccer and to snag photos of celebrities unexpectedly having dinner at the next table. What about using one to take a course? This is what three former students from the Ed School wondered. The alums, Heidi Larson, Ed.M.’04, Kirsten Peterson, Ed.M.98, and Alex Dreier, Ed.M.’10, formed a mobile learning group at Education Development Center, Inc., where they all worked in Newton, Mass. Along with their former professor, Chris Dede, they started talking about the potential of mobile technology, like the smartphone or a tablet, to teach a professional development course — something that, surprisingly, hasn’t really been done before. They decided to send out a pilot survey to school administrators in New England — educators who were extremely busy, not often rooted at their desks, and in need of information quickly. They asked them if they used smartphones and if so, how. “We received 92 responses and 70 percent had smartphones,” Larson says. However, most were still using them like traditional cell phones to make calls and maybe send text messages. “Only 33 percent were using them to keep up with social networks. We wanted to explore the potential.” They decided to pilot a small project: a professional development course taught and taken using a mobile device and Twitter. (A blog was also set up, but mostly stored links and discussions.) In March, 20 education administrators signed on for a three-week course about using data to inform and support instruction. Larson, Peterson, Dreier, and Dede didn’t start the project hoping to prove any point or vindicate any personal beliefs — they simply wanted to see what the pros and cons are of primarily using mobile devices to take a course. (Participants were allowed, on occasion, to use a desktop computer if necessary.) “I’m very interested in learning about the limits of mobile devices,” Dede says. “Too often, people get so excited about a new technology but only focus on the strengths. It’s hard to learn much from a project if you work around the limits.” Using Twitter as their home base, for example, only allowed students to weigh in on a topic using 140 characters. And because the course was designed to be taken during small bits of free time — waiting in line for coffee — the group also wondered about learning in short bursts. Dreier says, “I was interested in seeing, if participants only have 10-minute chunks to participate and the conversations are not overlapping, how deeply can they engage.”
This was a problem for Ellen Peterson, now an assistant superintendent for Mansfield Public Schools in Mansfield, Mass., who was, at the time, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/EXDEZ director of teaching, learning, and technology for Norwell (Mass.) Public Schools. “I like spending longer chunks of time for professional development rather than short, frequent contact because I think I can absorb and reflect more.” She also found that because of Twitter’s character limit, she didn’t pose as many comments as she might have, and that she had to check in more often in order to keep up with the quick pace of posts. Twitter did have one positive side though: It forced people to be succinct. “You had to put thought into your comment before posting,” Ellen Peterson says. “It was also a timesaver to read other posts that were short and to the point.” Now that the pilot is over, the group is evaluating lessons learned so that if future funding comes through, they can run another course. Dreier says that given the variation in Twitter knowledge, they would spend more time up front getting everyone comfortable with the platform. Kirsten Peterson says they would consider combining technology: mobile devices for conversations and desktop computers for reading longer pieces. For future courses, they would also have to address access issues: Some schools block certain sites, and certain phones didn’t do well with the multimedia platform Flash or didn’t have a lot of memory, limiting the ability to share video. They’re also considering having different course levels, with some geared toward beginning technology users and some toward what they call the “super users.” Ned Kirsch, superintendent of Franklin West Supervisory Union in Vermont, is one of the super users from the pilot course. He had already been active on Twitter before the course started, even teaching his administrative team how to use Twitter to create an online personal learning network. After the course ended, Kirsch also developed a course for teachers in his district called Digital Personal Learning Networks. Every teacher who signed on received a stipend for an iPad or smartphone. As far as he’s concerned, this is only the beginning of using mobile learning in schools. “I had a parent tell us at a board meeting last month, ‘I love the newsletters I get from everyone at the school, but I wish the information could come to us on Twitter. Say it in 140 characters. That is all I need.’” — Lory Hough
Part of Jewell-Sherman’s collection
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Brian, Norah, Kate, and Clare
Bricks, Mortar, and a Lot of Yeats When the classnote came in from Brian Buckley, Ed.M.’98, saying that he and his wife, Kate Hunter, had recently opened an independent bookstore devoted exclusively to poetry — only the third in the country — there was a collective “wow” in the office. For years, it has been a David and Goliath battle for survival for small, brick-and-mortar bookshops trying to compete against discount chain stores, Amazon, and, more recently, e-readers. Even Buckley had his worries, showing up two hours late for the lease signing because of nerves. “Starting an independent bookstore is exciting and daunting,” he says from Boulder, Colo., where the Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Cafe is located. “On the one hand, you’re adding to something that isn’t alive and well in some places. But people also said, ‘Brian, there’s a reason there are only two.’” 10
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As it turns out, Buckley’s timing may be just right as the tables show signs of turning, at least a little. Earlier this year, one of the big chains, Borders, announced that it was closing all of its stores. At the same time, the Association of American Publishers reported that book sales across all platforms increased by 3.6 percent from 2009 to 2010. Last summer, Google announced that it would allow independents to sell e-books from their websites. And, says Laura Ayrey, executive director of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association, “Independent stores have been challenging e-fairness state-by-state by forming coalitions with other local businesses to amend sales tax legislation, and have had success in a number of states.” This levels the playing field when it comes to the collection and remittance of sales tax, allowing independent stores to compete with online vendors like Amazon.
COURTESY OF BRIAN BUCKLEY
the appian way
For Buckley and his store, there’s one other critical factor: the community. Although he and Hunter, who met in a poetry class when they were both living in Boston, moved to Boulder for the mountains and good schools for their two young daughters, the city turned out to be fertile ground for a couple thinking of starting a risky venture as their full-time paycheck. “Boulder has a knack for supporting local businesses and has a thriving art scene,” he says. “There’s even a Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics here.” For this reason, and others, he and Hunter have worked hard to make Innisfree, which is named after the W. B. Yeats poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” egalitarian. Books by the classic names in poetry mingle on the shelves with the lesserknowns. Twice-weekly in-store readings include beginning writers as well as established ones. And Innisfree’s selection isn’t just for academics or adults, unlike the other two poetry stores (including Grolier’s in Cambridge, Mass., where Buckley worked when he was an Ed School student). The store devotes about 20 percent of shelf space to books geared toward young children and adolescents. Even poetry disbelievers are welcome. “People will say to me, ‘I didn’t get poetry at all in high school. It was too hard,’” Buckley says. “We want that wall to go away.” Besides luring them in with the wide selection of books, the shop also offers locally roasted coffee, baked goods, and sandwiches. For those who don’t have time to browse the store, ordering online is always an option, as is a unique feature — a walk-up window that allows people to buy coffee and books from the sidewalk. Buckley jokes that it’s their “window into poetry.” And then there’s the giant table in the middle of the store. Measuring 10 feet long, it encourages interactions and sometimes introduces people to new things. “Someone will see someone else at the table reading a book and a conversation will start,” Buckley says. “The community table has brought many people together. Groups reserve it and when not reserved, spontaneity rules the day. [There’s] much talk of poets and poetry when readers pull out their books. One day a poet, Jared Smith, was at the table and he suddenly started reading a poem out loud at the behest of the Colorado University students he met at the table. Others end up conversing and then a poem is suddenly being read aloud. We love it.” Buckley was lucky: There was never a wall for him to tackle when it came to understanding or appreciating poetry. During junior high, his teacher, Ken Conn, introduced him to major American writers like Whitman and Dickinson. And long before that, his Boston community and his family, particularly his father, an electrician for the MBTA subway system, surrounded him with verse.
“For me, growing up in West Roxbury, in an Irish Catholic neighborhood, the Irish pride of the area came out,” Buckley says. “My father would recite Yeats and Heaney from memory. The teachers would point with pride at what some of the Irish poets had accomplished.” Years later, when he was studying at the Ed School, he realized poetry could, in fact, be a way to educate people. “I took a class with Professor Donald Oliver,” he says, referring to the professor who took a sabbatical from the Ed School in 1978 to study at a beauty school in Lowell, Mass., because he strongly believed that real learning took place in the real world. “He challenged us to think about education outside school. That voice always stayed in my head. I feel strongly that this store is going to be an education center.” Today, as he is feeling good about the early success of the store — “People are coming!” — he reminds the naysayers of all the ways that poetry is used every day to mark moments in our lives. “I tell them about the people who come in and say, ‘My wife just passed away.’ They ask if there’s anything on the shelves that they can read. Or someone comes in and doesn’t say anything but has a need for poetry to guide them through something,” he says. “I think there’s a reason poems are read at weddings and funerals, at the president’s inauguration. It hushes the moment. A poem comes with a posture or an attitude that something special is about to happen.” — Lory Hough
Innisfree’s top sellers in five categories
Poetry Speaks to Children edited by Elise Paschen
Inferno of Dante translated by Robert Pinksy
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz The Great Sufi Master translated by Daniel Ladinsky
Contemporary My Life by Lyn Hejinian
Colorado writers Ludlow by David Mason
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
the appian way Program:
Culture, Commu nities, and Education Tool for Cha n
studybreak Vanessa Beary
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anessa Beary, Ed.M.’11, Ed.D. student, has an unconventional approach to her career: She’s never had a trajectory in mind, and so, when interesting opportunities come along, she goes after them, even if they don’t necessarily connect in an obvious way. “I’m open to thinking about all opportunities. I don’t want to close myself off,” she says. “I know I’m prepping myself for something.” That prepping has taken her all over the world: working as a research assistant for an author in Venice, Italy; getting a master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Cambridge in England; helping on an archeological dig of Ancient Tiberias in Israel, where she unearthed a stack of ninth-century vases; working in Iraq as a public diplomacy officer and conducting research for generals; raising money for schools in Afghanistan for Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-OH); traveling to China to learn about how children of migrant workers access education; learning Arabic. Eventually, she’ll be in Eastern Africa with her husband, a foreign service officer. But for now? Thanks in part to a Fulbright fellowship, Beary has grabbed another opportunity. This past summer, she returned to the mountainous country of Tajikistan to study advanced Persian and Tajik in the capital city, Dushanbe. In the fall, she will move to Khorog, located on the Afghan border. There, Beary will start her dissertation research: looking at the effect of entrepreneurship education — a creative way of approaching learning — on students at the University of Central Asia.
