Institute of Urban Education: Building Strong Schools & Communities

>>I would like to introduce
our keynote speakers. They’ve been waiting so patiently. Maureen, Katelyn, Demetrius on the end. Then Maureen, then Katelyn, then Juan. They were highly recommended to me by Carl
Brand, who was on the IUE advisory council. And I was talking to him
and IUE advisory council. Saying, I really want someone who
can really make that connection. Between the importance of partnerships
with the classroom, and schools. And the community and the university. And this team, they do that. They’re going to talk to you today about
a program that they were involved in. Grow Your Own program. Where they worked with teachers. And helping teachers, student-teachers
and producing teachers. And so they’re going to share
with us their work. And they’re going to be interactive. And they said it’s okay, if
you have questions for them. As they talk to you about
their program and what they do. Please ask questions. I asked them to introduce themselves. And so, with further ado, you
guys are welcome to begin. And thank you for joining us today.>>Maureen Gillette: Thank you. [Inaudible] Is that working? No?>>No.>>Maureen Gillette: They
were working a minute ago. There. That one works. Okay, good morning.>>[In Unison] Good morning.>>Maureen Gillette: How’s everybody? I’m happy to be back in badger land. I’m a graduate of UW Madison. And I –>>Yay!>>Maureen Gillette: — Yay! And I see it got [inaudible]. Andy’s got a badger on his shirt. But I grew up in Chicago. Oh yeah.>>We’re Cougar.>>Maureen Gillette: Cougar.>>Cougar land.>>Panther land.>>I’m sorry. Panther land right here.>>Maureen Gillette: Oh, absolutely. Okay, I don’t know where that is, okay. Huh? Huh? Oh, here. Here. Oh, excellent. And I taught, in order not to have
to pay out-of-state graduate tuition. In Cross Plains and Winona. When I was here many years ago. So thrilled to be back. And we are excited to talk to you. When Tracy called me, I said, yeah,
I’ll be glad to talk about this. But I can’t do it without my partners. So unfortunately, most of you probably know
how bad the situation is in Illinois right now. In terms of funding education. Both Higher-Ed. and P-12. So our principal, Jimmy Lugo, the principal of Harriet
Beecher Stowe Elementary School. Could not be here. But he did — don’t look at it now. Put a great article in your packet
about hiring our Grow Your Own teachers. Which I will share with you. But we’re going to just take one
minute to introduce ourselves. I’m Maureen Gillette. For the past 11 years. I’ve been Dean of the College of Education at
Northeastern Illinois University, in Chicago. Which is the most diverse Master’s
comprehensive university in the Midwest. I’m going to let Juan go.>>Juan Luis Martinez: Good morning. [ Multiple Speakers ] It’s working.>>Maureen Gillette: Oh, okay.>>Juan Luis Martinez: Good morning. I’m very happy to be here. First and foremost, I would like to
thank Dean Gillette for the invitation. And also the hospitality here. I mean, UW Milwaukee is awesome. So thank you very much for having us. And yes, just pretty much what has been
an echo here throughout the whole day. Partners of [inaudible] communities,
schools, universities. Has provided me with the
opportunity to become a teacher. And not only am I a teacher. Which, I mean, it’s a very noble profession. But I happen to be able to be a teacher
in the community where I grew up on. And that is something that really,
really resonates with my students. And it’s not something that you
could readily identify in a book. And be like, oh, it’s this. It’s mainly something that I, until this
day of my fourth, fifth year in teaching. I still haven’t quite been
able to put my finger on it. It’s somewhat unfair to some
of my colleagues, to an extent. But not the last. It’s an awesome experience. And I hope to be able to share
my insight with all of you.>>Maureen Gillette: Is that one going to work?>>Katelyn Johnson: I’ll just wait and see. No. Oh, there you go. Patience. My name is Katelyn Johnson. I’m the Executive Director
of Action Now, in Chicago. We are a community-based organization that
works in low-income, Black communities. To organize the residents. To make a positive impact in their own lives. Through changing public policy and addressing
the issues that they’re affected by. Issues related to poverty. Issues related to the need for housing. And also issues related to education. I started off as a Grow Your Own
coordinator a very long time ago. And worked with Dr. Gillette since –>>Maureen Gillette: A long time.>>Katelyn Johnson: — A long time. And so I was able to be, to work with
candidates like Juan Luis and Demetrius. Who was an Action Now’s cohort. To really build the bridges
between the [inaudible]. And we’ll talk more about that later.>>Demetrius Davis: My name is Demetrius Davis. I am Director of Recruiting and
Family and Community Partnerships. At Catalyst Maria Charter School in Chicago. I’m also a co-pastor of a
millennial church, if you will. In the downtown neighborhood of Chicago. In addition to that, I’m a social activist. And all of these three areas of my
life kind of weave themselves together. Manifesting each of the three areas. I’m very passionate about education
as a means to social uplift. Because without that, one
does not have the tools to participate in the upper stratum of society. So I’m excited to be here. To have this opportunity to
talk about my GYO journey. And what it looks like to incorporate some
of our learnings into your respective spaces.>>Maureen Gillette: So my job is to start out. What is the Grow Your Own Teacher program? Oh, no. Oops. What is the Grow Your Own Teacher program? And how did we get started? So I had a program that was
a high school pipeline. When I was in Patterson, New Jersey. So I came to Illinois, really with a commitment. And I was a teacher up in east side
of Aurora, Illinois, where I grew up. A commitment to a community-based teachers. But I didn’t have a frame to put that in. So I came to Chicago. I moved back to Chicago, my home. And received what could be the
biggest professional gift of my life. And that’s the Grow Your Own teacher program. So Northeastern Illinois, over time, has grown
to partner with six community-based agencies. So Grow Your Own is a partnership
between the community-based agency. An institution of higher-ed. in a school district. And sometimes a community college. Not always. But how did this get started? So unfortunately, Lissette
Moreno could not be with us. She was supposed to be on the panel. She worked for Logan Square
Neighborhood Association. And got laid off because of the
budget situation in Illinois. So she actually has gone back
to the classroom as a teacher. And she had new teacher orientation today. So she couldn’t come. Logan Square Neighborhood Association. In the Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago. On the northwest side. Works — each community-based
agency works on issues. That bring together the important
things in their community. And they started working with immigrant
moms who were intimidated by school. And they put them in the
classroom as teacher aides. So the moms would — and some dads. Would be in the classroom Monday
through Thursday, half-day. Helping out the teacher. They wrote a workforce development
grant to pay them. And then on Friday, they would get training. And after about a year, some
of the moms are like. Well, why can’t we be teachers? And the organizers thought, yeah. Why can’t they be teachers? Who would be a better teacher than
someone who lives in the neighborhood? Is committed to the neighborhood. Understands the kids in the neighborhood. Because they are parents. And won’t leave the neighborhood
like some programs we know. That put teachers in [inaudible]
urban and rural poverty schools. So they began. They wrote a teacher quality partnership
grant with Chicago State University. And began to get these parents
into the classroom. With the idea that they would go back. And right now, out of that first
cohort of 22, 20 are still teaching. Four administrate in Chicago public schools. So — and they got going, the other
organizers, who all came out together. In Action Now. Southwest Organizing Project. Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization. Organization of the Northeast. These are all community-based
agencies in different parts of Chicago. That work on issues pertinent to their area. They said, well, we are really
upset about teacher turnover. Where I heard last night, I got to sit with
dinner with some of you great teachers. And I heard over and over
about how there’s shortages. There’s, you know, given
what’s going on in Wisconsin. And we know Illinois teachers are leaving. They’re choosing to go to other states. How do we get the teachers to stay, who
really understand those communities? So they said, well, we can do this. And here, you know, I can’t — I
