West Generation Academy Student Awarded Better Business Bureau SMARTS Scholarship

On Thursday, November 5th, representatives from Generation Schools Network and West Generation Academy accompanied WGA student Jennifer Martinez and her family to the Better Business Bureau's gala event titled Torch: A Celebration of Ethics where Jennifer was awarded a SMARTS Internship program scholarship. It was a festive event put on by the BBB with a number of cooperate sponsors to celebrate business, nonprofits, and students in the local community with the spotlight on organizations and individuals who embrace ethics. 

Jennifer was awarded her scholarship based on an application she submitted after completing an internship that was made possible by a partnership between Generation Schools Network and the Better Business Bureau. Jennifer's internship was at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center where her experiences ranged from transporting patients to and from X-ray and CAT scans, to delivering samples, to manning the reception desk. Throughout her time, she worked in all different parts of the hospital and had a chance to engage with patients, doctors, and hospital administration. Jennifer enjoyed working with the staff and patients and learned a lot about what it actually looks like to work in a hospital.
Most Likely to Succeed Movie Screening a Great Success

More than 50 people joined Generation Schools Network and Pairin in the Rhino District to view the documentary movie, Most Likely to Succeed on November 12. Representatives were in the room from Littleton, Aurora, Jeffco and Denver Public Schools along with the Colorado Education Initiative, Battelle for Kids, Catapult Leadership and other educational non-profits, schools and districts. 

Following the discussion, panelists Scott LeBand (Colorado Succeeds), Mike Ferrufino (Hispanic Chamber), Aimee Charlton (BBB Foundation) and two students from West Generation Academy discussed the possibilities around creating Colorado schools that are simultaneously good for students, teachers and industry. Reilly Pharo-Carter, E.D. of Climb Higher Colorado served as the facilitator. 

The Happy Hour following the event was sponsored by Michael Mares of Walker-Dilworth. Thank you to all who made the event a success!
Expanding Generation Schools Network's Community Engagement Team 

On November 5th, representatives from various companies and organizations participated in Generation Schools Network's Financial Service Sector Community Engagement Team (CET), joining an ongoing conversation about the tangible ways GSN is facilitating workplace learning to engage students, link learning to life, close the opportunity gap, and fuel college and career readiness. Fiduciary Trust Company International hosted staff from the school and professionals from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Black Enterprise, and JP Morgan Chase for a rich conversation about the structures in place to help create these opportunities for students. 

CETs connect passionate professionals and organizations eager to positively impact the landscape of education in New York City and to create real opportunities for individual students. Each CET pulls together professionals from a specific industry - broadly defined. CET members create opportunities for young people that are linked to their professional interest, and ultimately help students engage the real world in practical ways. The professionals visit the school and host workplace visits. They create opportunities for students to shadow workers throughout the day, and connect students to internships. 

We are thankful for the continued support of FTCI in helping us move this important work forward. We are happy to see the Financial Service Sector CET grow and are looking forward to the launch of a STEM CET in January. For more information about how you or your colleagues can become involved, please email volunteer@generationschools.org
Brooklyn Generation School Principal Touts Efforts to Address Equity at Grad Nation Summit

Grad Nation's Community Summit hosted by Zone 126 featured a compelling panel on the role of community schools to address equity and the opportunity gap.

Brooklyn Generation School's Principal Lydia Colon-Bomani joined Jane Quinn (VP of Children's Aid Society and Director of the National Center for Community Schools), Chris Caruso (Executive Director of Community Schools for NYC's Department of Education), Julia Baez (Director of Initiatives for the Family League of Baltimore), and the moderator, Dr. Michael McAfee (VP for programs at Policy Link).

Each panelist highlighted the challenges and opportunities of leading community school efforts, and highlighted the need to close the opportunity gap and advance equity.

Chris Caruso shared the experience of high achieving 3rd graders from an elementary school in the South Bronx. When taking a Common Core exam, the students had trouble answering questions about a passage on the beauty of stained glass windows. Why? Because they had no frame of reference. These students attended storefront churches and have never visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. To them, the word "stained" denoted "dirty", and had nothing to do with beauty. This assessment will score these 3rd graders as not being able to read because of the lack of experience that the test makers assumed. This isn't a literacy issue; it is an equity one. Caruso talked about the opportunity for community schools to broaden students' experiences and build the cultural knowledge assumed of other students.

Principal Bomani echoed points made earlier in the day by Dr. Rudy Crew, that the conventional model of schools does not work and that there is a need for more applied learning. She talked about the success of Brooklyn Generation and gave credit to the Generation Schools model that allows her to solve many of the challenges of conventional schools through the expansion of learning time and opportunities for students.

We are proud of Principal Bomani's work and diligence in making Brooklyn Generation an institution that attends to issues of equity, creating opportunities for its students.

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