The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently included a statement by Sam Graves ’16 in an article covering a large donation to the PACER Center, which specializes in creating technology designed for children and young adults with special needs. The $1 million donation was given by the Otto Bremer Trust.
Graves, a recent Augsburg College graduate who lives with cerebral palsy, credits the Center’s library of software and adaptive devices as part of his educational success. “Without technology, I wouldn’t be able to be independent,” he said.
Graves graduated with honors April 30 and was awarded the first-ever Youth Leadership Award by the Otto Bremer Trust later that evening.
Read PACER Center awarded $1 million by Otto Bremer Trust on the Star Tribune site.
St. Paul-area newspaper Lillie News recently profiled Koua Yang ’99, a social studies teacher and tennis coach at Harding High School. Yang was one of 11 finalists for the 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award.
Yang was assigned to Harding High School as a student teacher in 1999 while he was an education major at Augsburg College. He was so loved by his students that they petitioned the school’s principal and asked him to hire Yang. The principle told Yang that a job would be waiting for him the following school year.
Yang’s family immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 when he was 4 years old.
“I know what it was like to struggle as a student. I knew what it was like to not be proficient in a language — a foreign language,” Yang said. “Sharing that path, that navigation piece is absolutely crucial. It also gives them hope. Because then they realize, ‘Hey somebody went through it, too; somebody like me went through it and they were pretty successful at it. I can do it, too.'”
Read ‘I’m not afraid to be vulnerable’ on the Lillie News site.
Harry Boyte, senior fellow at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently published an article for Education Week about democracy in education. The article is part of a conversational series between Boyte and Deborah Meier, senior scholar at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.
Boyte argues that we should view democracy as “an empowering way of life,” and not merely a decision-making process. “We need to combine the ‘head,’ which makes decisions, the ‘heart,’ moral imagination and emotion, and the ‘hand,’ civic muscles that power action in the world,” he writes.
In regards to education, Boyte offers an antidote to a culture that separates the hard sciences, the arts and the professional or vocational fields, parallels to the “head”, “heart” and “hand” metaphor. He argues in favor of Cooperative Education, “a method that combines academic study and classroom learning with practical work experience for which students can receive academic credit.”
Read the article, which also was published on the Huffington Post Education site.
The Minnesota Daily recently covered the Cedar Riverside Community Traveling Basketball program, which provides coaching, practice, and competition for six teams of local boys and girls ranging from sixth to 10th grade.
The program was founded by Augsburg College alumna Jennifer Weber ’11, who recognized a need for such programs. “The kids here in the neighborhood need more quality programming,” she said. “The kids want it. They go to open gym all the time.”
Another need Weber recognized dealt with a lack of functional athletic attire that was culturally acceptable for the many Muslim girls in the program.
Luckily, design students from the University of Minnesota had already been working to solve that problem. Working with the players and other partners, the students designed uniforms with adjustable hijabs, knee-length skirts and breathable leggings. A grant from the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station provided funding to donate the completed uniforms to the program.
The article concludes with a statement from coach and co-founder Muna Mohamed ’16, an exercise science senior at Augsburg who grew up in the neighborhood.
“These girls are getting an opportunity to have culturally appropriate clothing, at the same time … [as] enjoying sports,” she said. “They don’t have to worry about fixing their scarves. They don’t have to worry about ‘How can I play basketball and also respect my culture?'”
The Pioneer Press reports that St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has appointed Erik Skold, leader of the North Star Worker Fellowship at the Minnesota Department of Education and the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, as director of Sprockets, the city’s network of after-school programs.
Skold has been serving as the program’s interim director since the departure of previous director. Skold holds a master’s degree in youth development leadership from the University of Minnesota.
Read St. Paul’s Sprockets program gets new director on the Pioneer Press site.
KARE 11 news recently aired a segment covering “Makers: Small to Big,” a series of workshops sponsored by the Augsburg College physics department. The workshops are open to the public but are designed to help educators incorporate hands-on physics and computer programming projects into their classroom activities.
The segment featured a coding workshop led by Nora Helf, a Master of Arts in Education student, who saw teachers using software to coordinate blinking LED lights. Helf was assisted by 10-year-old programmer Jack Tavakley who demonstrated some of the projects he has made.
Watch and read Teachers learn new technology to inspire students on the KARE 11 website.
As part of an ongoing conversation about democracy in education, Harry Boyte, senior scholar in public work philosophy for Augsburg’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently contributed an article to Education Week in which he argued in favor of free spaces–“places where people find it easy and enjoyable to swap stories, plan adventures, and discuss and argue politics.”
In the article, Boyte draws on his experiences with Sabo Center colleague Dennis Donovan, national organizer for Public Achievement, to articulate the importance of providing places for challenging yet compassionate dialog.
Read: Free Spaces in Democracy Schools on the Education Weekly site.
ABC affiliate KSTP recently aired an interview with Joseph Erickson, professor of education at Augsburg College, about the Minneapolis School Board decision to replace Sergio Paez, their first choice for Minneapolis Public School’s vacant superintendent position. Erickson served on the board from 2002 to 2006 and was its chair for two of those years. During this period, the school board hired two superintendents.
“This is their job. Hiring the superintendent and setting policy is their job,” Erickson said. “They should take it very seriously.”
He also pointed out that the current board is in a rare situation: interim superintendent Michael Goar is still available should the board decide to offer him the position. Usually, a district’s second and third choices have moved on to other positions at this point in the process.
Video and text versions of the interview are available on the KSTP website, “Minneapolis Public Schools Still Searching for Permanent Superintendent.”
Audrey Lensmire, director of Augsburg College’s East African Student to Teacher (EAST) program, and program participant Salah Ali ’17 were interviewed by MinnPost for a report on Minnesota’s growing number of Somali-Americans working toward careers in education. The article notes that the number of Somalis resettling in the state has more than tripled in recent years, which has caused an influx of Somali students and created a need for teachers, counselors, and socials workers with a deep understanding of Somali culture.
The EAST program is funded by the state’s Collaborative Urban Educator program and seeks to graduate and license K-12 teachers of East African origin. In the article, Lensmire is quoted as saying, “Typically, becoming a professional teacher has been available only to people who have money and the means to get the license.” The EAST program offers financial assistance by providing students with full tuition scholarships as they seek licensure.
Augsburg’s program is one of several made possible by the CUE program. In the article, Ali notes that he knows many Somali students in similar programs at Hamline University and the University of Minnesota. “A lot of us are in the education field right now. Many are doing social studies and ESL programs and counseling licenses,” he said.
Read: More young Somali-Americans are choosing careers in education on the MinnPost site.
In his most recent article for the Huffington Post, Harry Boyte, senior scholar in Augsburg College’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, argues in favor of a relationship-based model for engaging students in democratic society.
Boyte refers to the “organizing” versus “mobilizing” model pioneered by civil rights leaders such as Ella Baker and Bob Moses. In this view of activism, mobilizing is goal-driven and short-lived, while organizing is relationship-driven and sustains engagement over time. Boyte draws a parallel between these different types of activism and educational approaches that focus either on outcomes–such as test scores–or personal growth and agency.
Read: Education as a New Frontier of Democracy at the Huffington Post.