could give — I could write a book. Maybe when I retire, I will. About what I’ve learned from
working with the organizers. So they got a law passed. You know, they don’t mess around. They just got a law passed,
the Grow Your Own Teacher Law. And when I arrived in Illinois. They were — the Grow Your Own
organization was going around. Forging partnerships between
community-based agencies and higher-ed. institutions and school districts. So we have the Bahomas [phonetic],
Chicago public schools. And we began working with
Katelyn’s organization. That was our first partner. All of those other organizations
were with another university. And so one of the things, when
we get to the why does this work? Why do these partnerships work? We’re going to talk about what happens
if you’re not committed to the vision. But we were able to recruit people
like Juan Luis and Demetrius. And so many others. I’ve been in their classroom. I’ve seen them teach. We are now in our 11th year. Of course, we’ve lost funding,
because there’s no budget in Illinois. But we’ll talk about that later. How do you sustain momentum without any money? But I never, ever in my life seen
teachers who connect so clearly to kids. Who understand the community they work in. And I always say, today’s kids, they don’t
care if there’s a stranger in the classroom. They’re going to goof off. You know, so my sitting in the back of Demetrius and Juan Luis’ classrooms really had
no effect on how the kids behaved. But our Grow Your Own teachers. I will just go out on a limb and say. Rarely do they have discipline problems. Because they know how to
build relationships with kids. And that’s where organizing —
the principles of good organizing. Come together with the principles
of good teaching. And so these teachers have
been raised up jointly. By the university and the
community-based organizations. Which Katelyn is going to talk about next. [ Inaudible Comment ]>>Katelyn Johnson: Yeah.>>Maureen Gillette: There we go.>>Katelyn Johnson: Four. There we go. So this slide really shows. So Action Now and other community organizations. You know, we believe in the power
of the people in our community. We believe that people, once engaged. Can be able to change the policies
that are affecting their lives. And make a difference. And so we’ve worked on building that
power and building that capacity. Around issues that they care about. So we work on everything from housing equity. The fight for fifteen, raising minimum wage. Parent mentorship. Fighting for an elected school board. Restorative justice. Immigration. Healthcare issues. And so these are all the issues that
the students in the classroom are — their families and themselves are facing. And so we started working with Grow Your Own,
kind of an extension of what you were saying. The Logan Square Model came
to one of our neighborhoods. And were like, hey, what do
you guys think about this? And it turns out we were having same
struggles with teacher turnover. A lot of our members who were
involved in our organization. Had tried everything to get teachers to stay. We created a teaching institute that,
like, literally took teachers in by hand. And introduced them to all
of their student’s family. We tried everything. And what we had heard time and again is. Oh, we’re just going to be here for two years. So, this is nice. Thanks. And then they leave. And so when we heard about the
Logan Square Model, we were like. What would that look like in a
neighborhood like North Lawndale? Where it’s predominantly Black. Where it’s extremely low-income. And it turns out, the model works there too. And so we were able to find — one of our first
candidates was actually a school secretary. And she was like, I’ve always
wanted to be a teacher. I’ve been, you know, seeing
how the classroom works. And I want the opportunity to
be able to try this myself. And, you know, we ended up having
— had a broad spectrum of people who had always had the desire to teach. But never had the opportunity. And these same people who
understood the communities. Because they’re from there. They live across the street from the school. They grew up, they went to
that school themselves. And, you know, part of the partnership
between a community-based organization. And the higher education institution is. We’re able to provide skills and
experiences that are complementary. Where we can take something that
we’re experiencing in the community. And directly connect it to
something that teachers are learning. And learning how to share in the classroom. We had — how many graduates did we have?>>Maureen Gillette: We have — from
Northeastern, we have 58 graduates now. Most of whom are teaching
in Chicago public schools.>>Katelyn Johnson: So, you know,
part of seeing this process going on. And kind of figuring out what works. What — how are we able to
— because we come from very. What initially, we thought
were different perspectives. You know. Community organizing is all about, you know,
building power and addressing public policy. And education has not always been about that. But we were able to work it out. Because we were — we built a
relationship and we had a shared commitment. To wanting to make sure that the kids in
the classroom reached their full potential. And we wanted to make sure that the teachers
are able to have the skills that they need. To be, you know, absolutely, academically sound. But also very rooted in the community. And understanding that students
that are in their classroom. Are going to have all of these issues going on. And understanding the root causes of that. So they can better address what’s
going on with the students.>>Maureen Gillette: So — is that working? Demetrius and Juan Luis are
going to tag-team a little. And talk about why, from their perspective,
as community members in the community. This is so important.>>Juan Luis Martinez: There is numerous
reasons why this is of a lot of importance. But as I mentioned earlier,
it’s hard to put a specific. And say it’s because one plus one equals two. And that’s the reason why it’s working. It goes farther than that. And the best way that I can do, is
I guess I can give you an example. Of maybe just an ordinary day in my classroom. And how me being part of the community,
being aware of what’s happening in it. Actually benefits, not — I
mean, the students, definitely. Always the students first. But me, as an educator, it makes
my job a lot more manageable. A lot easier, just by being aware of
what’s happening in the neighborhood.>>Maureen Gillette: You don’t have
to stay sitting if you don’t want to. You look like you’re uncomfortable. I know you.>>Juan Luis Martinez: No, I’ll sit back a bit.>>Katelyn Johnson: You can walk around.>>Juan Luis Martinez: Well, as I was getting
back to giving you a specific example. During, I think this past —
it was this last school year. It was the first week of school. In my community, there’s a lot of bungalows. As there is all over the Midwest. You know, just a simple, single-family
home, with a basement below. And a attic. Now, there had been a very, very
heavy rain all throughout the weekend. I’m talking about just downpours. I happen to know, because my parents live
about two blocks away from my school. And I live about six blocks away. As I’m driving through my car. I was noticing a lot of people
taking out all their furniture. Everything that was in the
basement, because it’s soaked. Now, I’m getting to my classroom. Like, once again, I’m going to tell you. It was the beginning of school. I’m trying to establish, you
know, my routines, my procedures. Trying to let them know that
there’s no such things as excuses. However, I noticed that my kids are
coming in, obviously not sleeping. I mean, they just look tired. I put two and two together. I’m like, oh, I’m assuming you guys, you
might have had water in your basement. Correct? Now, a lot of these
students lived in the basement. It’s not necessarily a legal unit, per se. But they happen to be living
in those situations. Instead of me coming down, and be like what the? And just exploding, like,
you know, when you’re trying to establish routines and
norms in your classroom. I just sat back. I was just, like, hey, so there was
a lot of rain this weekend, huh? How many of you guys got water? And instead of having our usual daily
challenge day — vocabulary special. It turned into a discussion about,
oh, we had water in our basements. There’s — this is not something
that, you know, we can just put away. Because when we get back home,
it’s still going to be there. All of our clothes are wet. There might not necessarily
be dinner on the table. Because we’re still trying to
recover from the rain that just fell. Point being, just by being aware
of what’s in the neighborhood. Makes you a lot more understandable to
what is happening with your students. If your students realize that, holy
cow, this guy’s actually human. He’s not a robot that, you
know, loves to collect homework. He actually has compassion for my
