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Archives: Press

Tellin Stores, Finding Common Ground

Published on Apr 5, 2009 by Rethinking Schools

In October 1999,  a small group of African American and Latino parents gathered at Washington D.C.’s Bruce-Monroe Elementary School to begin a workshop series facilitated by Teaching for Change’s parent empowerment project Tellin’ Stories. During the first workshop, the organizers placed a “story fortune” bag in the middle of the room. The bag was filled with evocative storytelling prompts, such as “My first day of school,” “A time my Mom/Dad made me proud,” and “A time I felt I had no voice.” As the parents chose prompts and shared stories, they began to build bonds of empathy. During the next few weeks, they shared stories and participated in other trust-building activities through which they talked about their challenges, their children, and positive and negative experiences with the school. (Download PDF)

Rethinking History’s Heroes: Parkland teacher says heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary things

Published on May 4, 2005 by The Gazette

Activist-educator Alana Murray’s world studies students are rethinking history’s heroes and how they achieved great things. “If you start with the premise that kids interact everyday with people who are doing pretty extraordinary things, then it gives them a sense of empowerment,” said Murray, a teacher at Parkland Middle School in Aspen Hill. That idea is nothing new to Murray, who comes from a family active in the civil rights movement for generations. Growing up with examples like her paternal grandfather, Donald Gaines Murray, the first African American to attend the University of Maryland School of Law, she says heroes are not born extraordinary, but are ordinary people who learn to do great things as they confront problems. (Download PDF)

Parents at DC Elementary Scool Demand Classrooms with Walls

Published on Jul 5, 2004 by

For three years, parents at Bruce-Monroe Elementary School in the District of Columbia have been demanding facility improvements. First and foremost on the list are walls. Walls? Yup. Bruce Monroe is one of 23 schools in Washington, DC that does not have walls separating classrooms. The building was remodeled decades ago, as part of an experiment in “open floor plans.” School systems across the country tried such plans during the 1960s and 1970s, hoping that taking down the walls between grades and classrooms would encourage students and teachers to collaborate and work across age and subject groupings. (Download PDF)

Parents protest state of Bruce Monroe classrooms

Published on Jun 1, 2004 by DC North

A diverse group of parents and children marched in the quickly heating sun to urge the construction of walls in the school’s open-space classrooms on the morning of May 25 in front of Bruce-Monroe Elementary School at 3012 Georgia Avenue NW. “DCPS, are you teaching our kids to lie?” one mother shouted into a megaphone. “No more lies, we want action,” another called, with mimicking cries echoing from the crowd. Beginning in April 2001, Parents and Friends of Bruce-Monroe began a campaign writing petitions, making phone calls, sending e-mails and visiting the superintendent’s office to insist walls be constructed to enclose the open-space classrooms the school has on its second floor. (Download PDF)

Residents Find Common Interest in Children: Nonprofit Group Helps Black, Hispanic Parents Reach Out Each Other, Educators in NW

Published on Nov 5, 2003 by The Washington Post

Chiquita White and Ana Urrutia are two women who, if not for their children—students at Brightwood Elementary School in Northwest Washington—would likely never have met. And even if they had, the chance that they would have developed a friendship was slim. But here they were, one gray, overcast morning last week, walking side by side, leading a group on a tour of the Brightwood neighborhood, which straddles the upper reaches of 14th Street and Georgia Avenue NW. (Download PDF)

D.C. Project Puts Parents in Classrooms: Building Bridges with Books

Published on Apr 5, 1993 by Rethinking Schools

They are urban education’s silent partners: parents with a direct stake in the quality of urban public schools but whom, for a variety of reasons, the schools have been unable to involve in school activities. Yet in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, a small group of such silent partners has gotten involved. For the past six months, they have spent their Saturday afternoons writing about their lives and sharing the stories as part of a writing workshop. As a result of the project the parents, who are predominantly African-American and Latinos, are learning about each other and are helping to write a new chapter on family involvement programs. (Download PDF)