Positive Social Change Through Education: Views From Inside an Elementary School

Families, school employees, students, and anyone else interested in social justice in our schools are encouraged to join this class. The class will take place at Jackson Street School. We will examine real-life classrooms and other spaces, curriculum, student work, and the complicated situations and power dynamics that play out through a variety of stories. We will learn and practice a model for unpacking these stories. This tool will help us design both immediate responses to aggression and long-term strategies to make lasting change. Our discussions will focus on our own cultural identities and institutional practices while pushing back on the way people often hide privilege and oppression by trying to keep the focus on individual character traits. Our goal is to build capacity, connection, and community in the fight to make our schools places of empowerment and restorative justice.

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Trainers: Tom Chang has been an elementary school teacher for over ten years. He hopes to make schools a more just place for everyone and a force for change in our communities; and Gwen Agna who was the principal of Jackson Street School for over 20 years, and retired as of summer 2020. Throughout her career, Gwen has been committed to providing a child-centered, equitable, and empowering education for all.

School, Kids, Meals, and Justice: What You Can Do to Create Positive Change Within the System

In this class, participants will discuss the meals offered to children in schools and how to create positive change within the system. We will work together to identify key opportunities and stakeholders within schools and discuss the challenges of moving programs forward. Class participants will learn how to push back against recently proposed changes to school nutrition regulations – the Trump administration’s so-called “roll backs.” Parents, educators, and concerned community members will engage in meaningful discussion about teaching through the lens of school meals as crucial resources for children, especially those who are low income and/or experiencing food insecurity.

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Trainers:  Kali Ransom previously served two years as a FoodCorps Service Member for the Springfield Public Schools district. In this role she connected students to healthy food and hands-on learning opportunities in classrooms, cafeterias, and gardens.  She currently works as the interim FoodCorps Site Supervisor for the Springfield Public Schools District, where she supports the district in achieving their goals of increasing the quality of school meals and providing food education to students. Kali holds a BA from Hampshire College in Cultural and Education Studies. Sam Icklan is the Director of Chefs in Schools at Project Bread, a Massachusetts-based anti-hunger non-profit. Sam works with school districts across the Commonwealth providing culinary training, support, guidance and technical assistance to school food service professionals to transform the landscape of school food. Sam holds an MS in Food Systems and a professional certificate in Sustainable Food Systems Leadership from the University of Vermont.