well-being, and is understanding. That day I told them, tell you what, guys. We’re going to postpone our homework. And we’re going to do everything else. And I just took that as a teachable moment. And be like, well, how old are these houses? You know, social studies teacher, I
get back to [inaudible] on bungalows. I used that to engage them. I used that to try to get them a
little bit more history context. As far as like the Chicago neighborhoods
and where they’re coming from. And at the end of the day,
they just respected me more. For, once again, being a human being. And not being a crazy teacher that just loves
to collect homework, because I have no life.>>Maureen Gillette: I’m going to indulge, ask Juan Luis to really quickly
tell the story of what. One story he told me when I spent
the day with him in his classroom. About the other teachers who
don’t live in the community. What they say to him at the faculty meetings. Do you remember that story?>>Juan Luis: I’m not sure.>>Maureen Gillette: He doesn’t
remember that story. [ Laughter ] So I had a semester off to go into the
classrooms of the Grow Your Own Teachers. And I stayed out there most of the day. And definitely through a lunch or a
playing period when I could talk to them. And he was in a different school than he is now. The school he is in now is one of
our Grow Your Own partner schools. He was in a different school. And he said to me, I’ve got
to get out of this school. Because my colleagues, who
come from a different program. Where people only have to stay two
years, don’t understand what it’s like. And he said, every time I
go to the faculty meetings. They’re talking bad about the neighborhood. And they’re talk — they
don’t understand the parents. And then they see me and they
go, “Oh, sorry, Martinez. I forgot you live here.”>>Juan Luis Martinez: Yeah, that happens a lot. And that’s another thing. Thank you for bringing that up, Dr. Gillette. Because, not that I’m defending my neighborhood. Not that I’m giving a crusade, we’re like,
oh this is the best neighborhood in America. It’s not like that. But at the end of the day,
it is my neighborhood. It’s where I have my memories. And I do want a bit of respect. And I am sorry that there’s not a Starbucks
in every single corner in my neighborhood. There’s actually a [inaudible]. And you know what! That is just as wholesome. And even cheaper and better for me. [ Laughter and Applause ] And that’s just one thing that
— thanks for bringing that up. I did hear that a lot. This was a school that was a turnaround school. A lot of the teachers were there
precisely just to get the experience. And then shoot off as quickly
as they possibly could. To a suburb where there’s
more affluent students. And one thing that I made
a stand since like day one. Was like, please don’t talk
bad about my students. Because, thanks to them, we have a paycheck. Because at the end of the
day, that’s what it is. And second of all, I’m like,
this is not a bad neighborhood. Like, I don’t know if it’s a conversation topic. Something you go by the water cooler
and, like, talk bad about somebody. But it’s not. Yes, there is killings all over
Chicago — there is murders. There is crime, unfortunately. But it’s not the highlight of every weekend. There is, for every bad thing
that happens in my neighborhood. There is about a thousand million things
that are positive, great, out of this world. But unfortunately, those don’t draw ratings. Those don’t get coverage. Those don’t, you know, create mass
panic and, I don’t know, fear. And unfortunately, that [inaudible]. But yes, I do remember right now. Thank you for jogging my memory.>>Demetrius Davis: Awesome. So I’m going to walk a little bit. So I’ll stay up and at it. So to Juan Luis’s point about, just the
frustration that can come along with it. It is very much a thing. I was in a meeting a few days
ago with an administrator. And one of my roles at the school is recruiting. And I was having a conversation about. Hey, I think the reason that we
have not met some of our numbers. The reason that we have so many applicants. So many students that have been accepted. That have not yet had their parents come
in to actually enroll or register yet. Is because they know they have to pay the fee. And the fee isn’t cheap. It’s $155. Now, for us middle and upper-middle
class administrators and church — and school office staff. That were in that meeting. That $155 is a matter of us
deciding to write a check. But what I understand about those
families from the community that we serve. Is $155 to them is the equivalent
of about $500 or $600. To those of us that were seated in that room. And so one statement that was made
when I gave push-back about fees. Was — this was from an administrator. Well, people need to understand that if they
want their kids to have good educations. They have to invest in it. It was a horrible conversation. It was one of those, pushing me to
think, once again, about quitting. Types of remarks that was made. But it was just an indication
of the kinds of mindsets that can operate totally unintentionally. And totally with the sense that I am crusading
for pushing people to invest in their education. But here’s the problem with that statement. It presupposes, first of all, that these people
don’t value investing in their kids’ education.>>Right.>>Demetrius Davis: I’ve met with parents who, to make sure that their kids
have a good quality education. Have been taking their kids from
the southwest side of Chicago. To the north side of Chicago,
at 7:30 A.M. To make sure that their kids have a quality education. Now, for a perspective in Chicago terms. To get that distance at 7:30 A.M. We’re
talking about 45 minutes to an hour commute. So that’s what that kid has to do. Rain, sleet, or snow, to get to school. Rain, sleet, or snow, to get
from school back to home. And so a parent that’s willing
to go through that. Is not a parent that is apathetic
about their kids’ education. But when we have a reality of one
in five, one in six, families. Being food secure in Chicago. $155 multiplied by how many children you
have in the school is nothing to sneeze at. I bring it up because I think it illustrates
the importance of having people at the table. Who understand, not just statistically. But understand intimately, how the
economics of a community works. So that one can ensure that there is
empathy that one brings to the table. I’m going to share just a couple of
just anecdotes about my experience. And hopefully kind of make a
case for why Grow Your Own — growing one’s own teachers — is important. So I used to do an open-gym. Basketball open-gym. And it started out with just one kid
that saw me shooting around in the gym. And he liked my game. And he asked me if I wouldn’t
mind mentoring him in basketball. He was a freshman at the time. I was teaching. He was one of my students. So I began working out with
him a few days after school. We would do drills together. And then a few of his friends showed up. And so I worked with them too. And then after a while, it turned out to
be about 12 to 14 kids who would show up. So this thing went from me
working one-on-one with one kid. To help him with his jump shot. To me almost coaching a basketball team. [ Laughter ] So every day they would come to my class. They would ask me if we can
play in the gym today. So a lot of days we decided to do it. And so, in order to facilitate
this kind of training. We had to move from just
doing the work on the court. To actually doing work in
the classroom after school. So then after school, we
would meet in my classroom. We would watch some skill
drill videos on YouTube. I would do some X’s and O
stuff on the whiteboard. And they would really get into this. Then we would go down. And I wouldn’t just let them play basketball. I would make them invest
about an hour in just drills. In learning to play the game better. And what was incredible was
that they all locked into it. And they were at different skill levels. There were some kids that were very,
very strong basketball players. And there were — there was
— there were two kids. Who whenever we scrimmaged,
whenever they got the ball. Everybody screamed “Pass the ball!” [Laughter] It’s either “Pass
the ball,” or “Don’t shoot!” [Laughter] But what was incredible is even
those two guys gave everything they had. They were locked into the
stuff in the classroom. They were locked into what they
were learning on the court. And so I analyzed it and
I wondered why that was. Like, why some of the same students that teachers would have
challenges within the classroom. Would give them challenges there. But they would do anything that I asked
them to do on the basketball court. Even though they weren’t good at it. They would still do anything
that I asked them to do. They would be embarrassed on the court. You know, one kid, like,
would just frequently fall. For no reason, on the basketball court. Like, he didn’t have good balance yet. And kids would make fun of him. But every time we had open
