Saturday, July 29, 2017

I Thought About Posting Me Spread Out With X's In My Eyes, but...

There's only one more, two-day teacher institute scheduled for later in August. Yesterday, however, we culminated two weeks of Ubuntu Academy, the literacy lab for immigrant and refugee youth. Attendance was up this year with 23-27 kids attending daily, but the success of the program was amplified by 100. The karma of the kids was stupendous and the friendliness was out of this world.

Ubuntu, coupled with the teacher institute for College Ready Writers Program, was much of the focus, but so was Project Citizen: Flying lessons from the Prose.

We've run the program as a weeklong session in year's past, but National Writing Project support, we extended an additional week, doubled enrollment, and hired an even more dynamic teacher force (if that was possible). In total, 26 kids from a wide variety of backgrounds cowrote, wrote independently. and proactively discovered their voices. The teachers, upon leaving yesterday afternoon, said "this was was amazing. The work of the last two weeks will be on my mind for many years to come." Kids agreed. I've already received emails from several stating, "Dr. Crandall, this was the best experience in my life. How can I keep doing work with CWP-Fairfield? I don't want to lose touch with these amazing teachers and kids?"

I feel, however, like I'm under a pile of rocks, just seeing that there's oxygen out there and room to think. All of us are overwhelmed by the amount of greatness that resulted these past two weeks.

I will be posting a collaborative piece produced by Ubuntu youth and Project Citizen that summarizes everything magical about our programs, butI will not do this for a while (stay tuned). During presentations yesterday I got overwhelmed with emotion not once, not twice, but at least 12 times. It was truly amazing to see what the teachers and kids accomplished in such a short period of time. The rest of 2017-2018 is to analyze this.

My desk is covered. There is no room in my office. Paper is everywhere and digital spaces are loaded with the work they created. I have food, gym equipment, books, bags, and copies of readings everywhere. It's too much to process, so I'm going to let it go for a week or so (when I drive the boys back to Cuse).

I am, though, 100% happy with the success of the programs. We receive so few complaints, and although they are substantial, they do not represent the other feedback we get. Yes, I was on campus until 7 p.m. in search of a book bag lost by an Ubuntu kid that morning, working with security to see where it might, but I have to say it was all worth it. Two hours sleep due to John Legend? Well, that was my fault.

And we found the book bag after quite the collaborative search.

I feel somewhat buried alive, but the photos above and all the greatness that isn't captured here just yt makes it all worthwhile.

"Dr. Crandall," one writes. "How do you make this experience last forever?"

Ah, it looks like I have a new challenge to tackle ahead!

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