Your favorite Persian word and why.
Iraq was challenging because . . .
Danesh-ju: University student. The word literally means knowledge-seeker. As a student of this world, it is my responsibility to always and unrelentingly be in pursuit of knowledge.
I was forced to deal with things I had not dealt with in my life. The base I lived at was getting shelled; sirens were going off all the time. In the beginning, I slept in my body armor.
Things from home you had to take to Tajikistan:
• My yoga mat • The two new mathematics books that my husband purchased for me to indulge my side-obsession with the ordered beauty that underlies our seemingly chaotic world: one on the golden ratio and one on imaginary numbers
Most nerve-wracking moment of your life.
Climbing down a 60-foot temple in the middle of a jungle, an hour and a half drive outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia. I am not a fan of heights.
Koh Ker temple
Country that you visited that has made the biggest
What inspires you?
impact on your life:
Really incredible leadership.
r Israel r China
You’ll know you’ve settled down when . . .
My husband and I are living in the same country, and our books are on shelves, not in boxes.
r 3 Iraq
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
the appian way
homeroom Mending Services
t is no coincidence that librarian John Collins refers to the back area behind the circulation desk in Gutman Library as the “book hospital.” It is where library assistant Simon Demosthene has been fixing broken spines, ripped pages, and faded text for the past dozen years. “It’s like a patient,” Demosthene says of his conservation work repairing books and other printed pieces for the library. “Once you consult with it, you open it and decide, what can I do for this book?”
Demosthene, a native of Haiti, learned his craft at the North Bennet Street School in Boston — the only full-time program in North America. He says he not only loves conserving books, but also looking through them as he works, often learning new things. “It’s a great honor for me,” he says.
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It looks like a drafting table, but it’s actually an antique paper cutter used to cut heavy materials, like thick cardboard, that Demosthene uses to construct new covers for books that are hardback — or casebound, as they’re known in the book world.
Rare and fragile old books and publications can be tricky. Demosthene has to decide whether attempting a repair would further damage the piece. If so, he opts instead to “let it rest,” as he says. Recently, he chose not to fix a crumbling newspaper from 1945 with the giant headline: “Nazis ordered to strike on land, sea, in air.” Instead, the paper was permanently stored in a phase box — a corrugated, acid-free container that he makes on site. The boxes are kept in the special collections room.
Tricks of the trade: bolts of ribbon, runny paste, Cellugel, pliers, tweezers, linen, casing press, acid-free tape, Japanese paper, gutters, cutters, book plates, brushes, binder’s thread.
If the title of a hardback book is fading, Demosthene uses heat, razor thin sheets of gold foil, and his AAmstamp Monogramming Machine to recreate it. In an effort to be authentic, he tries hard to match the original font using individual metal die pieces.
The wall of books waiting for repair doesn’t daunt Demosthene. He loves what he does and wants to make sure that physical books are preserved, especially in light of the recent shift toward e-readers. “Books are treasures,” he says. “Think of all that would be lost forever if we just had electronic books.”
Watch a video about the art of saving books.
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
the appian way
lessonplan Katherine Boles We asked our Facebook fans to tell us what one question they would
briefly Three new
ask an Ed School faculty member if given the opportunity. The ques-
tion we chose for this issue was from Samantha Warburton, Ed.M.’10, a
research associate at Public Policy Associates in Washington, D.C.
joined the staff this semester: David Deming, a former
Samantha Warburton As federal, state, and district
assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon
policies increasingly move toward performance-based
University; Gigi Luk, a former postdoctoral
teacher assessment tied to student achievement, what
fellow at the Rotman Research Institute at
role can and should schools of education play in preparing
Baycrest in Toronto; and Felipe Barrera-
and supporting teachers for these evaluation models?
Osorio, a former economist at the World Bank. In May, Professor Kurt Fischer,
Senior Lecturer Katherine Boles The good news is that education policymakers are finally recognizing
director of the Ed School’s Mind, Brain, and Education
that teacher assessment should be performance-
Program, and Ed.D. student
based. The bad news is that teacher performance-
Christina Hinton, Ed.M.’06,
based assessment too often rests on limited student
spoke to the Swedish
achievement data. What can schools of education do?
Parliament about connecting brain science with education.
• We must attack this problem head on, arming our students with a deep understanding of what is currently transpiring in the evaluation
Meira Levinson was promoted to associate
policy world that directly affects their work.
professor of education. She joined the faculty
• We must introduce our students to new models of teaching based
in 2007 as an assistant professor. Jon Star
on meaningful collaboration that can dramatically reform the current
was promoted to associate professor in human
isolated culture of teaching in which teachers rarely (if ever) observe
development and education. Star also joined
each other teach, discuss each other’s teaching, or learn about
the school as an assistant professor in 2007.
best practices from one another. • We must combine our students’ academic coursework with fieldwork
Professor Catherine Snow
in well-functioning teacher teams that demonstrate how “real”
was given the Distinguished
teams can collaborate, analyze, and improve instruction and student
Contributions to Research
learning using a wide range of professional development tools.
in Education Award from
• We must train our students to be savvy consumers of data — under-
the American Educational
standing how to analyze standardized test scores and use the
scores to improve instruction. At the same time, we must encourage
this past spring. Snow also received a 2010
our students to personally advocate for an emphasis on measuring
National Awards for Education Reporting first
achievement beyond the easy “evaluation by test score.”
prize from the Education Writers Association
• We must teach our students to use new assessment tools that docu-
for her Science journal piece, “Academic
ment records of practice — tangible artifacts such as teachers’ jour-
Language and the Challenge of Reading for
nals, student work, videotapes, and well-crafted collaboratively-
Learning about Science.”
assessed lesson plans. • We must convince our students that when they enter the world of
practice, they must observe their teaching colleagues’ expertise
Gardner is headed to
using well-developed observation tools, and make use of supportive
Spain in October to
mentors, coaches, and professional development providers.
receive the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences. The foundation,
Want to see your question answered in a future issue of the magazine?
headed by Spain’s Crown
Visit the Ed School on Facebook and join the conversation:
Prince Felipe, gives eight
Asturias Awards annually.
• FALL 2011
onmybookshelf Assistant Professor Jenny Thomson Currently reading: The Fiddler in the Subway by Gene Weingarten, an anthology of Weingarten’s feature writing for The Washington Post. The thing that drew you to it: My nonacademic reading time is so precious that I have come to rely on recommendations from two good friends — one reads largely nonfiction and the other will only read prize-winning fiction. So this recommendation came from my nonfiction friend. First impressions: Very, very thought-provoking, in the truest sense of the word. I’m not sure how Ed. magazine feels about product placement, but I would definitely recommend this book! Last great read: Talking Heads by Alan Bennett. Being British, I need my regular dose of dark, satirical humor. Book you’ve read over and over: For me, it’s largely poetry that gets the repeated-reading treatment: Wislawa Szymborska, Elizabeth Jennings, Simon Armitage, Rumi. I love the density of poetry and how much can be said with just a handful of words. Favorite spot to curl up with a good book: A bus, train, or plane. The escapism experience has to be complete for both mind and body. How you find the time: It is tricky. I note that all my recommendations consist of self-contained chapters, or are poems. This is perhaps not a coincidence.
Next up: Confession of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor.
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
the appian way
Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed
I Used to Think … And Now I Think …
By Howard Gardner
By Richard Elmore
and Goodness Reframed, Professor Howard Gardner explores
the meaning of these three timeless virtues and describes the
of reflective essays compiled by Professor Richard Elmore,
challenge of making sense of them.
C.A.S.’72, Ed.D.’76, presents a variety of testaments from
t is a deceivingly simple task — to define the concepts of truth, beauty, and goodness — yet one which humans have struggled to accomplish. In his latest book, Truth, Beauty,
Although uncertainties about the nature of these virtues have been raised since classical times, Gardner reveals that in an age defined by vast technological advancement and relativistic
and unforgiving teachers, it provides what may be the most effective and enduring lessons. In an effort to
exemplify this, I Used to Think … And Now I Think …, a volume
several top educators as they look back upon their professional experiences. The book shares its name with an exercise Elmore uses to
attitudes toward human nature, current trends are largely a
conclude courses and teacher professional development ses-
product of postmodern thought and digital media. Thus, the
sions, in which participants are asked to reflect on what they
book — which grew out of a series of three lectures — draws
learned and how their thinking changed over a certain period
on a range of contemporary science and knowledge as Gardner
of time. The notion of utilizing the exercise as the foundation
reframes both the teaching and practice of old virtues within the
for an entire book came a little more than a year ago when
constraints of a modern society.
Elmore wrote a short piece for the Harvard Education Letter
Gardner encourages readers to think clearly about their own
using the guidance of this very protocol. The essay, which is
conceptions of truth, beauty, and morality, as well as the current
now featured as a chapter in the book, not only reveals how
status of these virtues in society. In three consecutive chapters
his own thinking changed over the course of his 40-year
he sets forth his own definition of each and then, in light of this
career as a teacher and researcher, but ultimately encouraged
reframing, offers suggestions on how to strengthen these core
Elmore to seek similar reflections from others.
ideas through formal education and nurture them going forward.
The resulting volume consists of 20 chapters that represent
For example, Gardner presents beauty as a virtue that is person-
the individual reflections and musings of 20 different educa-
alized and fragmented, molded by individual experiences, and
tional professionals. By compiling these varying perspectives
subject to constant reevaluation. In the realm of formal school-
into a single book, Elmore hopes to both “make learning vis-
ing, he suggests that instead of focusing on preferences — ask-
ible” and provide a testimonial to the broader value and power
ing students to declare that one piece of work is superior, more
of reflection. “My fellow contributors and I hope to model, in a
valuable, or more beautiful than another — teachers should first
small way, what professional discourse might look like if pro-
emphasize and cultivate a student’s ability to distinguish and
fessionals were expected to learn over the course of a career,”
articulate differences that matter.