gym, he would come back. He would play. And I’ve seen kids who can
be struggling readers. And will shut down and not read. Because of the same fear of being made fun of. And so I wondered, why, would
on this basketball court. They’d be willing to risk all this
embarrassment and put in this hard work? Here’s what I concluded. Because I see a lot of myself
in these couple of boys. I believe it’s because they
— I believe because of this. For these White boys, among all the things
that they believe that they can be in life. They believe that they can
be professional athletes. The reason that they believe, despite
me going on my rants in the classroom. Drawing up statistically how impossible this is. The reason that they believe
is because they see themselves. Right? We’re about to enter into the
biggest sports seasons of the year. Football is beginning today. Tonight, actually. Football begins tonight. And then we go into basketball season. They’re going to see themselves
all over that field. They’re going to see themselves
all over that court. And so they believe naturally, that
this is something that I can do. And this is something that
I could be successful in. And so then, I think then, that the importance
of the teacher of color in the classroom. And that’s really what Grow Your Own is about. It is unmistakably about putting, not
just teachers from the neighborhood. But putting teachers of color in the classroom. It is because it provides counter-narrative. It provides an opportunity for them
to see themselves as intellectuals. As thought leaders. As professionals. And some of my colleagues, you know, wonder how. You know, I could have all these misses. As it relates to kind of like how one
ought to systematically be a teacher. Run a classroom. I could ruin all those things and still
command the attention of my class. And they wonder how I’m able to do that. The reason that I’m able to
do it, is because I showed up. Right? I showed up in class. I was an African American man. And I dressed nice. And I enunciated my words really well. I was articulate. I was compassionate. I was prepared with my lesson. I was knowledgeable. Right? And another teacher
could do the same thing. But because that teacher is not the
teacher who the child sees themself in. The child is locked in at a different level. Right? Barack Obama is not our
first articulate president. But he does something for me that
our other presidents have never done. The reason is because when
I see him, I see myself. When I see him run off, get — run
down the steps of Air Force One. I see myself. I see my own possibilities. And so I’m locked in that way. And the same way — our kids do the same. Lastly, just to talk about a little
bit about how this manifests. We have a major emphasis
on college in our school. A major emphasis on pushing
students toward college. But one problem is, most of the colleges
that we pushed our students toward. Were predominantly White institutions. And the well-meaning people
who structured the program. Did not understand that that college. That because of the social
dynamics related to college. That a Black — a kid that has
grown up in a Black community or a Latino community all his or her life. That all of a sudden goes to become that
1%, that 5% group on college campus. He is urban and now this college is rural. That socially, the kid is probably
going to suffer a little bit. Right? And college is, you know, most
of our most memorable points in college. They were the social times. It was not something awesome
that happened in English 101. [ Laughter ] It was something awesome
that happened in the quad. It was something awesome
that happened at some party. Some connections with friends. And so, because of that dynamic. So what I introduced to them was
historically Black colleges and universities. And got our kids interested in that. And so we took a trip to Washington,
D.C. To visit Howard University. Took a trip to Hampton, Virginia,
to visit Hampton University. And there were a couple of
probable things about it. One was introducing the students to this other
— these other opportunities for education. The other powerful thing was. It was placing them in a space
that they had never seen before. Where they’re walking a campus
with thousands, and thousands, and thousands of African American students. That are pursuing higher education. Again, they saw themselves. And they got a chance to see that
these kids are just like you. Like, they like to just hand out
and chill out with each other. Just like you like to hang out
and chill out with each other. They dress like you. Or they dress the way you want to dress. And they’re also pursuing higher education. They had a chance to see themselves. The last piece that I’ll share is. There was — so after the killing of
Mike Brown, a couple of years ago. My mind immediately goes to,
all right, what do we do? What are we going to do as
an action related to this? And so, what we decided to do was. I looked around at kind of the job
opportunities in the neighborhood. And they’re very, very scarce. And realizing that if our
communities are going to be uplifted. It’s going to be because we uplift them. We cannot wait for somebody to
decide to come and make it better. So we decided to do — pitched
this to the school. And the school went for it. Is, let’s create our own business. To create the sense within our students
that they can solve their own problems. If they want better commerce in the community. Build your own commerce. If you want more jobs for
teens in the community. Let’s create jobs for teens in the community. And so in collaboration with
the students at the school. We decided to create a uniform retail store. So our school had been contracting
with an outside vendor in the suburbs. For X-number of years, all our
families, — 1,100 families. Went there to purchase uniforms. It was a really lucrative enterprise. So we decided to undercut them. [Laughter] And then we started our own business. It was myself and it was about eight students. So we started this uniform company. Last year was the first year. So right in our building,
the families could come. They could purchase uniforms. They didn’t have to drive to the burbs anymore. Families also were able to save
money, because our costs were lower. Our students built a business that did
over $45,000 in sales last year alone.>>Wow!>>Demetrius David: In addition to — [ Applause ] And in addition to learning
how to build a business. Like, they also, for many of
them, they got their first job. They got their first managerial opportunity. They got an opportunity to
learn how to problem-solve. Or on the fly, deal with
challenges of building business. But this was something that was brought there
because of an understanding of community. An understanding of the resources
that were needed. And a belief that there is great potential
in the students from the community. And so I just wanted to share just a couple
of anecdotal pieces about what we have done. Through having a homegrown
teacher in our school.>>I have a question. With your story, you were
talking about the young boys. It just really touched my heart
and how they can relate to you. When you’re in front of the
classroom and they can see an example. But we know that at least 80% of our teachers
in the classroom don’t look like you. They are Caucasian women. And so — and even with that. There are still schools in Milwaukee,
where it would be Hispanic teachers. And the students still don’t look like them. So what would you recommend? What would you tell those teachers
who are, who love what they do? But they’re in front of kids
that, they are different. And they have different cultural backgrounds. What are some strategies that teachers can do. To build those relationships with
students who don’t look like them?>>Demetrius Davis: Yeah,
that’s a fantastic question. So I think it’s about immersing oneself
in the culture of the community. And I use that word community intentionally. Because none of us are monolithic. To be an educator on the
southwest side of Chicago. Is different from being on
the southeast side of Chicago. Neighborhoods are neighborhood. There are nuances. And so my recommendation is to immerse
oneself in the culture of the community. I think what we also cannot
underestimate is that. When it comes to self-perception
of minorities in our country. A lot of our self-perception is derived from
how we believe White America thinks of us. And so there is a very powerful role that I believe the White teacher
plays in the Latino classroom. And African American classrooms. The Native American classroom. Leave a very powerful role
in sharing one’s positive — genuine, positive perceptions about the child. Cannot be forced. Because they can tell what
truly comes from the heart. But I think that that is a very,
very — very, very key role to play. But then just to say, secondly, I
think that we have to all do more work. Whether it’s the school leadership. Universities have to do better work
