Jamaal Bowman to be Mini-talk Presenter!
Contact us MONDAY, May 22 for Group Arrangements, Scholarship Help and Volunteer work

Jamaal Bowman Announced as Mini-talk Presenter!
Jamaal Bowman  is the founding principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle School (CASA), located in the northeast Bronx, and a passionate advocate for public education. Born in NYC and raised by a single mom, Jamaal is most passionate about working with historically disenfranchised communities and children who've experienced trauma. Jamaal has worked in Title 1 public schools for more than 17 years and is currently working toward his Doctorate in Education Leadership at Manhattanville college. Jamaal is also a proud husband and father of three. 

Jamaal received his bachelor's degree in sports management from the University of New Haven and began his teaching career upon graduating in 1999. While working as a primary teacher at P.S. 90 in the south Bronx, Jamaal completed his master's degree in guidance and counseling from Mercy College. In 2005 Jamaal began working at the High School of Arts and Technology, where he served as teacher, guidance counselor, coach and dean of students during his three-year tenure.

 In 2008 Jamaal was accepted into the national principal recruitment and training program New Leaders for New Schools and served as the resident principal of Achievement First Charter School. During his residency, Jamaal wrote a proposal to open a small urban middle school, and in January 2009, Jamaal's proposal was approved by the New York City Department of Education and CASA Middle School opened its doors in September 2009. Over the past eight years, CASA has been recognized for its growth in student achievement, restorative justice practices, and commitment to social action, innovation, and educating the whole child.  

Some Fun Activities that are Planned for the AERO Conference
We have a lot of fun activities and events that are planned for this year's AERO Conference, August 3-6. These include:


  • The cruise around Manhattan on August 2nd. Please contact us to be put on the list. 
  • Virtual reality demo TBA
  • Minecraft server
  • Alternative Schools Fair (let us know if you want a free table for your school)
  • AERO Bookstore Get ready for some book signings, new releases, etc. Authors, bring books for the bookstore.
  • Student essay or presentation contest: Winners get free admission to AERO Conference. Details TBA but contact us as interested. 
  • Networking events
  • Adler Yang's documentary with others TBA. 
  • Post Campus 40 acre arboretum 
New AERO Conference Package Rates Announced!
For a limited time a package deal combining the conference registration and rooms at the conference will be available. They will save you $62 for either the single or shared room for three nights at the conference. The nights are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the 3rd through 5th of August. Additional room nights are available separately for Wednesday the 2nd and Sunday the 7th. The conference itself has registration on the evening of the 2nd with workshops starting the morning of the 3rd and the conference ending mid Sunday afternoon on the 6th. 

We now have people coming from 20 states and four countries! 

Shared Room Package Registration
Single Room Package Registration
New Documentary "If There Is A Reason To Study" To Be Shown At The AERO Conference!
We're very pleased to announce that Adler Yang, graduate of AERO member school Humanity Explorational High School in Taiwan, will be coming from there to the AERO conference to present his award winning documentary, "If There is a Reason to Study." He will be coming via a film festival featuring his film at Stanford. Adler and his team, then 14-16, helped with AERO's 2012 conference in Portland. They were the ones that helped film Sir Ken Robinson at that conference. 


From Wikipedia:

If There is a Reason to Study (Native title: 學習的理由) is a documentary film spanning 7 years directed by Adler Yang. The production of the film started in the March of 2009, when Adler Yang was 14 years old, studying at the Humanity (RenWen) Junior High School as a grade 8 student. The film was theatrically released in Taiwan in August 2018 by crowdfunding, screening at major theaters in Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Yilan, etc. The film has also been selected in 10 film festivals internationally, receiving 11 awards and recognitions.

In the film, Adler Yang documented the story of his friends' in the Humanity Junior High facing the high-stakes high school entrance exam, the  Basic Competence Test (BCT), and followed them until their college years. The film not only examines the high-stakes testing and the tracking systems' impact on students, but also questions the reason why people often become the ones they used to dislike as they grow up.

About Yang and the project:

Originally titled The Soul -- I Don't Want the BCT, the film has been publicly known in Taiwan since 2010, as the project was surprisingly selected as a grantee by the Public Television Service . Since then, Adler Yang and his team at an average age of 15 have been continually invited to educational meetings and conferences to represent the voice of students, joining the public discourse of education reform.

First started in 2001, the BCT was announced to be replaced in a few years by President  Ma Ying-Jeou on January 1, 2011. In 2013, the last BCT had ended, replaced by the  Comprehensive Assessment Program in 2014.

In the 2014 South Taiwan Film Festival, Golden Bell Award Best Director John Hsu considered If There is a Reason to Study one of the three most surprising films in the festival, praising that it is the "best work among all recent films addressing the education and testing culture in Taiwan. Talented and sincere."

On August 12, 2016, Deputy Minister of Education  Chen Liang-gee met with Adler Yang and his teammates for their contribution to Taiwanese education, invited them to participate in future collaborations, and praised the film for its authentic representation of the education in Taiwan.