Elmore writes. “It strikes me as ironic that in a field nominally
Tackling some of mankind’s most perplexing and enduring
devoted to the development of capacities to learn, there is
questions, Gardner highlights the foundations of ethics and
so little visible evidence of what those who do the work have
virtue in the modern age. While he acknowledges that the
actually learned in their careers.”
concepts of truth, beauty, and goodness are changing faster
xperience: While it may be one of the most relentless
Through this compilation, Elmore presents current educa-
than ever, he emphasizes that they are — and will remain — the
tors with the opportunity to change the way they think about
cornerstones of our society. In a thoughtful and enthusiastic
improving school reform without making the same mistakes
view of human possibilities, Gardner encourages readers to
as their predecessors and without spending years of their
embrace the dynamism of these virtues rather than giving up on
careers learning the crucial lessons highlighted by the fea-
• FALL 2011
Sacred Trust: A Children’s Education Bill of Rights By Peter Cookson Jr.
lthough the United States is considered one of the richest
HARVARD EDUCATION PRESS
countries in the world, it ranks first in the percentage of children
A Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools Soo Hong, Ed.D.’09; 2011
living in poverty. Of the 20 percent of American children that live
in poverty, more than 1 million go hungry every day and more than 1.3 million children are homeless on any given night. According to Peter Cookson Jr., C.A.S.’91, it is such poverty and inequality that are the sources of unequal education. In his latest book, Sacred Trust, he proposes an education bill of rights for American children that, he argues, will address these issues and ensure greater integrity and improved opportunity for all. While Cookson occasionally sprinkles in many of his own proposals and propositions, the book is organized with the reader in mind. It is overflowing with ideas, inspiration, and stimulating questions intended to engage the reader and act as a sounding board for education policies. By including a wide range of illustrative examples, quotes, stories, and statistics, Cookson helps readers grasp the living conditions of children today, allowing them to become informed and involved in the national
Humanizing Education: Critical Alternatives to Reform Kristy Cooper, Ed.M.’07, Ed.D.’11, and Ed.D. Candidates Gretchen Brion-Meisels; Sherry Deckman, Ed.M.’07; Christina Dobbs, Ed.M.’06; Chantal Francois, Ed.M.’08; Thomas Nikundiwe, Ed.M.’07; and Carla Shalaby, Ed.M.’09; 2010 Key Elements of Observing Practice: A Data Wise DVD and Facilitator’s Guide Lecturer Kathryn Parker Boudett; Lecturer Elizabeth City, Ed.M.’04, Ed.D.’07; and Ed.D. Candidate Marcia Russell, Ed.M.’09; 2010 Strategic Priorities for School Improvement Caroline Chauncey, editor in chief, HEPG; 2010
dialogue surrounding the future of public education. Cookson concludes each chapter with relevant study questions, possible action steps, and suggested further reading in an effort to ignite
conversation and invite readers of all capacities — parents, early child-
The Differentiated Instruction Book of Lists Jenifer Fox, Ed.M.’95, and Whitney Hoffman; 2011
hood educators, legislators, librarians, foundations officers, and community members — to participate, whether they agree or disagree. In the book, Cookson also outlines 10 fundamental rights to which he thinks all students are entitled. For example, Cookson asserts that every American youth has the right to a distinguished and committed teacher; a relevant and engaged curriculum; and fair, honorable evaluations. While Cookson acknowledges that these suggestions are “basic,” he stresses that they are intended to act as a foundation for future progression, not as established laws or administrative solutions. “The mission of this book is to awaken our generous spirit of fairness and to provide teachers, support staff, guidance counselors, and administrators at every level with ideas to spark conversation and to offer some suggested action steps,” Cookson writes. “When enacted, this Children’s Education Bill of Rights will be the legislative and administrative framework for a socially healthier and more economically productive United States.”
Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage Veronica Boix Mansilla, Ed.M.’92, Ed.D.’01, and Anthony Jackson; 2011 Introduction to Renewable Energy Vaughn Nelson, Ed.M.’62; 2011 The Promised Cookie — No Longer Angry Students David Sortino, Ed.M.’81; 2011 The Same Thing Over and Over: How School Reformers Get Stuck in Yesterday’s Ideas Frederick Hess, Ed.M.’90; 2010 Teaching Children to Write: Constructing Meaning and Mastering Mechanics Daniel Meier, Ed.M.’84; 2011
—Briefs written by Rachael Apfel HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Road Taken The
BY JANET SUDNIK
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT SUTTON
Working okra and cotton fields three days a week in his tiny town of McKinley, Ala., David Wilson didn’t attend school full time until he was in the seventh grade. But he grew up with an urgent desire to learn. Now president of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Wilson travels home to pay tribute to the places and the people who helped make him who he is. 20
• FALL 2011
t is a hot spring day in Marengo County, one of the most rural and poor Black Belt counties in Alabama. David Wilson, Ed.M.’84, Ed.D.’87, pulls over and steps out, his 14-year-old son, Nyere, in tow. The esteemed academic, currently serving as president of Morgan State University in Baltimore, is flooded with memories of hot summer days walking the long miles between the school and his home (often barefoot to save his shoes), of early classroom lessons taught by a strict but caring teacher, of his beloved family members who reside here in great number. David Wilson is home.
Earlier that morning, Wilson was a guest of honor at the
University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, a few hours north. He was the keynote speaker at a gathering of the university’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships, a cause that is close to his heart. “I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of what this speaker will do before he is done,” said Samory Pruitt, vice president of community affairs, as he introduced Wilson. For the next 45 minutes, Wilson captivated the audience with his passion for education and collaboration between institutions of higher learning and their environments. He told stories of his own humble upbringing, his determination to receive the best education possible, and his fight to give students with similar struggles access to the same. As he recounted a memory of his father handing him a $5 bill on the morning he departed for Tuskegee University — all he had saved for several years — the audience at the Hotel Capstone ballroom was more than a little choked up. Wilson’s impressive academic resume boasts both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Tuskegee and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Ed School. His career path has led him to several distinguished positions, including as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and the University of Wisconsin-Extension, associate provost and vice president at Auburn University, and associate provost at Rutgers University. He has been at his current post as president of Morgan State University since 2010 and was appointed by President Barack Obama to an 11-member board of advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. His speech this day was to encourage relationships between colleges and the cities and towns they inhabit, and for the students who benefit from their education to find ways to give back and offer others like them the same educational opportunities. But his visit also offers him the chance to pay a visit to his beginnings, to connect with his spirit. 22
• FALL 2011
Home for Wilson is a few hours down a two-lane road,
to the small community of McKinley, Ala. Growing up, the town was home to scarcely more than 30 residents. Along the way, he makes several stops that are cornerstones in his upbringing. His elementary school, a modest well-kept brick building where he spent first and second grades, is first. Immediately noticeable on the front sign is a large gap between the words: “Uniontown” and “Elementary School.” Chiseled off is the word “Negro,” an omission that Wilson says isn’t all bad, as long as it makes children question why, and if they learn from it. “Five people in my family didn’t even finish elementary school because it was just so hard, it was just so difficult to have that kind of access to school,” he says, as he glances up at the building, where his youngest sister, Minnie Wilson Early, currently teaches. “I have mixed feelings [being here] because on the one hand, I’m very proud of what the school is trying to do to make education possible for so many students in this community who come from similar backgrounds as I came from,” he says. “I’m very proud of the fact that my sister is so committed to quality of education. She has dedicated her life to being a phenomenal teacher. “I do, however, come away from a physical standpoint, from a capital standpoint, that the buildings are not what you want to see in a high-performing school. I have to come back here constantly to make sure that I’m grounded and that I understand that this is where the huge jump started, from here all the way to Harvard initially, and other points from there.”
The journey continues on, and after a while he pulls the
rental car over to a wide, well-kept lawn upon which a small church building rests, flanked by a few rows of headstones to one side. Hebron Baptist Church is what much of his family still considers their home church, and its cemetery where many of their descendants are buried. Wilson makes a path toward one of the most elegant headstones, his mother’s. “She was really the educator in the family,” he says. “She had an eighth-grade education. At the time, that was pretty decent for blacks. My mom could read and she could write. My dad was illiterate; he couldn’t read the headstone right now.”
David and Nyere visit the cemetery. Deacon Henry’s headstone.
His parents, Minnie and Henry Wilson, receive much of the credit for instilling in Wilson an urgent desire for learning. “My dad was the most intelligent man I have ever known and my mom was the most loving, caring, and nurturing woman I have ever known,” he says. His father’s headstone is engraved with a birth year of 1915, though it’s a guess, as he never knew his true birthday. As he pushes away pine straw and dead leaves from their plots, he recalls how they were the glue that held their large family of seven sons and three daughters together. “They raised the 10 of us in a way that created this incredible bond,” he says. They were loving, but strict, forbidding curse words, teaching respect for the elderly and one another, and regularly attending church services at Hebron, which often were hours long. He happily remembers all-night barbecues, celebrations, religious skits performed, and hymns poorly sung by him and his siblings. It was this church community, he says, that helped solidify the family’s foundation, offering structure, support, and guidance. Wilson and many of his far-flung relatives are still on the books as members and regularly keep up with donations to ensure that the building and grounds are kept. Many of Wilson’s kin are buried here, including his grandfather, Deacon Henry Spencer. Wilson pauses at his grave, remembering when the crate transporting his headstone arrived when Wilson was just a young child. It was a nice, well-made box, and the family kept it for Wilson to use as a stool. Though Wilson was too young to have memories of his grandfather, Spencer’s legacy was proudly narrated to the family, who learned that the patriarch grew up in the 1800s amid unfathomable adversity. In the face of poverty and strained race relations, he maintained an unshakable entrepreneurial spirit and refused to remain in a subservient sharecropping situation. To that end, he grew his own produce to feed his family and sell at market. He diversified into other industries, such as coal mining, to become a selfmade man. He also pushed the importance of family and togetherness, concepts Wilson believes he would be proud to see carried on. In 1991, the family began a reunion tradition, held every other year in a different location. Anywhere from 150 to 200 family members regularly attend. “It’s our way of
saying to my son and to our grandnieces and -nephews that you do have a legacy and you need to know that, you need to be proud of that. No matter what the challenges, don’t let those things break your spirit.” His grandfather, he says, “would be proud of the fact that our family has maintained a deep sense of what it means to love each other and what it means to support each other, and that we really understand what it means to be a family.” As he continues walking, a single crow caws in the background as the sun begins to set through the trees. The cemetery is silent, peaceful and serene. “I have to come here to get centered as well,” Wilson says, his voice catching. “I come here when I feel that something is not going right to be recentered and realize what a good life lived is all about. “I think I’ve been able to achieve the things that I have achieved because I have never, ever forgotten the humble beginnings, and I will never, ever forget that. Some people kind of run away from the fact that they didn’t grow up with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths, but for me, if I ran away from that, I think I would be like a feather floating in the air with no sense of purpose, no sense of groundedness, with a whole lot of emptiness.”