at recruiting teachers of color. There’s got to be strong
intentionality behind it. Strong intentionality behind it.>>Maureen Gillette: And I
know you have a question. I’d also like to add that if you
walk away with one thing from today. It’s that I hope your brain’s
already getting wrapped around. Who are the key players in my community? Like Katelyn, who understand the
issues that I need to connect to. To figure out the type of teacher,
you know, in school, we need to have. Because this whole conference is about
how do we build those partnerships? And so last night at dinner,
we were talking about. You know, having children
and teachers volunteer. In various aspects of the neighborhood. In a soup kitchen, in a homeless shelter. And I said, we don’t really do that. What we do is help our perspective
teachers ask the question. Why are there homeless children
in our community? And what can we do about it? And so I think, moving from,
who can you partner with? And how do you work together to
take action around those issues? Is important to think about. Because one thing you heard
these two talk about is. They’re not afraid to speak
up when something happens. And sometimes you’re out there alone. And the greatest part of this partnership
is not to be alone when we do that. You had a question back there.>>Well, it’s not so much of a question. It’s basically, okay, I’m a special
education teacher in Milwaukee. Came to teaching quite a bit later in life. After being in corporate world and everything. And one of the interesting
things that I’m hearing would. Especially when you’re talking
about being culturally responsive. [Inaudible] responsiveness. And this is just a very brief little
tale about one of my children. My daughter, who went to
school right here in Milwaukee. Milwaukee [inaudible] schools. Went to the High School of the Art. She went to [inaudible]. But anyone familiar know that these
schools are very culturally diverse. And when she graduated high
school, she went on to Steven Point. And I tried to, in my own way,
prepare her for the environment. And how different it was going to be. From what she was used to here in Milwaukee. And it — she never went to an all-Black school. She had various, you know,
role models in front of her. So, you know, one would think,
oh, she would not have a problem. Well, first semester there, she
came back home for Thanksgiving. We were sitting there having dinner. And she looked up and she
says, “Guess what, Mom.” I said, “What?” She says, “I’m Black.” [ Laughter ] And I went, “Okay.” She said, “No, you don’t understand.” She says, “I’m really, really Black.” And what had happened with her. She never, you know, color
was never one of those things that we spent a lot of time concentrating on. Because, well, just because. It never was an issue. But the moment she went to somewhere that
was different from where she went normally. Suddenly, color became an issue. So I guess my thing is, as Black educators. One of the things you can never assume. And that is, just because we are Black. That we understand the culture of the kids
that we’re coming in contact with every day. Because it can be so totally different. So being culturally responsive, that’s not. It can start with you looking like
the person that you’re working with. But you have to make sure
that you go well beyond that. And look at all the facets that is
surrounding our kids that we’re working with. And the community that they are getting in. And their day to day life. In order to sort of get an understanding. As to where they are really coming from.>>Katelyn Johnson: And I think
you mentioned something important. You mentioned also, that you
began teaching later in life. A majority of our teacher
candidates did as well. Most of them had had other careers. And had come to Grow Your Own later in life. And this was the passion and an
opportunity that they had received. But you mentioned something about
teaching and the community being important. And that’s similar to what Demetrius said. The southwest side and east side
of Chicago are very different. And just because you are Black, from Englewood. Doesn’t mean you can kick it with
the Black folks in North Lawndale. Because the entire community is different. The priorities are different. The culture is different. And so part of what Grow Your Own does is
we kind of recognize those differences. And instead of that being a
deficit, it becomes an asset. And so the part of the application
of Grow Your Own. While people are in the pipeline. We construct a lot of opportunities
that are hyper-local. That then become connected
to the bigger picture. And part of something that we did in our cohort. We made sure that all of the student
— all of the teacher candidates. Had a school in their neighborhood
that they kind of adopted. And so they became — if they weren’t working
at a school when they came to the program. They found a school. And since then, a couple of them
have gotten hired at those schools. That they had adopted it when
they were a part of the program. But also, kind of the training that went into
it, beyond the teacher preparation training. The training on how to understand the
root causes of why there’s homelessness. You know, why around economic justice. And understanding how the
parents work two to three jobs. They can care all they can about
their children’s education. And they still can’t make it into the classroom. How do you overcome those things? And then we kind of dug into
some academic work as well. And kind of flipped it. And like, well, here’s the
community analysis of that. And really had some tense conversations
about how you can have, you know. All of the perfect curriculum and
practicum in the entire world. But if it’s devoid of what’s
going on in the community. It ends up falling flat.>>Maureen Gillette: And so —
was there a question back there?>>Yeah, well, I was thinking that this
has to start all the way at the top. When teachers are in college. Curriculum development. Because if she is going to invest when. But most of the times, the community
involvement is the open houses. These teachers don’t have any knowledge at all
of what’s going on in the community they work. And we’re under so much pressure. As a matter of fact, I’m
from Logan’s Square, Chicago. I was a teacher in Chicago. And I know Logan Square is
gentrifying very fast.>>Maureen Gillette: Yes.>>I [inaudible]. But you — the curriculum
itself and the diversity. You’ve got to integrate that into the teachers. They focus so much on academics
and doing this and getting. That they forget about the
community they’re involved in.>>Maureen Gillette: So I’m
glad you mentioned that.>>That’s right.>>Maureen Gillette: Because that
takes me into how we work together. So about 9 years ago, I was
in Juan Luis’ community. And we have what we call education teams. Or advisory boards in the various communities. And the principal of Juan
Luis’ high school, Jackie. Was saying all of the crap that Chicago
public schools was pouring down on her. You know? And then she’s supposed
to pour it down on the teachers. And I said to her, you know, do you think you
could come and talk to the faculty about this? I said, my next vision is to
get, you know, us together. Around how we can learn from each other. She goes, oh, yeah, right Maureen. Why don’t you bring them here. So that began our community study days. So every year, our faculty go
to the community as learners. And to get them to challenge you
to think about, how you do that? We don’t, you know, the sharing of expertise. I think Northeastern’s faculty
is unique in some ways. In that, you know, I expect them to
realize, we’re experts at some things. But the expertise in the
community is different than ours. And we have to share that expertise. So the first community we
went to was Juan Luis’. And with Southwest Organizing
Project on the southwest side. In Gage Park, Chicago Lawn neighborhood. Were you there that day? Yeah, Juan Luis was one of our teachers. He was a student in the college. Who taught the faculty about his neighborhood. [Laughter] So the organizers and
our students became the professors. To teach our faculty about what’s
happening in the neighborhood. All of those issues. Each of the communities has various issues. But that has resulted — so each year
we’ve gone to a different community. And we’ve looked at different issues. So in Katelyn’s community, in North Lawndale. We went to look at how, I think
it’s still the community in Chicago. With the most men and women
returning from incarceration. Back into the community. And so, how does that affect you in a classroom? If you have a kid whose parent is incarcerated. Or just got back home. How do we work with the families? How do we help the kids work with that? And so our faculty have grown. And I’m just going to brag
one minute about Northeastern. We just are launching, in the
fall, a new Master’s Degree. Called a Master of Arts in
