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May e-ClassNotes

M A Y  2  0  1  5

Remembering Derrick Griffith

A beloved New York educator, Derrick Griffith, died in the recent Amtrak train crash. Derrick was a friend and colleague at Classroom, Inc. for many years, before founding CUNY Prep High School and becoming the dean of students at Medgar Evers College. Derrick always stood out as a passionate educator and advocate for students who needed the most support. He was a bundle of energy and enthusiasm, and had an infectious smile and sense of humor, despite the serious issues he devoted himself to. He connected easily with teens who had given up on education as well as with educational leaders. While motivating students to stay in school both at CUNY Prep and at Medgar Evers, he also completed his doctoral dissertation where he examined the underachievement of black students by also considering the impact of their educational aspirations and premature adult life events they had faced. Our hearts go out to his family, especially his son Darryus and his mother Carlea. Derrick often told students and colleagues, “Bless your heart.” Bless your heart, Derrick. You are missed.

Cobble Hill School of American Studies: Editors-in-Chief in the Making

Classroom, Inc. has partnered with Cobble Hill School of American Studies since the summer of 2011. This year, we watched Mrs. Klingensmith’s 9th graders truly extend their roles as editor-in-chief in our learning game After the Storm. The program is being used to directly impact students’ literacy skills in English Language Arts class. During one creative writing assignment, Mrs. K had students choose between writing a story as a local community member who experienced the storm or creating a poem, song, or rap that would give hope to the community as they begin the hard work of cleaning up following the hurricane. In another assignment, students analyzed different texts and letters from historical figures, including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail as well as letters from W.E.B. DuBois, Maya Angelou, and Louis Armstrong to discuss how communication, written correspondence, and language have changed over the past century.

Students are diving into what it would take to be editor-in-chief of their own news magazines. Using the lessons from After the Storm, they are dissecting articles to identify what is effective and what can be improved before they begin to create their own magazines. The 9th graders are also discussing the nuances of leadership and how various styles can impact productivity and morale. We’re so impressed with the many real life and literary connections that Mrs. Klingensmith’s class is making from After the Storm. We know you’ll all be great leaders in the future!

Classroom, Inc. is a 2015 REVERE Awards Finalist

Our literacy learning game After the Storm was named a REVERE Awards finalist! The REVERE (Recognizing Valuable Educational Resources) Awards recognize creative resources that engage 21st century teachers and learners. Produced by the Association of American Publishers PreK-12 Learning Group, the awards are the only of their kind to recognize learning resources in all media, for all ages, and covering a wide array of educational subject areas and learning environments. Winners will be announced on June 3—keep your fingers crossed for us!

3 Cheers for Northern Trust!

It’s pretty wonderful making new friends and we’re saluting Northern Trust—one of our newest—for its support of our work! More than 50 of New York City’s preeminent philanthropic, trust/estate, and financial advisors gathered for an energizing evening to learn about our innovative literacy programs. The event was underwritten by Northern Trust and hosted by Classroom, Inc. Board Member Beverly Fanger Chase, senior counsel at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. As Ms. Chase shared in her remarks to attendees, “Every dollar goes farther at Classroom, Inc.; we are small and entrepreneurial, but we translate limited funds into transformational impact to make a difference in students’ lives.” As result of this great partnership and as part of its 125th anniversary celebration, Northern Trust awarded Classroom, Inc. a $50,000 grant to support our growth capital campaign. A big thank you to our committed board of directors, donors, and friends for joining us at this event. And three cheers for Northern Trust for supporting education programs across the country!

Appreciating Educators!

Earlier this month, we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. We know that being an educator is tough stuff, and we are so grateful to all the dedicated individuals who we get to partner with each year. We couldn’t do our work without you. Here’s to all the educators making a difference in children’s lives!

What we're reading
The Only Metric That Matters in EdTech: Student Outcomes, Forbes: This article makes the case for the only metric that should truly matter when we measure the effectiveness of edtech tools: the success of our students.Moving Beyond the ‘Does Blended Learning Work’ Question, edSurge: Michael Horn notes the promise of blended learning and the very real potential for the concept to transform education.An Atlas of Upward Mobility Shows Path Out of Poverty, NY Times: A new large study shows that children growing up in low-income communities in some cities have a much higher chance of escaping poverty than children elsewhere.

We’re making our plans for various events over the next couple months. Want to meet up with us?

Email: CInewsletter@classroominc.org

Tweet at us: @ClassroomInc

ISTE 2015:Philadelphia, June 28-July 1
Games Learning Society:Madison, WI, July 8-10