The road continues on, and after a few turns, the now-
vacant site of the one-room schoolhouse with the potbellied stove appears, the walls inside which Wilson received his first formal education now just a memory. It was not required that black children go to school at the time, so the Wilson children went in shifts, working the okra and cotton fields three days and attending school two, and reversing it the next week. “I was literally in the seventh grade before I attended school five consecutive days,” he says, as he shakes his head and turns around, marveling that an open field is all that remains of such an important place. Wilson’s impressive academic credentials are all the more extraordinary considering the seemingly insurmountable barriers he overcame. A good education was not easy to achieve growing up in a sharecropping family, facing extreme poverty, racial inequality in the rural South, and living in a home with 12 mouths to feed. Twenty to 30 children representing six grades would pack into the building, with benches borrowed from the church and work done in their laps. Here, children were taught the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, with different blocks of time set aside for each grade. Wilson can remember struggling to keep up because of the many missed lessons when he was working the fields to help his family. At home, the flimsy, holey walls were patched with a homemade plaster of boiled water and flour spread on pages of back issues of Look and Life magazines, brought to the house by the landowners, and which Wilson would HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
read. “That shanty was [our] elementary school on those days that I wasn’t there [at school],” Wilson says. “It was the library that was nonexistent at McKinley.” For the most part, he and others were not aware they were receiving anything less than white students were in other areas; they simply were not exposed to it. It wasn’t until high school that he had to pass a white school to get to his own, and saw how it was furnished. “It was so shocking to go past this campus that was well-manicured — new buildings, new gymnasium,” he says. “The message that I got from that was that someone didn’t think I was equal to the investment. That was very disturbing.” A similar awakening took place when his high school shop teacher drove a group of students to Tuskegee University for an agricultural conference. On the way, the teacher purposely drove them through affluent areas, exposing them to a new world of possibility. “My chin was on my chest,” he says. “I could not believe that black people in these United States lived that way. I had never seen that kind of middle class existence, all professors and lawyers and doctors, wonderful homes and well-manicured lawns. It just made me feel so proud. “So when I came back … , I came back flying. I knew I wanted to go to Tuskegee because I wanted to experience the whole sense of black intellectual superiority and black success at a level that was almost unmatched in this country.” As the hot breeze begins to blow and the sun begins to melt away, Wilson talks about how he left the area with a few scars. “I was angry because I was not special — that there were so many other people in this community who could have been the surgeons, who could have been the senators, who could have been the leading educators, who could have been the leading authors — but they were never, ever given that chance.
Emmett Lee Wilson 1870–unknown
Wilso enry H n h Jo 1936
son e Wil Lawrenc8–1994 193
Wilson’s Family Tree 24
• FALL 2011
“And that was really what angered me, that through this insidious system we had in place, we have lost so many minds. And that’s why I’m hell bent on working with young people when I come here now, so we don’t continue to lose our best talent.”
Arriving at the family homestead, a party is brewing.
Gravel driveways leading to a row of houses each owned by a Wilson family member are filling up with cars. Children of all ages spill out of trucks and SUVs, arms laden with preparations for the night’s catfish fry. Nearly 50 brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, and spouses are suddenly everywhere, filling what they jokingly call the family compound with bear hugs, laughter, and chatter. Wilson shares a hug with all of them, showing off how much Nyere has grown. Every niece and nephew he greets is questioned about their schooling — how are their grades, will they attend college, what are their future plans. They expect it from Uncle David, and the answers are impressive, from degrees already or nearly earned at college to middle-schoolers declaring they will attend Harvard, just like him. His own son also answers without hesitation when asked that he, too, will attend the Cambridge institution. “I often say to my son, ‘You have your pick of the litter. You can go to school any place you want to in the entire world. That choice is clearly up to you — but you have a choice.’” It is the choice, he says, that is most significant. A family once struggling to survive is now full of college scholars, professionals, and students, each with dreams they know they will achieve. Niece Kiara Nicole Wilson is preparing to receive a degree from the University of Alabama. Nephew Kalen Early is a ninth-grader in the gifted program at Robert C. Hatch High School. Nephew
Luddie Wilson 1877–1941
Spencer Deacon Hennry–1956
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Standing with his nephew, Richard Van Wilson, David holds baby Jeremiah. Later, he talks to his sister-in-law, Ruby Wilson. His oldest brother, John Henry, and various cousins are in the background.
Jamaal Hunter, who is the mayor of nearby Uniontown, says, “Without education, I could not be in the position I’m in today. Education can serve as the great equalizer.” He remembers watching Wilson excel academically and drew upon him as an example. “I looked up to him; if Uncle David can do it, I can do it.” Wilson picks up a tiny family member, infant Jeremiah, perhaps the newest addition in attendance, and says, “This is the future, here.” Inside, the family is busy laying out a feast of fresh fruit, coleslaw, baked beans, corn on the cob, and potato salad. Tray after tray of golden fried catfish is carried in, and the family joins in prayer before digging in. The main house is a flurry of activity, as plates are filled and refilled, older children chase smaller ones as they happily shriek and thread through the tables. Lapolean Peterson, the principal of Marengo County Training School for 34 years, where Wilson attended high school, and a friend of the family, shows up to the party. He and Wilson reminisce about former teachers and students as if it were yesterday. Wilson was a recent commencement speaker at the school, and Peterson says he is referenced often as an example to students today. “He would always come back, and we’ve always been just like brothers,” Peterson says. “[Students see that] they can do the same thing — he was one guy that was totally determined.” The school has other success stories, too, in the many professionals, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and others who passed through. “It’s a good feeling to know you touched a life in some positive way. It’s my biggest reward.” Wilson’s youngest sister, Minnie Wilson Early, seconds the emphasis on education. As a teacher at Uniontown Elementary, she often steps beyond her role as teacher, getting to know the parents of her pupils and ensuring that they understand learning is a partnership. “We all buy into their education,” she says. “I follow up on my students.” It warms her heart when they come back years later and thank her, and a good many do. But most important, she says, is that after the students move out of their environment, better themselves, and become whatever it is they choose to be, that they bring back what they have learned for the next generation.
This is precisely how Wilson has dedicated his career
— to stressing the importance of education, making sure students have access and opportunity and following through to their success. He says he got into the system to fight the red tape and clear the way for students and educators. “I certainly see as a part of my success removing that which is unnecessary, that will stand in the way of progress, in the way of a good-quality education, and that will stand in the way of innovation and creativity,” he says. “And that’s personal.” He vividly remembers the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and the realization of what he stood for. It was 1968. He was 14 and in the eighth grade. There was sudden confusion and sadness. His family went across the street to his uncle’s place, where they watched King’s funeral on television. “I think that was a huge awakening for me,” he says. “A social awakening. “It really, really brought into focus why he was out there marching and advocating and fighting for equality. Because I looked around and I realized all of a sudden, I’m not equal, in terms of the way we are living, in terms of the way we are being schooled.” He continues to further his mission, putting out the call to arms one college at a time. “I see my work as purposeful. It’s about transforming lives, it’s about putting students in a position where they realize potential that sometimes they don’t think they have, and coming back here is a good connection to try to make that happen. “I can’t forget about these communities, because these communities are so much a part of me,” he says. “How can you forget that? It’s so special.” — Janet Sudnik is the editor of Tuscaloosa Magazine in Tuscaloosa, Ala., a few hours north of David Wilson’s hometown.