Teacher and Community Leader. And we envision that program as organizers. So if anyone wants to take it. Organizers, like cohorts of 20. Organizers and practicing teachers
sitting together for four core courses. Sharing their knowledge. And then the teachers split off and
do a teacher-leader endorsement. And the organizers get more deeply
into how to organize around the issues. But working together, we’ve done things
like training our Grow Your Own students. On how to lobby the legislators in
Washington, and locally, in Springfield. We’ve taken issues that CPS. You know, Charlotte Danielson
is the queen of CPS. And they spent hundreds of thousands of
dollars bringing Charlotte Danielson in. And using the lesson plans and things. And so also Doug Lemov. They loved, for a while, they loved Doug Lemov. You know, that was a du jour program. And so we did have workshops on that. But we also deconstructed it. And, you know, what is it about Doug
Lemov that people find attractive? And what is it about Doug Lemov that
is about controlling kids’ behavior? As opposed to helping them learn
in a way that works for them? So we’ve really worked together
around the education of our students. And, I don’t know, do you want
to say anything more about that?>>Katelyn Johnson: I mean, part
of the working together also helped for our community members who were not teachers. Have been relationships with
the teachers in the school. Because the parents and the grandparents that
are involved with our organization, at least. Are very supportive of the
Grow Your Own teacher program. And because of the Grow Your
Own teacher program. Because they know that there are teachers
who are going through these trainings. They have a better perspective
about all teachers. And they look at it from
a different vantage point. And we’ve had, you know, one of
the things with Grow Your Own. We’ve had an increase in the number
of people in our organization. That then go volunteer in their schools. Because they’ve had an interaction
with one of the Grow Your Own Teachers. And so part of that partnership is
being able to like know your lane. But also know that the lanes will cross. And know — and how to do that effectively. And how to do that so that
everybody is stronger. Because there is parts that, you
know, with our Grow Your Own teachers. Once they learn kind of the academic pieces. One of the Grow Your Own candidates is
now running trainings at my organization. Because she learned how to be a
teacher through Grow Your Own. And we want to do trainings on
public policy and things like that. So she wrote curriculums
for our broad membership. To be able to learn these things as well. And so all of the skill sets cross over.>>Maureen Gillette: You
want to add anything else?>>Juan Luis Martinez: I just —
sorry, it takes a second to come on. Just wanted to add one thing
that was briefly mentioned. A lot of times, it’s, yes, we do
have the insight in the community. Because we live there. Being a teacher of my community. But there’s things that we do
not necessarily fully understand. And another example is when we
were in those education meetings. Where every stakeholder from
the community gave their piece. Or shared something that went on. I learned about the huge impact the rate of
foreclosures are having in our community. And the direct impact that has in the classroom. I never knew they were so closely related. But after Jeff Bartow, the Director
of the Southwest Organizing Project. Broke down the math that was
attributed to that problem. I saw the clear connection,
the clear correlation. Between the classroom and
the rate of foreclosures. I mean, there’s houses that are being
foreclosed in one block of a neighborhood. And he said there’s less people in that block. Then he said the local business have
less people that are shopping there. That means that business
will eventually close down. And that one student has to go further now. For just the basic necessities. Maybe pop, chips, who knows? An apple. And what that does, it creates
the possibility, or the opportunity. For more crime to possibly happen. Because instead of walking one city block. For an already — what’s considered
to be a rough neighborhood. Now you have to go three blocks. Expose yourself to three times the risk. Having to cross gang lines. Having to — I mean, numerous
things that one never. Well, at least me, personally. You know that there might be a correlation. That there might be something
that, yeah, it kind of connects. But never to that extent. And I think that’s what it does. It allows you, it gives you
a chance to sit down. To open up your mind. And to really take everything in. And try to see, how do I use this
knowledge that was just passed on to me? And how can I apply it to my classroom? How can I apply it to my students,
so that they can be successful?>>Maureen Gillette: Let’s say this. So we want to be sure that if
you have questions or concerns. We have time for them. We don’t want to act like this is easy. And we don’t want to have
you leave here thinking. If I look at my community, and I find my
community agencies to partner with me. Everything’s going to be just great. Because oftentimes, universities go into
communities as if they know everything. And act as if the community doesn’t
have these strengths and assets. That we find, that we can build with. So, you know, we did want to run
down the challenges we’ve had. And I don’t want to spend too much time on it. But I think we mentioned some of the
key aspects related to this program. And I want to say that Grow Your
Own was not just in Chicago. It was in predominantly White,
rural areas of Illinois. Southern Illinois, Western Illinois. We have one cohort on the Northeast side. That has many White students in it. Most of whom are European ethnic students. Who can speak four and five languages. But so, you know, while, as Demetrius said. We are unabashedly about increasing
the number of teachers of color. It doesn’t mean we’re also not helping all the
teachers in our neighborhoods get certified. And build the skills that we have. But I will say that unless
there’s a true partnership. A joint commitment to the
vision of what Grow Your Own is. And that is about school
reform from the inside out. It falls apart. So when the money started drying up. Many of the other universities folded. They folded their programs. Especially the more rural areas. My university, Northeastern, doubled down. And said, if you lose the money,
we’ll help with the funding. So we helped dig up some money for scholarships. We helped — my provost allowed me to have the
faculty tell the faculty covering lease time to work with Grow Your Own. But I will tell you, at the
same time that was happening. We won three national awards for Grow Your Own. The college. One for work in Latino neighborhoods. One for the general work that
we’ve done to build our curriculum. To be more responsive to the community. And those have been good
things for our university. And also for the community organizations. Because they’ve helped us
get more private funding. But without the commitment to
the vision, it will fall apart. So I think it’s important to really
understand why this is important. And, you know, I talked to teachers last night. Who’ve been in their districts their whole life. Who will finish their careers in their district. So you are already doing what we’re advocating. The question is, how do we get
more teachers of color before kids? So that your faculty looks like
what the nation looks like. Regardless of what your community’s
demographics are. And I think that’s what I would ask you. Jimmy Lugo wrote an article about the
strength of Grow Your Own Teachers. Which is in your packet. And when you have the time,
I hope you’ll look at it. Jimmy has hired — Jimmy is a principal
who grew up in Logan Square, Humboldt Park. Where his school is located. He has hired five Grow Your Own teachers. He’d hire every one of them that he could. Because he sees the benefits
of what we’re doing. So you want to open it up to questions. You want to finish?>>Katelyn Johnson: I mean, kind of
touching on the commitment that’s necessary. Part of it is, yes, the commitment to
the education and to the classroom. But also commitment to the
long-term vision of transformation. And being able to have the
conversations that are tough sometimes. Being able to vision together and get creative. And take some risks and see what happens. And then, just being able to
always come back to why we’re here. I mean, that, you know, I’d
want to open up for questions. I think that’s the root of
why people [inaudible] today.>>I have one question. So ultimately, these people have
an aim that is to be reached. Is the aim to then deconstruct the
same levels of education as we offered by the vocation Eurocentric field?>>Katelyn Johnson: Wow! [Laughter] I mean, I think we want
to completely reform the education. And part of the inside out is
a little bit of deconstruction. But I think it’s also, we want to be able to