The film was praised as the "epitome of 2016 Taiwanese Movies" by film critic and  Golden Horse Film Festival judge Bing-Hong Zheng. He also noted that If There is a Reason to Study is the most successful crowdfunded Taiwanese documentary project in 2016, reaching 282% of its initial goal.

These are Some of the Conference Features We'll Be Writing about!
Because there are so many upcoming surprise announcements about the AERO conference we are putting out this  separate e news for a while on conference news. 

We'll be writing about:

  • Special day for arranging groups, scholarship help (see below in this e news). 
  • Minitalk speakers (Jamaal Bowman in this issue. Othrs to be announced)
  • Continuing Education  Credits (This has now been arranged! TBA soon!)
  • The schedule
  • Minecraft server
  • The main strands for the conference
  • The cruise around Manhattan
  • Planned exhibitor tables
  • More workshop announcements
  • Messages from keynoters

Quotes from past conferences:

"The conference was the high point of my life (other than the birth of my sons) and I will never forget the experience..."

"We left with unforgettable memories, inspiring thoughts and hope that we will meet all those interesting people again. Now I have this feeling that we are not alone and there are a lot of people to learn from, exchange experiences with and ask for support if we have problems."

Past attendees know that there is no other conference like AERO's. The most important part of the conference, in my opinion, is the networking. Countless schools, education centers, homeschool resource centers and other initiatives have been birthed at AERO conferences. Attendees include teachers, administrators, parents, students, alternative educators and traditional educators who want to know more about learner-centered education. People leave transformed, recharged!

Of course they keynotes are important. This year's keynoters include author and unschooling expert Dayna Martin, education critic, author and legend John Gatto, MET Schools founder Dennis Litsky, Author of How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen Joanna Faber, and famed writer, speaker and education critic Jonathan Kozol.  There will also be a first day of TED-like mini talks. 

Equally important will be the more that 40 workshops, presentations, and interactive activities. We've already posted 17 of them. Several others are in process.

You can see all the posted and approved workshops and bios

You can register for the AERO conference art the current rate or even hold your place at the current rate HERE!

Some people have been a little confused about the various ways you can register for the conference, so here's a recap:
The regular rate is $275. 
The regular student rate is still $175
The presenter/volunteer rate is also $175
The child/childcare rate is $100 for the conference. 
The exhibitor table rate is $400. 
The low income rate is $225 (you decide). 

If more that 6 are coming from your group, e mail us to arrange a special rate. 

There is still no required food package! You can eat at the cafeteria at college rates, go out to eat, or even bring your own food!

If you have any specific questions you can e mail us by just replying to this e newsletter or call 516 621 2195. 

Here is a link to the AERO Conference Flyer. Please help us spread the word. If you do plan to attend and haven't registered yet it would be a GREAT help to us and our planning if you could let us know. 

Those who register by the next two weeks will get priority for meet and greet events. 

Number to Call for Groups and Scholarship Help
On Monday, May 22nd we would like all people interested in special group rates, scholarship help or volunteering for the AERO conference to e mail us about this if you can, to JerryAERO@AOL.com or call our office at 516 621 2195. You can also call our office at 800 769 4171. If you e mail you can do s on or before that date. But please make calls on Monday. We'll either talk to you then or schedule a time for you later in the day. 

After Monday we can't promise we'll be able to make special arrangements. So even if your situation is not finalized, please contact us to get the ball rolling. 
New John Gatto Book: The Adventures of Snider, the CIA Spider
Ed: This is John Gatto's first book release in years! John will be a keynoter at the August AERO Conference. If you order in advance we'll see that you get a signed copy!

The Adventures of Snider, the CIA Spider is a fabulously funny epic comic about a spider who is a big thinker with a fantastic plan for his life: becoming a CIA spy! Our spider, Snider, leaves his wife Wanda and their 26 children on the Irrawaddy River, while he sets out on a banana peel boat headed to Washington DC in pursuit of his dream. Follow Snider, as he becomes CIA agent Six-Six-Six and encounters figures like Rudolph the Russian, Peter the Big, and girls with pearls while working for the Central Intelligence Agency. Our quirky little fellow has lots of adventures, and he discovers a few truths, too. A cleverly composed story, The Adventures of Snider is bound to bring delight and laughter to adults and children of all ages.

"This one-of-a-kind book will captivate children with its offbeat adventures, quirky humor, and delightful use of language" - KRISTA BREMER mother, author of The Tender Struggle

"Gatto has revitalized the ancient concept of the epic poem. Snider offers the opportunity to learn new words, concepts, and see the world in a whole new way one page at a time" - RICHARD GROVE historian & conceptual artist producer, Tragedy & Hope Communications

"A brilliant and enchanting insight into the world of espionage. A must read for all ages" - EDWARD JAY EPSTEIN author of THE JFK ASSASSINATION DIARY: My Search for Answers to the Mystery of the Century 

Buy the book here.

Links and Calendar
Please send us feedback on this issue. also, we would like to have more articles written by AERO members and about AERO school and organizations.  Thank you for your ongoing support. With  your help , we will make learner-centered alternatives available to everyone!

In Service,

Jerry Mintz
Executive Director
Alternative Education Resource Organization

Please consider making a donation to AERO to help support our work. Thanks!