The name says it all: The Five Dollar Scholarship Fund. David Wilson started the fund to support students at Morgan who have potential but few resources. It is dedicated to his parents. For more information, go to www.givetomorgan.net/fivedollar. HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
A look at why some educators are starting to accept the online encyclopedia that anyone can write and edit. BY LORY HOUGH n July 31, 2006, Stephen Colbert did a segment on his show, The Colbert Report, mocking the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. The site was five years old at the time and starting to become hugely popular. But it was also greatly debated. Bloggers referred to it as “wicked-pedia” and “irresponsible scholarship.” Headlines called for a “stand against Wikipedia” and proclaimed, “Wikipedia: more dangerous than crack.” A year after the Colbert episode, Senator Ted Stevens (R-AL) even introduced legislation that would have banned Wikipedia from public schools. By far, the biggest criticism — and the biggest jokes — revolved around trustworthiness. What makes the site unique is also what makes it potentially problematic: Anyone can anonymously create entries about anything and, with some exceptions, can also anonymously edit entries created by other “wikipedians,” as they’re called. There is no hierarchy of expertise. As a 2006 New Yorker article pointed out, it is “a system that does not favor the Ph.D. over the well-read 15-year-old.” Colbert, with his laptop in front of him, jumped on this. “Who is Britannica to tell me George Washington had slaves?” he said, referring to another encyclope-
ILLUSTRATION BY MATT COONEY dia, the oldest in the English language still in print and one that is often pitted against Wikipedia. After logging on to the Wikipedia site, Colbert continued, “If I want to say he didn’t, that’s my right. And now, thanks to Wikipedia,” (he clicks the keyboard) “it’s also a fact.” At the time, this kind of random contribution — by a regular Joe who was having fun, or at least who wasn’t backing up his claim with scholarly research — was exactly what educators were worried about when it came to students using the free site for research. Teachers, librarians, and professors started discouraging Wikipedia. Others outright banned students from using the site as a resource for projects and papers. But now, five years after Colbert’s segment, there are signs that attitudes about Wikipedia may be slightly shifting. There are fewer heated debates online about the site’s evils, and headlines are more likely to focus on Wiki leaks than Wiki tweaks. As one blogger noted last January, marking the site’s 10th anniversary, “A reporter told me the other day that mocking Wikipedia is so 2007.” Even educators, it seems, are starting to throw out olive branches. HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
ibrarian and media specialist Linda O’Connor is one of them. In the fall of 2007, news spread fast and far about her “Just Say No to Wikipedia” posters, which she had hung above every computer in the library at Great Meadows Middle School in New Jersey. The local newspaper ran a story about her actions, as did The Inquirer in London and The New York Times. She appeared on FOX & Friends morning show. Library listservs lit up. “Kids just take it for gospel, they really do,” she said in interviews about Wikipedia. “That’s my concern about it.” A year later, though, new posters carried a slightly softer message: “Wikipedia-Free Media Center.” “It too led to many good discussions and I used it as a teaching tool throughout the year,” O’Connor says, including putting up a bulletin board with the sign, “Using Wikipedia as a research tool.” On the board, she posted examples of incorrect Wikipedia entries for students to read, and presumably learn from, such as a piece about the death of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) during President Obama’s inauguration. (Kennedy actually collapsed at the inauguration luncheon and was released from the hospital the next day.) More recently, O’Connor went one step further: She took down the anti-Wikipedia posters. “Omitting my Wikipedia posters from the media center bulletin board this year was an easy decision,” she says. “Students are using answers from Wikipedia on other websites without realizing it. I decided to concentrate on website evaluation in general,” such as teaching eighth-graders how to validate sources. The same transition happened to Beth Holland, Ed.M.’02. When she started working at a small independent school in Newport, R.I., in 2006, as director of technology, she also told her students not to use Wikipedia. “During my first year, I really struggled with teaching online research,” she says. In particular, she felt like Wikipedia was tricky for her elementary-aged students to navigate, especially when it came to recognizing the difference between opinion and fact-checked research. This became apparent when the fifth-graders had to do a project on a famous artist. “One student used Wikipedia when looking up Andy Warhol,” she says. At the time, the site had fewer safeguards than it does now, such as not allowing unregistered users from making edits. “Essentially, this 11-year-old had information about Warhol as a sex maniac and off-color film producer.” While that information may not have been totally fictitious, Holland says, it also wasn’t scholarly research, and it wasn’t appropriate for someone that age. So she started steering students away from Wikipedia. And then she began using other research sites like Answer.com, which gathers information from various sources, including Wikipedia, and allows users to compare sources. Over time, she realized that “sometimes, 28
• FALL 2011
[Wikipedia] is the best, and fastest, way to get information in a manageable format.” These days, what has Holland, now with EdTech Teacher, more concerned is another site: Google. “I think that Google is more detrimental to the research process than Wikipedia,” she says. “At least Wikipedia is an actual source, with documentation and a means to cite information. On the other hand, students feel that Google is a source. I can’t count the number of times that I have asked a student where they found their information and the response is ‘Google.’” Google, they believe, is the only place to get information. “Kids expect research to be a fill-in-the-blank answer sheet rather than a process,” she says, “and frequently want to switch topics because they claim that they ‘can’t find anything.’”
or many educators, what this has prompted in recent years is less of a focus on just saying no to sites like Wikipedia, and instead saying: Can we use this as a teachable moment? Starting in 2010, for example, dozens of college professors (including at Harvard) assigned students to write Wikipedia entries for credit about public policy issues as part of a project launched by Wikimedia. This past academic year, the students had contributed almost 5,800 pages worth of fact-checked information. Other educators, like O’Connor and Holland, are training students how to do research effectively in the digital age so that they make better decisions. As one blogger wrote about Wikipedia, “Educators shouldn’t allow students to simply use the site at will, without filtering. Educators can use the site to teach about online credibility, fact checking, primary and secondary sources, crowd sourcing … rather than simply banning it.” This is exactly what is now happening in Burlington, Mass. Librarians in the elementary schools begin the process, teaching basic research skills and Internet safety. By middle school, teachers show students how to check sources. And then in the ninth grade, says Amy Mellencamp, Ed.M.’81, principal of the high school, there is a required, semesterlong course that looks more deeply at Internet safety, research strategies, and appropriate resources. Unfortunately, says Megan Birdsong, Ed.M.’94, a teacher librarian for the Santa Clara United School District, while this kind of training in critical thinking is more needed than ever for students, it’s not always a priority everywhere. “The credentialed librarians in my school district have … been pink-slipped,” she says. “Less than 25 percent of California schools have credentialed librarians … and yet the skills that we teach seem more important than ever as discussions of new types and sources of information evolve.”
Looking at the numbers, Wikipedia has more than evolved. Today, it consistently ranks in the top 10 visited sites on the Internet. As of August, there were more than 19 million available articles written in 280 languages. In interviews and during speeches, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales stresses that the site tries to be accurate, but also should only be used as a stepping stone when doing research, especially by students. “For God’s sake, you’re in college,” he said, speaking to students at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006. “Don’t cite the encyclopedia.” A year later, answering a question from a Time magazine reader who complained about a professor who badmouthed Wikipedia as a legitimate research source, Wales no doubt surprised the reader by answering, “I would agree with your teachers that that isn’t the right way to use Wikipedia. The site is a wonderful starting point for research. But it’s only a starting point because there’s always a chance that there’s something wrong, and you should check your sources if you are writing a paper.” Clint Calzini, Ed.M.’04, a former teacher and principal, and current doctoral student at the College of William & Mary, says he uses Wikipedia occasionally in his doctoral research “to get a snapshot of something.” He advises his undergraduate students to do the same. “I have always told students that Wikipedia is fine to start with to get an understanding of something, but due to its open source, it should not be quoted directly and that they need to verify information from a qualified source.” He acknowledges that the site has gotten better over the years, especially with footnotes. “A recent example is [the entry on] daylight savings time,” he says. “It has a stunning level of detail and 121 footnotes!” There’s evidence that students, at least at the post-secondary level, may actually get this. A 2010 report, How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age, found that while nearly 75 percent of students reported using Wikipedia for school research, almost all of them said they turn first to course readings and consulted more with instructors and scholarly research than with Wikipedia. Of course, not all educators have entirely jumped on the Wikipedia bandwagon. Matt Shapiro, Ed.M.’10, a secondary science teacher who wrote two op-eds in 2010 in support of students using Wikipedia — one for Education Week, one for Ed. — says he still sees some resistance from other teachers. Often, the level of acceptance depends on the subject matter. Anthony Parker, Ed.M.’93, principal of Weston High School, just outside of Boston, says his school doesn’t have a uniform policy regarding Wikipedia, but some teachers feel more comfortable with the site’s information than others. “One math teacher thinks it is very good in computer science classes,” he says. “As you might imagine, English and history teachers tend not to use it as much. In history, for
example, it might be a decent starting place for a research project — with the caveat that you must check the Wikipedia source — but it is not counted as a source when the research project is turned in. As a former history teacher I am in the ‘Wikipedia is not a great source and should be treated with great skepticism’ camp.” Chris Kyle, a history professor at Syracuse University and an early critic of the site who has banned students from citing Wikipedia in papers since 2003, agrees. “History is about being able to evaluate a number of sources, so it’s important to know who wrote the piece: what viewpoint they’ve come from, what their religion is, etc.,” he says. “I still feel like Wikipedia is an anonymous department store with no name, which is one-stop shopping. History, as a discipline, is about being able to shop around to a variety of specialists.” Luckily, Kyle says, students at the college level tend to use the site less as they move up in grade and get more sophisticated in their critical thinking. This may be why the librarians at the Ed School, who work primarily with master’s and doctoral students, rarely use Wikipedia. “All of us agree that Wikipedia never even comes up when we are discussing research strategies,” says Gutman librarian Kathleen Donovan. “Students don’t ask us about it, and we do not include it in our research strategy recommendations.”
s the 10-year anniversary of Wikipedia comes to an end, where do educators go from here when it comes to their students and the site? A recent uproar on Wikipedia may provide one answer: This past summer, former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin offered an alternative theory about Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride. Many historians publicly disagreed with her, and immediately, suspected Palin supporters rushed to the Paul Revere Wikipedia page and changed information to better fit with Palin’s version of history. And here’s where the answer, and lesson, come in: The truth, in a sense, won out. Not only did Wikipedia editors instantly swoop in to delete misinformation, but the entry also ended up with more information and footnotes than before Palin’s comments. It also got people talking, thinking, and, perhaps best of all, laughing. As Stephen Colbert said of the controversy, just before he donned a Paul Revere–type hat on his show while ringing a bell, firing a musket, and riding a coin-operated kiddie ride, “That doesn’t mean Palin wasn’t raising awareness of history. Without her, no one would have checked into what really happened. And more importantly, it did happen.” Note: Wikipedia was used in the writing of this article.
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
oneonone Irasema Salcido
hen the U.S. Department of Education opened the competition in 2010 for the first round of Promise Neighborhood Grants, it didn’t take long for Irasema Salcido, Ed.M.’89, to decide to apply. She knew it might be a long shot, but the work that was being done at the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy in Washington, D.C., where she serves as CEO, was already in line with the goals of the initiative: creating educational opportunities for children in distressed communities by offering “cradleto-college” services. The long shot paid off when Chavez Parkside, the school’s campus in the Parkside-Kenilworth neighborhood of D.C., was announced as a recipient. “I actually cried when we found out. I was so overwhelmed with joy and a sense of accomplishment,” Salcido says. “It was an acknowledgement of the needs in this community and a beginning to sustainable solutions to meet those needs.” As CEO, Salcido oversees the three Chavez Schools — the original campus at Capitol Hill, Chavez Prep, and Parkside — but it was only when Parkside’s principal stepped down and she became acting principal that she truly began to understand the depth of the school’s day-to-day issues. “I got a firsthand look at the challenges that the students, families, teachers, and staff faced,” she says, “and I started to look for solutions.”