take the best of what is out there academically. And the best of what the community has to offer. And create something new, that is sustainable. That is really centered around
the entire life of the child. Not just the child’s, you know, test scores. Not just what happens within
the four walls of the classroom. But also really reach into
the families and the parents. And making sure that those
folks are invested in. Or I should say welcomed,
into the classroom as well. So I think yes and no at the same time. I think part of it is we
want to create something new. And we want it to be sustainable.>>Right. I’d like to add one more thing. What Betty said earlier. Is there anything being done, then, to
prepare the other side of the tracks? For this new level of excellence?>>Maureen Gillette: Tell me what you
mean — tell me what you mean by that.>>What I mean by that is, like,
when education takes place. You guys are also going to be there. If someone sees me standing in the
classroom, they perceive that’s [inaudible]. But I remember standing in a
classroom and my kids looking at me. I come from a South African country. My kids looked at me and said,
you sound like a White man. And what the hell does that mean? Just because I articulate, just because –>>Maureen Gillette: Right.>– You know, I enunciate my words. As was said earlier. Why do you perceive that to
be the level [inaudible]. So I’ve had to fight that my whole life. Because, you know, I grew up under apartheid. So it’s a totally different thing. So I’ve done the program. Totally comfortable. I came to Wisconsin seven years ago. It’s White here. [ Laughter ] But you have more people in the
classroom and if you work with that idea. And yet at the same time. I understand when you were
speaking about being sensitive to what’s happening in the neighborhood. So hunting season, I don’t give homework. Right?>>That’s right.>>The open day, I know not to do that. I could take note of these things
would never, ever have considered. But it’s being aware of those things. So you want to bring that in. But, so this is my new thing. If you do create the space. I was talking to somebody earlier. What’s the name of [inaudible] — the book. [Inaudible] he speaks about the idea is. If you give identity contingencies to someone. They perform based on those
identity contingencies. Which means the academic record then falls. When, in fact, you tried to aspire. The other method that goes with
that is where my question is going. Like, you’re trying to be White because
of [inaudible] that I grew up with. As soon as I wanted to do more
than what I thought I was doing. So it’s that kind of, you know, people have it. And then the other thing that I’m
writing on with this is the funding. Finance. I told a community that 43,000 people. 0.03% of those people ever
went on to tertiary education. Just because of the lack of money. How do we address that sort,
you know, situation? Where kids have aspirations. And they want to bring their new,
you know, level of excellence. Their own one. Inspired by their community. But if there’s no funding,
how do you deal with that?>>Maureen Gillette: So Tracey, that’s
for your next years’ conference. [ Laughter ] I’m serious. You’re raising such good questions. On a very superficial level,
I could argue that, you know. We can help kids find funding to go to college. And the whole college selection, and
the whole college entrance is really. We can problematize that for the next year. And so, you know, I think that we are trying
to address one, like, local level problems. Teachers and classrooms and
community-based reform and school reform. Changing a deficit model to an asset
model around high-needs communities. Becoming activists and not
being afraid to speak out. And how it connects to those other things. Is what I lay awake at night thinking about. Because, how do we help — you know,
we have 58 graduates in ten years. That’s a drop in the bucket. But I think the model is huge. And so I’ve had these arguments with the
higher-ups in Washington, D.C. and stuff. Because we could scale up our
model if you would fund us. You do not want to fund Black and Brown people. That’s just the bottom line. You know, we could scale up this model. Meanwhile, another program that, you know, asks
you to only stay two years in the classroom. Is getting $10 million a year
from the federal government. And so our priorities are really screwed up. So again, next years’ conference. [ Laughter ]>>Juan Luis Martinez: I just want to add
— oh sorry, one thing about the funding. And I heard someone else use this analogy. That really helped me understand it. And I hope it does the same for you. When you’re building a bridge,
that middle, that keystone. Is the most expensive and the hardest piece
that you will have in that entire bridge. That has already been laid out for GYO. So everything else that’s coming on. There is already a pipeline. There is already somewhat of a paved
road for those next candidates. And that’s something that, once you
get that first candidate through there. Then that just sets the road for the rest. So that — it’s just that
one piece of the bridge. Hope that helps.>>Maureen Gillette: You’ve been —
haven’t you had your hand up so long?>>Thanks, yeah. One of the challenges I’m finding working with
folks coming into the teaching profession. And I’ve taught for ten years. Love teaching, it’s the best. And I love the Grow Your Own idea. In Wisconsin, we have state — we
have practice one and practice two. Y4 and then the NTPA. We have these four assessments that
candidates have to teach — have to take. They’re costly. And often, I find, they’re gatekeeping measures. In Illinois, when you’re growing your own. Are you up against something like that? And how do you help candidates –>>Maureen Gillette: Katelyn and I are laughing,
because we just created hell in Illinois. Over the basic skills tests. So the state board of ed raised the
cut score on the basic skills test. Two standard errors of measure over
what the cut score panel recommended. So I’m not a psychometrician. So I had to look that up. That means, basically, if you
don’t pass it the first time. Without intense intervention,
you’re not going to pass it again. So right now, the state pass rate on
that exam is 52% for all test takers. That includes graduate students, you
know, who are doing a post-back run. And the test take — the pass rate for Black
and Latino students is in single digits. So we actually went at that pretty hard. We called a legislative hearing from Action Now. We embarrassed the state department event. That came back to haunt us a
couple times, a little bit. That came back to haunt us. But, I mean, they have no — that’s where
the partnership between the community. And I just, I can’t even
speak enough about this. We did the research at the university level. We presented data that these
tests make no difference. We got teachers who won Golden Apples to say. If this cut score had been in, they
wouldn’t be allowed to be a teacher. The organizers called a legislative hearing
on the education committee of the Senate. In Springfield. For this testimony. And all — and we didn’t get a change. And then we changed tactics. Which is what I learned to do from them. I said, look, the superintendent
is not going to budge. What do we do next? We get an alternative. So we got an alternative ACT cut score of 22. And that has made a big difference. We’ve got more kids in with the 22. I could go on forever about the NTPA. But at the same time, my faculty are writing
articles exposing the problems with NTPA. And you can Google — you
can Google those articles. We are working to be sure our students pass. So it was consequential last
year for the first time. With the most diverse student
body in the Midwest. We had a 93.7 pass rate in the fall. And a 98. — 98% pass rate in the sprint. So these students can do it. It’s not that they can’t do it. It’s — you know, it’s fighting the roadblocks. So to have these partners with
me, I’m not out there alone. Because I’ll be totally honest with you. Some of the Ed deans won’t be activists. And they won’t get on board.>>Maybe you could clarify
for me, organizationally. This is an Illinois program. And it’s funded by the state?>>Maureen Gillette: It was.>>It was funded. It’s completely cut off?>>Maureen Gillette: Completely
cut off from funding now.>>So now you have to find private –>>Katelyn Johnson: We always had private.>>Can you — do you apply
for like federal grants? How do you fund it?>>Maureen Gillette: Yeah, we
always have had private funding. So in the beginning, when we had
a lot of money, 11 years ago. We were able to give transportation stipends. The tuition assistance comes in
the form of a forgivable loan. So whatever they don’t qualify
for in Pell grants. They — if they teach five
