Compassionate Education in the News!
by Kristin Miller
7 months ago
The September 2012 issue of Parent Map has dedicated a significant number of pages to programs teaching compassion in school settings. Read the article and let us know if you know of other compassionate education program or resources we should add to our resources list.
The article features the great work of many charter partners including Seattle's own Lori Markowitz, who is the force behind Youth Ambassadors. Markowitz has made great strides this year -- her pilot compassion classroom project designed with the University of Washington's School of Education is now being offered as a course for credit. The course is designed to combat specific problems for students and teachers -- both combating bullying and raising interest in education as a career. Check out the course description below:
Youth Ambassadors: Introduction to Teaching
In September of 2012 Youth Ambassadors will launch a new course at Cleveland High School entitled “Introduction to Teaching.” The course provides a one-year, problem-based learning experience for high school juniors and seniors, introducing them to the profession of teaching through their service as mentors to ninth- and tenth-grade students who are struggling with issues of attendance, tardiness, and truancy. The course is designed to develop knowledgeable, compassionate, and skilled mentors whose work will (1) significantly improve student attendance and punctuality at Cleveland High School, and (2) increase the likelihood that students will consider a career in education after graduating from high school.
Theory of Action
Students will engage in participatory action research to analyze attendance and truancy issues and the broader
teaching and learning context at Cleveland High School. Using the Youth Ambassadors approach to mentoring,
students will engage with individual students who have high absenteeism. Drawing from Ginsberg’s Motivational
Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching, students will propose actions to significantly improve school
attendance and enact those supported and approved by the Cleveland community.
This course will address two significant educational challenges:
• Absenteeism, Tardiness, and Truancy
School attendance has a significant and direct impact on teaching and learning; consequently, absenteeism,
tardiness, and truancy are serious problems. Between 5 million and 7.5 million students miss a month of school every
year. Between 10 and 15 percent of students nationwide miss at least one in 10 school days. Chronic absenteeism—
defined as missing at least 10 percent of school days—is more prevalent among high-poverty students and is the
best single predictor of whether a student will drop out of school—a choice that severely limits an individual's life
earnings and career potential. Clearly, school attendance is an important issue, one that will be addressed directly by
the Youth Ambassadors class.
• Lack of Diversity in the Teaching Profession
Lack of workforce diversity in the teaching ranks is a serious issue. Nearly half of the nation’s students (44 percent)
are students of color, but the latest data show that just one of every six teachers (16.7 percent) is a teacher of color.
Current trends indicate that, by 2020, the percentage of teachers of color will fall to an all-time low of 5 percent of the
total teacher force, while the percentage of students of color in the system will likely exceed 50 percent. Research
indicates that students of color perform better—academically, personally, and socially—when taught by teachers from
their own ethnic groups. In short, we need more teachers of color in the work force, and the Youth Ambassadors’
Introduction to Teaching class provides an environment for high school students to experience the importance and challenges of a teaching career.