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alumni news and notes
Why did you choose Parkside-Kenilworth for a Chavez School? I saw that there was limited opportunity for the children in Wards 7 and 8, and I wanted to change that. The reaction of the parents and residents was so positive. Parents couldn’t believe that someone wanted to start a school in their community with a focus on getting their children to college. They were so excited to have Chavez come to the Parkside-Kenilworth community, and we were excited to be a part of the community. Were you working on a plan for Parkside prior to the Promise grants? Yes. Two and a half years ago, a small group of people and I convened and spoke about what was happening at Chavez Parkside. The low test scores and the number of students who were not prepared for high school urged us to research and connect with the two local elementary schools. We discovered that they were facing similar challenges as the students as young as three and four years old were coming to school without the basic knowledge needed to begin school. At that point, we created
the foundation of an organization that would target these problems. We concluded that academic solutions were only one part of the success of each child. Factors such as early childhood development and community safety were also important factors to guarantee that each child would reach [his/her] full potential. The group — now called the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI) — evolved over the months prior to the announcement of the federal Promise Neighborhood Grant.
Your model is the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). Why? We felt that its holistic approach to improving the education and lives of children in Harlem was something that could work for the children in Parkside-Kenilworth. Parkside-Kenilworth is an isolated community with some of the highest rates of poverty, academic failure, crime, and HIV/AIDS [in Washington, D.C.]. There is a high concentration of children, and 38 percent of [its] children live below the poverty line. The HCZ model provided a template for us to target the more unique challenges. How will DCPNI meet its goals? We will collaborate with community members, charter and traditional public schools, experts, service providers, government officials, and funders to ensure a continuum of services and wrap-around supports will be made available to the children and families of the Parkside-Kenilworth community. Our academic goals include children entering kindergarten ready to learn and students graduating from high school and going on to obtain a postsecondary degree or certification. Students being healthy and feeling safe at school are among our family and community goals.
These goals will not be achieved overnight. However, we have made a commitment to this community for the long term, and we will do whatever it takes to achieve our goals.
How involved is the community now? We cannot do this work without strong support and trust from the community. DCPNI hosts monthly community dinners … to inform residents about [our] goals, hear directly from residents what they feel are the most pressing needs in the community, and encourage residents to become actively involved with this initiative. To ensure the voice of the community informs everything we do, one-third of DCPNI’s advisory board members are residents. Additionally, our 10 results-driven work groups . . . which are tasked with recommending solutions for achieving [each of our 10] goals, have at least one resident cochair as well as varying numbers of resident members. We are fortunate to have such strong support and involvement from the community. You were honored by Oprah’s Angel Network in 2001. Being on the show gave me added motivation to continue my life’s work. Receiving recognition and praise from someone who is so well-respected gave me an even greater sense of pride and determination to continue my mission. It helped to strengthen the commitment of our school’s teachers and staff and lifted the aspirations and determination of our students. While I’ve always believed in the importance of my life’s work, to [be recognized by] someone who has also dedicated herself to improving the lives of others is humbling.
What are some of the Chavez Schools’ challenges? Our major challenges are the same as those that face many schools that serve similar populations across the country: Helping our students get to grade-level proficiency and to pass standardized tests. Parent involvement and engagement has been a challenge, as well as recruiting and retaining effective staff that can bring our students and schools to where they need to be. We have been successful in many ways and have had strong results across our three campuses, but our staff still struggles to overcome the challenges that our students face academically as well as socially.
— Marin Jorgensen
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
alumni news and notes
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2commencement 011 C
omplete with flash mobs (above), Sesame Street picture books, pomp and circumstance, and a funny lady named Amy
Poehler, 673 students from 23 countries and 41 states graduated on May 26. (They joined the 27 who graduated in November and March.) One member of the new class of 2011 even had a double celebration: a graduation and a birthday.
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
alumni news and notes
for the International Federation for Parenting Education. She spoke at the April meeting of the New York NGO Committee on the Family.
1967 Elliot Seif, M.A.T.’65,
C.A.S., launched a new education website for administrators, teachers, parents, and “anyone interested in creating an education that prepares students to live in a rapidly changing, Era 3, 21st-century world.” Visit the site at www.era3learning.org.
1982 Julie Lineberger’s firm, LineSync Architecture, designed River Bank Park
COURTESY OF JULIE LINEBERGER
Jane Condon, Ed.M., was
the 2011 commencement speaker at Wellesley College on May 27. This spring, she had an extended run in New York of her Off-Broadway show, Janie Condon: Raw & Unchained.
Nan Stevens, Ed.M., writes,
Peter Liman, M.A.T., com-
“At 80, I’m glad to be upright and ambulatory. Are there any other members of the 1952 Ed.M. class still out there?”
1962 Vaughn Nelson, Ed.M.,
returned as director of the Alternative Energy Institute at West Texas A&M University for one year starting in July 2009. While there, he used previous courses in wind energy and solar energy to develop a program for renewable energy. He used the material from his online course in renewable energy to write the 2011 textbook, Introduction to Renewable Energ y. His previous book, Wind Energ y, was published in 2009.
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pleted a major art exhibition at the Stable in Ridgewood, N.J., titled “Oil and Water Do Mix.” He actively shows his oil landscapes in numerous galleries, hospitals, and colleges. His Big Hollow Art Studio is located in Windham, N.Y.
Don Akeson, Ed.M., wrote
a trilogy on the history of Irish education, which has been selected as one of the 300 books in the new Routledge Education Classics reprint series.
1966 Eve Sullivan, M.A.T.,
founder of the Parents Forum, received credentials as a representative to the United Nations
Trudy Hall, Ed.M., head
of school at Emma Willard School in Troy, N.Y., was one of four graduates honored by St. Lawrence University with the Alumni Citation, awarded during reunion weekend.
Larry Stybel, Ed.D, has
been elected to the board of governors for the Institute for Career Coaching International. This is a global fellowship of career coaches selected for inclusion by professional peers. He is executive in residence at the Sawyer Business School at Suffolk University and president of the global career management firm Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire.
1981 Richard Schwab, Ed.M., is
the neighborhood team leader of Glendale Organizing For America Community Team in Ohio. Formerly, he was associate head of school and middle school head of Cincinnati Country Day School.
1982 Julie Lineberger, Ed.M.,
is owner of LineSync Architecture in Wilmington, Vt. In March, the firm was awarded a 2010 Public Space Award for its design of Wilmington’s River Bank Park. The park design was also awarded the 2009 Honor Award by AIA Vermont and the 2009 Green Mountain Award for Most Improved Public Space by the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation Downtown Program.
1987 Bill Haddad, Ed.M., con-
tinues as assistant branch chief at the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he has served since 2009. He continues in his role at the Applicant Screening Branch and also has assumed new responsibilities at the Defense Readiness Center preparing intelligence professionals for overseas assignments.
1989 Daniel Ryan, Ed.M., is
founder and head of The Children’s School in Berwyn, Ill. He is planning a national education conference with the Progressive Education Network in Chicago in November 2011.
Quality Control: Devon Tutak
ne thousand, six hundred eighty minutes . That is the average amount of time that children watch television each week according to Nielsen via
TV-Free America. Devon Tutak, Ed.M.’04, knows this is a lot. Still, COURTESY OF DEVON TUTAK
she thinks we need to stretch beyond the debate of how much, and begin concentrating more on what. “No one is going to convince enough children or their parents to turn off the television and computer,” says Tutak. “But you can provide them with quality content that provides a larger benefit than just entertainment.” Tutak was a public television devotee at a young age: “My earli-
‘Aha!’ moment when they learn something for the first time or
est memories of children’s television are mash-ups of Muppets
finally grasp a concept that seemed so fuzzy up until that mo-
and John Cleese [on Fawlty Towers],” she shares. She became
ment, are the best ones,” Tutak says, naming Sesame Street
further convinced of its value when she worked first as a teacher,
and The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! as examples of
then with the lobbying group, the Association of Public Television
programs that do this effectively.
Stations. “Those two experiences were very important because
Supporting the “best ones” is what Ready To Learn is about.
they made [it] clear to me that a) we need to be doing more to
The financial support, Tutak says, allow producers of public tele-
educate America’s children, and b) public television is uniquely
vision to create “more robust” programming with demonstrated
capable of supporting that issue.”
educational benefits. It also allows for more extensive audience
Now, as project manager at Ready To Learn, a five-year, U.S. Department of Education initiative running through September 2015, Tutak works with partners such as PBS, local public televi-
testing, market research, and product development that help the shows compete with commercial networks with larger budgets. Having previously worked at PBS, marketing such popular
sion stations, and the National Summer Learning Association to
shows as Super WHY!, Dinosaur Train, and The Cat in the Hat,
use public media to combat the effects of poverty on children’s
Tutak is enjoying coming at the material with broader goals in
math and literacy skills. Along with television programming, the
mind, thanks, in part, to her Ed School training.
initiative works on multimedia classroom tools, augmented reality games, and transmedia gaming suites. But in the cluttered children’s entertainment landscape, it’s difficult to catch — and keep — kids’ attention.
“This new job is a lot closer to my educational roots,” she says. “I���m not just focused on getting kids to watch our shows or go to our websites; I want to make sure that they’re learning and increasing their chances for success by doing so.”
“Producers [must] step up to the challenge. Shows that have a meaningful lesson, that connect with a child to give them the
— Marin Jorgensen
Respond to Stereotyping, Hostility, and Discrimination” in the 2009 book Muslim Voices in School: Narratives of Identity and Pluralism. The volume was the winner of the National Association for Multicultural Education 2010 book award.