years in an urban setting. They get their loan forgiven. But we also had childcare stipends. We had transportation stipends. We had book stipends. And little by little, that was eroded. Until last year, it was nothing. And so, our numbers of students have
been cut in half at Northeastern. Because we can still help with tuition. I help with private scholarships. We tried to keep as many students as we could. And I’ll be honest with you,
this is where the issue comes in. We prioritize those students
who are already admitted to the College of Ed., for the most funding. And then try to keep the ones who
were not in the College of Ed. yet, going by. Even if they only took one
or two courses at a time. But, you know, on my worst days, I
feel like it’s a conspiracy theory. Against those really strong programs
that recruit Black and Latino teachers. Because, you know, if we had
the will, we could do this. We could.>>I’m a middle school principal
in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Which is a very White community. The number of students of color
is primarily students of poverty. And the concern I have is trying to offer
jobs to teachers who are teachers of color. That will look like my students. And then asking them to live
in my very White community. I — am I asking too much? Because there’s not a salon
where you can get your hair done. You’re not going to find the
foods that are ethnically diverse. The community is a very White community. I would love to be able to have that diversity. But are we asking too much?>>Demetrius Davis: So it’s
a very interesting challenge. But I think that there are. That you will find plenty of teachers of
color that would take that opportunity. I mean, we live in a global society now. Where, you know, straight out of
college, one might take the first job. You know, halfway around the world. And not only is there cultural difference. But there is also language barrier. So I think if recruiting efforts are made. I think you would find teachers
that would take it. And also, just understanding, like
I, for about six years of my life. Lived in majority White neighborhoods. So I’m comfortable playing
that role when I have to. And I think for a lot of millennial and like younger Gen-X African
Americans that were children. Kind of in the early integration,
flight to suburbia, kind of groove. Totally understand how to be that one Black guy. In the office. In the neighborhood. In the school. And they could play that role.>>Maureen Gillette: Juan,
you want to say something?>>Juan Luis Martinez: When it comes to
actually actively recruiting teachers that look like the students. Especially in such a, you
know, restricted environment. Where everything else around
them seems to be White. That just takes me back to one of my experiences
as, you know, first or second year teacher. One of my — one of the teachers
that I learned the most from. Was this guy that was a couple
years younger than me. He was White. And we worked in a predominantly
minority school. I think it was about half
African American, half Hispanic. And he was White. As White could be. I don’t know what that means. [Laughter] But he was super quirky. Super dorky. But this guy gave his heart. He went in there to these
ghetto kids, quote unquote. That, you know, were known
about these [inaudible]. And he didn’t care. He went in there with his heart. And I learned a lot from him. And until this day, everything
that I have in my classroom. Has to go back to him. One thing I will say about him. He was a second city alum. So he did have a lot of that
theater and acting in him. And the kids fed off of that. And that’s something that I try
to incorporate all the time. So maybe it’s not that the solution is. Yes, the kids must look like the teacher. I mean, ideally, in a perfect world, right? But we know that there’s a
limited amount of teachers. We know that they’re not out there. And these kids still need
to have their education. I think at the end of the day, you
just have to go in there with a heart. And just give it your best. And I know that sounds so idealistic. And it sounds so cliché. And so romantic. And it’s beautiful. But kids are not dumb. I don’t care if your kids are reading
at two years above their reading level. Three years below it. None of that matters. There’s a different countenance of
ability that it comes when the play. When you’re using your heart. And these kids can sense it out. They can sniff it out. They can recognize it. They don’t care if you’re short,
brown, yellow, Puerto Rican, or Asian. They don’t care.>>Right.>>Juan Luis Martinez: The only thing they
care about is that you’re going in there. And you’re putting them on a pedestal.>>Yeah.>>Juan Luis Martinez: They
love to be put on a pedestal. Any student that I’ve met in my entire life. They just love to be told, “Oh,
you are the best thing ever.” [Laughter] And you know what? As a teacher, I do believe that. I don’t care who, what student and
what your limited abilities may be. Or if you have the world
at the palm of your hand. If you tell them, “You can do it.” And you do it sincere enough. They will be able to feed off of that. And they’ll go as far as they
can imagine themselves going. So I don’t know if that necessarily
answered what your question was.>>Maureen Gillette: I would also add, to challenge your districts
where they’re recruiting. So, you know, very few districts from Wisconsin
come to the career fair at Northeastern. And, you know, we’ve got a
lot of bilingual teachers. A lot of diverse teachers. But, you know, are they recruiting at Hampton? Are they recruiting at Howard? Are they recruiting at Spellman? You know, are they looking around at some of the federally designated
Hispanic serving institutions? Like, UIC and Northeastern. You know, there are places
where, if you have five openings. And you can offer jobs. Then people aren’t necessarily
going to be alone. You know? And it may cause the whole
community to think about how welcoming they are to people who don’t look like them.>>Thank you.>>Maureen Gillette: I think, Tracy, are we –>>Maybe one more question.>>Maureen Gillette: One more question. Anybody — haven’t asked a question yet.>>Hi. I teach in Madison. And I teach on the east side. And I hear you talking about how there’s
a correlation between the foreclosures and student achievement where you are. Maybe, I’m also a late-in-life teacher. I’m just like five or six
years in, second career. And maybe it’s just because I’m old and cranky. But I have a big problem with
gentrification in my neighborhood. And if you’ve ever been in Madison
and driven down Willy Street. Kitty-corner from where Tony Robinson,
who was an African American kid. Killed by a cop a couple years ago. Kitty-corner, they took out a block of old,
lower-income housing, and are putting up condos. And I just go ah, you know, what is? So, but the foreclosures have a really strong
effect on the community and students you’ve met. What does gentrification, and
do you guys have any experience? Or have you seen this?>>Maureen Gillette: One thing I would say, is
go on the Logan Square neighborhood website. Because they are doing major battle
right now with gentrification. Also, our other partner, Organizing
Neighborhoods For Equality, on north side. They have been fighting gentrification
for years. And have had — got the single-room
occupancy law passed. And a law where, if you are a builder. And you’re building, you know,
a 50-unit condo building. A certain percentage of those need to be set
aside for medium and low-income families. Or you pay a big fine. Sadly, many of them are paying the
big fine, because they don’t care. But, those two organizations
are out front in Chicago. Around gentrification and what it’s doing. The one thing about working with organizations
in Chicago, is they help each other out. So even if Katelyn’s organization
isn’t doing so much work on housing. Well, she does a lot of housing,
but gentrification. They show up for the rallies and the
actions around other neighborhood. I don’t know if you have other suggestions.>>Katelyn Johnson: I mean, the
other thing I was thinking of. I was thinking, when Action Now worked
on the foreclosure mediation program. Part of it came from trying to figure
out a solution to gentrification. And trying to address the foreclosure issues. So then, going back to the partnership. Having — I think we had the first
couple training, we did around housing, we had some Grow Your Own candidates there. And what came about is a new law in Cook County. That allowed foreclosure mediation to happen. As well as a vacant property ordinance. So that we could make sure that
vacant properties were secure. And so part of that came from having the
community figure out their own solution. So I would just also encourage you to
partner with community organizations there. Because there may be a lot of ways that
you can generate ideas and end [inaudible].>>Ready?>>Maureen Gillette: We’re fine.>>Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Okay. Latest session starts at.

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