Phillip Haynes, Ed.M.,
Sheldon Berman, Ed.M.,
Ed.D., has been named superintendent of Eugene School District 4J in Eugene, Ore.
Suzanne Scallion, C.A.S., was appointed superintendent of schools in Westfield, Mass.
1995 Julie Anne McNary,
Ed.M., was given the Conway Award for Excellence in Teaching Writing from Harvard Extension School.
Phyllis Gimbel Schnitman,
Ed.M., is associate professor of educational leadership at Bridgewater State University (Mass.), where she is also assistant coordinator of the Writing Across the Curriculum approach. She recently won the DiNardo Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.
1996 Mona Abo-Zena, Ed.M., coauthored — with Christina Tobias Nahi, Ed.M.’03 — the
chapter “Testing the Courage of their Convictions: Muslim Youth
Nita Sturiale, Ed.M.,
was recently promoted to full professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design where she teaches in the Studio for Interrelated Media.
Christine “CeCe” Camacho,
Ed.M., is vice president of Sustainable Health Enterprises. The organization is a finalist for the INDEX: Award 2011, the world’s largest monetary prize for design. recently opened Crimson Academy in Rwanda, a school serving about 180 children. (See profile page 37.)
Lynda Blair Vernalia,
Ed.M., has been cast in a leading role of “Mother” for
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
alumni news and notes
an August production of the Boston-originated Monsters! the Musical. An actress, amateur playwright, and published poet, Vernalia is also an acting coach at the Academy of Performing Arts New England in Chelmsford, Mass.
Matt Walker, Ed.M.,
COURTESY OF ALEXANDER DIPPOLD
joined Denver’s oldest law firm, Sherman & Howard, as an associate in the ERISA and Employee Benefits Practice.
Joshua Starr, Ed.M.’98,
Ed.D., has been named superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. He was previously superintendent in Stamford, Conn.
Alexander Dippold’s son Edward
2002 Alexander Dippold,
Ed.M., and his wife, Jean, welcomed baby Edward Emmett Dippold on July 14, 2011. He says that Genevieve is adjusting to her new status as a big sister.
2002 Denise Tioseco’s son Westley
Ed.M., is director of strategic planning at Happy Kids Pediatrics in Arizona. He was quoted recently in The Arizona Republic voicing his opposition to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s proposed budget cuts for the poorest populations.
Ed.M.’96, Ed.D., is a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s education transition team and director of the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago. He was the recipient of the 2011 Alumni Council Award at the Ed School’s convocation in May.
2005 Kate Barry, Becca Schendel, Kelley Curtin, Susan Cohen Davidson, and Michelle Hoover, all 2005 graduates of the Higher Education Program, at Schendel’s wedding in Barre, Mass. STUDIO ATTICUS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Denise Tioseco, Ed.M.,
and her husband, Christian, announce the birth of their son,
Westley Tioseco Roehl. He was born March 9, 2011, at 5:34 p.m., weighing 7 lbs.11 oz., and measuring 20 inches in length. Westley was named after the island where Denise and Christian got married, Key West. She says his initials, WTR, are perfect for a Pisces baby.
2003 George Alan Smith,
Ed.M.’98, Ed.D., was named chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Previously, he worked for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education within the Office of the Mayor for the District of Columbia.
Ed.M., has joined the Joint Council on International Children’s Services as their director of orphan nutrition. With Mona Abo-Zena, Ed.M.’96, she coauthored the chapter “Testing the Courage of their Convictions: Muslim Youth Respond to Stereotyping, Hostility, and Discrimination” in the 2009 book Muslim Voices in School: Narratives of Identity and Pluralism. The volume was the winner of the National Association for Multicultural Education 2010 book award.
2005 Susana Claro, Ed.M.,
cofounded Enseña Chile — the Chilean version of Teach For America and the first South American organization to be a part of the Teach For All network — and worked as the advisor of the ministry of education. Although Claro recently left Chile with her husband, she remains a member of the board of Enseña Chile and is thinking of pursuing a Ph.D. at Stanford in the fall.
is essentially verbal, and you have to build a solid relationship with local leaders to get everything done.” It is Haynes’ hope that, by providing stable education to the children in Rwanda, he will be helping the country as a whole. “Within East Africa, there are minority groups within
Haynes (baseball hat) demonstrates to teachers how to use one of the new computers at Crimson Academy in Rwanda
COURTESY OF PHILLIP HAYNES
the broader country population that are in dire need and distress. The chance for upward mobility is nonexistent,” he says. “The local governments understand the needs but lack the resources to service these groups. My goal is to educate children and give them greater opportunities to provide for their families and lead the country.” Unfortunately, there has been some resistance to Haynes’
Into Africa: Phillip Haynes
plans, primarily from the older generations who question the necessity of a formal education. The school is often competing
hillip Haynes, Ed.M.’99, had no direct connection to Africa.
with families, he says, who feel children’s time is better devoted
But, in 2009, he was persuaded by Mark Maynard from
to labor than to education.
the How Far Foundation to go on a mission trip to Rwanda,
where, unexpectedly, he discovered the next step in his career. “When I arrived I was very surprised,” he says. “[People were]
Despite the challenges — including a six-month building schedule that turned into two years — Crimson Academy of Gihara, Rwanda, opened in January 2011, welcoming 180 students. The
begging for education. [Seeing that,] I resolved within myself that
English-language instruction is led by a local faculty and staff,
I could provide educational opportunities to Rwandans by build-
with Haynes making frequent visits.
Since its opening, Haynes has noticed that a shift in mindset
Having successfully established two schools in the United
among the community has begun, with more parents now choos-
States — Crayon Academy and Crimson Academy, both in Geor-
ing education for their children. Even one of the local leaders —
gia — Haynes knew how to build a school from the ground up. He
who, when the school was initially being built, told Haynes that he
completed a grant plan, schedule, and budget, but it soon became
had never been to school and was fine — had a change of heart.
evident that things could not be done in Rwanda as they are done in the United States.
“When the school was completed and his child attended the school for two weeks,” Haynes says, “the same local leader
“I quickly realized that I could not ask the local Rwandans to
returned and said, ‘I will sell everything I have to make sure
adapt to a modern project planning methodology, nor hold them
he can attend the school. He is learning things I could never
to comply [to one],” he says. “There is a phrase that comes to
mind, ‘This is Africa.’ I had to conform my temperament and expectations to the way they get things done. … Every agreement
— Marin Jorgensen
Camsie Matis McAdams,
living and working in Kigali, Rwanda, since 2008, where she was the director of programs at Generation Rwanda. The couple now resides in London, where she is working toward her Ph.D.
Ed.M., was named director of STEM initiatives for the District of Columbia Public Schools. She will be responsible for shaping the vision and strategy around STEM education for the K–12 system. She writes, “I would welcome any advice, reading suggestions, professional contacts, or words of wisdom as I begin this exciting new position!”
Ed.M.’99, Ed.M.’01, Ed.D., was selected as a faculty fellow
by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education for 2011. He was one of seven faculty fellows selected this year to participate in the association’s annual conference in San Antonio last March.
Rebecca Schendel, Ed.M.,
married Andrew Koleros on September 18, 2010, in Barre, Mass. Other 2005 Ed School alums at the wedding were Kate Barry, Susan Cohen Davidson, Michelle Hoover, and Kelley Curtin. The couple has been
2006 Jim Larson, Ed.M., has been
appointed Indiana’s new director of school turnaround and improvement.
2007 Ethan Gray, Ed.M., was
named to Splashlife.com’s list of 30 Under 30: Innovative Educators, due to his work with Indianapolis’ The Mind Trust and its Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEETrust) initiative.
Ed.M., recently launched Advantage Development (advantagedevelopment.webs.com), an educational consulting firm specializing in guiding parents
HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
alumni news and notes
If You Build It: Rena Upitis
hen Rena Upitis, Ed.D.’85, asks adults about their passions, it is rare that they had developed these passions at school. One reason, she believes: The
design of school buildings often lacks the physical spaces that encourage that kind of learning. Though Upitis’ areas of research have spanned computer technology, math, music, and the arts, this former dean of education, and current professor of arts education at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, is now focused on the power of school architecture. Author of the 2010 book, Raising a School: Foundations of School Architecture, Upitis explores school architecture and how the physical environment can either enable or constrain learning. “I realized that a lot of teachers want to do more work in the COURTESY OF RENA UPITIS
arts and recognize the importance of the arts, but don’t have the physical capabilities, meaning the schools don’t encourage that type of work in the spaces,” she says. A teacher might want to offer dance, for example, but does not have the space to do so. Intrigued by the notion of architecture and the role it plays in education — a more active one than most would think — Upitis earned a diploma in architecture technology five years ago. She
says. “Kids want comfortable furniture, light, air, and to hear a
is a believer in the Reggio Emilia Approach, which suggests that
bird outside the window.”
the physical surroundings in which students are taught are piv-
In a day when a lot of schools are both renovating and being
otal to their learning. It’s important, Upitis says, to pay attention
built, Upitis thinks it is an ideal time to reconsider the schools of
to the look and feel of a building because it sends messages to
today and beyond.
its inhabitants. “We go into some buildings and they tell us the world is wel-
“If we take seriously the notion that school buildings present students with powerful messages about what society values,
coming, whereas others tell us it is stiff and constrained,” she
then school architecture needs to be radically rethought,” she
says. Historically, Upitis believes, schools haven’t been designed
says. “For a century and a half, we have built schools that lack
to enhance education.
adequate light, good furniture, inviting entryways, and green
“If school architecture is a typical box classroom with few
spaces. This is the time to do it.”
windows and narrow hallways in soundproof walls [with] hideous aesthetics, then we tell children that school is a container,” she
— Jill Anderson
HGSE Alumni Council, 2011–2012 David A. Greene, Ed.M.’91, Ed.M.’94, Ed.D.’02, Chair
Tanya Odom, Ed.M.’98
Jiraorn Assarat, Ed.M.’04
*Judith Pace, C.A.S.’90, Ed.M.’95, Ed.D.’98
Marilyn Barber, Ed.M.’83
Christine Pina, Ed.M.’99
Barbara Brown, Ed.D.’90
*Karl Reid, Ed.D.’07
Tara Brown, Ed.M.’01, Ed.D.’05
Sam Robinson, Ed.M.’88
Anthony Cipollone, Ed.D.’90
*Samona Joe Tait, Ed.M.’96, Ed.D.’00
*John Jackson, Ed.M.’98, Ed.D.’01
*Emiliana Vegas, Ed.M.’96, Ed.D.’01
*Mieko Kamii, Ed.M.’73, Ed.D.’82
Douglas Wood, Ed.M.’96, Ed.D.’00
Ellie Loughlin, Ed.M.’06, C.A.S.’07 Will Makris, Ed.M.’00 Rebecca Mannis, Ed.M.’85
• FALL 2011
* denotes a new council member
HGSE Alumni Events through the first five years of their children’s lives, with a particular focus on parenting consultations and school admissions guidance in New York City.
2008 Matt Brenner,
Ed.M., has written the essay “The Four Pillars Upon Which the Failure of Math Education Rests (and what to do about it).” It can be read at www.k12math.org/ doclib/4pillars.pdf.
Ed.M.’02, Ed.D., was named interim superintendent of Seattle public schools. Previously, she was the district’s chief academic officer.
2010 Rhonda Baylor,
Ed.M., works in Washington, D.C. as an education research analyst for the U.S. Department of Education. In the fall, she will teach two classes at the Community College of the District of Columbia.
Ed.M., is engaged to Christopher Cole. She is currently a second grade teacher at the Mastery Charter Program’s Mann Elementary School in West Philadelphia, Pa.
Recent Alumni Circle at Charles River Cleanup, April 2011 Alumni event in Nashville, Tenn., hosted by Daniel and Jessica Viner, Ed.M.’97, and alumni council member Christine Pina, Ed.M.’99, February 2011
Martyna Sarnowska, Ed.M., works at the education center in the Royal Baths Museum in Warsaw. She is the editor of a museum education blog: www. edukacjamuzealnaeng. blogspot.com.
In Memory James Goodwin, GSE’33
Edwin Lyle, C.A.S.’54
Thavisakdi Srimuang, Ed.M.’65
Ruth Frankel Smullin, GSE’37
Marianne Ockerbloom, M.A.T.’57
Joseph Franklin McBrine, C.A.S.’67
Rose Depoyan, Ed.M.’38
Adele Alper, Ed.M.’58
Rodney Mansfield, C.A.S.’68
William Stimson, M.A.T.’39
Martin Reno, Ed.M.’58
Herbert Ryan Adams, Ed.D.’72
George Filion, M.A.T.’40
Theodore Mayo Atkinson Jr., Ed.M.’59
Roberta Maras, M.A.T.’73
Gardner Williams, GSE’41
John Moran, M.A.T.’59
Margaret Logan, C.A.S.’77
Anna Pavlatos Leontis, M.A.T.’44
William Stuart, M.A.T.’47, Ed.D.’59
Chandler Parker, C.A.S.’77
Philip Sweeney, GSE’46
Boit Brannen, Ed.M.’44, Ed.D.’60
Jackson Felsman, Ed.M.’75, Ed.D.’82
William Hubbard, M.A.T.’47
Francis Gilmour, Ed.M.’60
Gail Johnson, Ed.M.’82
Robert Reynolds Rathbone, M.A.T.’47
Marcia Harper, GSE’61
Frances Ruff, Ed.M.’79, Ed.D.’89
Trevor Robinson, M.A.T.’51
Paul Edward Kelly, Ed.D.’61
Landon Tracy Archer Summers, Ed.M.’83,
John Clougherty, M.A.T.’53
John Anthony Mierzwa, Ed.M.’58, Ed.D.’61
Harold Finegold, M.A.T.’53
William Cone, Ed.D.’62
Nelson Treece, Ed.D.’91
W. Ray Rucker, Ed.D.’53
Rhoda Spangenberg Lederer, M.A.T.’62
Kevin Charles Marshall, Ed.M.’09
William Gardner Blount, C.A.S.’54
Malcolm Marshall, Ed.M.’62
Laura Rose Kavazanjian, Ed.M.’10
Bernard Stanley Cayne, Ed.M.’54
Hamish MacEwan, Ed.M.’63
No Dragons Behind the Moat
• FALL 2011
fifth- and sixth-graders from Cambridge as they took classes. “New and stimulating,” wrote one architect in The Boston Globe. “Active, ingenious,” wrote the authors of Harvard: An Architectural History. In 1967, the building won an award from the Texas Society of Architects. But there was also criticism of Philthe and P.J. building’s quirkiness. Windows were few and far between, in part because the architects wanted to draw the eye to a small number of stunning views. Which they did — at the expense of natural light (very little) and windowless offices (very many). Interestingly, more windows were added on the street side after the Harvard Corporation threatened in 1963 to veto the original design. Interior space also became an issue. One of the design intentions was to make the space as flexible as possible by placing all of the immovable building parts — ventilation shafts and stairs, for example — along the outer walls, leaving center areas open and allowing inner walls to be moved as needs changed. But, as James Ackerman, then-chair of Harvard’s Fine Arts Department, wrote in 1965 in Connections, spaces were eventually subdivided using fixed materials. Part of the problem, he wrote, was the committee approach to building a building. “Without an autocrat,” Ackerman wrote, “everyone gets more or less what he wants, and that makes chaos.” It seems that Caudill had a sense of humor about the criticism, saying at the dedication ceremony in 1966, “The new structure may have a strange form, but it will wear a familiar Harvard tweed.” And finally, “What’s wrong with castles?” DAVID HUNSBERGER
If you’re new to the Ed School, by now you’ve seen the unusual brick tower at the end of Appian Way called Larsen Hall and wondered what it’s supposed to be. (Even if you’re not new, you’re still probably wondering.) Since the building first opened in 1965, it’s been called everything from a concrete bunker to a genial robot, an IBM card in 3-D to a medieval castle. It’s been likened to the Ronchamp Chapel in France and to the Whitney Museum in New York. It’s clear from articles written about the building and comments from those involved in the planning that the Houston-based architects, Caudill, Rowlett, and Scott, weren’t necessarily trying to create a type of building — a castle or a card — but were trying to build something interesting while also being attentive to lots of needs: a city council concerned with historic preservation, faculty and programs with varied requirements, and very limited space. In a letter written to Roy Larsen in 1964 after learning that the building would be named for Larsen, the lead architect, William Caudill, wrote, “You might like to know that one of the main design premises of the building was to make it as flexible as a glass Manhattan office building, still have the feeling of permanency that will allow it to ‘dwell together in unity’ with other Harvard buildings, yet retain its individuality. Now if it does these things — and I think the building will — we must have anticipated that it would be called Roy Larsen Hall. Like the man, the building should be dynamic, should have a timeless quality, and should be a distinctive and distinguished individual. If not, fire the architects — after the dedication.” The architects weren’t fired, and the building received many accolades over the years, particularly for some of the unusual features, such as a glass-filled sunken courtyard built with one-way mirrors that allowed researchers to observe
— Lory Hough
(L to R) Beth Schueler, Lisa Utzinger, Janine de Novais, and Liz Hale Rozas
Giving 100 Percent
hat began last spring with a simple question over
be a cohort effort,” says de Novais. “A few people weren’t sure at
lunch with Dean Kathleen McCartney became the
first, but we emphasized this as a chance to show appreciation for
inspiration for a major fundraising effort by a group
what we were receiving and that got everyone on board.”
of first-year Ed.D. students. “We were speaking about all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making this [Ed School] experience possible for doctoral students and the challenges of fundraising for research-oriented degree programs,” explains Ed.D. Candidate Beth Schueler. “So we asked if there was anything we could do to help.” McCartney told them that if every student and graduate of the school contributed $25 each year, the school would meet its annual fund goals. So, with that bit of information — and a
(Hale Rozas suspects that her promise to host a dinner party for the cohort if everyone contributed probably also helped.) Within a matter of weeks, all of the first-year Ed.D. students had made gifts. “I think it’s a testament to our cohort’s willingness to support each other’s initiatives, whether it is the giving challenge, the Student Research Conference, or our independent research projects,” Utzinger says. Having found success with their cohort challenge, the four
shared gratitude for their own doctoral funding — Schueler and
students decided to reach out to a much larger group — Ed.D.
classmates Janine de Novais, Liz Hale Rozas, and Lisa Utzinger,
alumni. Working with the Development & Alumni Relations
Ed.M.’10, began to brainstorm.
Office, they crafted a letter encouraging alumni to join them in
Although among the group only Utzinger had any prior fundraising experience, they decided to issue a “cohort challenge” to
supporting the program now and into the future. Going forward, the foursome aims to achieve 100 percent
their Ed.D. peers with the goal of convincing every member of the
participation during each year of their time at the Ed School and
first-year cohort — 32 in total — to contribute to the HGSE Fund,
hopes to inspire future Ed.D. cohorts to do the same.
which seeks to raise resources for many areas of the Ed School
“My hope is that future cohorts, by our example, will see giving
including financial aid, Gutman Library, and faculty and student
as a something they do as part of the HGSE community,” says Ut-
support services. Immediately, their classmates were intrigued.
zinger. “And something they do together rather than individually.”
“The challenge to get 100 percent participation was met with enthusiasm, largely because it was a homegrown idea and it would
— Mark Robertson, Ed.M.’08 HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Harvard Graduate School of Education Office of Communications 44R Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138
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Clockwise from top left: We know it’s a bit fuzzy, but smart dog Azit, owned by Abraham Shimoni, Ed.M.’79, is too cute not to publish. Douglas Channell, Ed.M.’95, on his mule-wagon pulled by Rose.
COURTESY OF DOUGLAS CHANNELL
Trust your instincts — animal or not — and email us a picture of yourself (or someone in your family) reading Ed. and you may find yourself on the back cover, too.