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Reclaiming Common Ground: A Cross-Border Conference for British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon teachers


Dear Portland Rethinking Schools friends,

Not to be missed: the upcoming "Reclaiming Common Ground: A Cross-Border Conference for British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon teachers." This is a first of its kind conference. Please try to make it. Conference keynoters are Naomi Klein and Seth Klein.

Date: Saturday, April 7, 2018
Time: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
​At Sullivan Heights Secondary School
​6248 144 St., Surrey, BC. in Surrey, British Columbia.

Conference organizers write:

"Recent history in the US and Canada records multiple attacks on public education in many forms. Public education as a common space, the foundation of a democratic society, has lost ground over the past 10 years. It’s time to reclaim the space that’s been lost to the voices of hate, bigotry, and neoliberalism. It’s time for teachers to re-engage in their important role in the process of social transformation.

"We invite teachers and activists to examine and re-imagine the public school as common ground for the nurturing of the progressive democratic ideals of equity, inclusion and justice. We encourage participants to reflect on their students’ development as citizens capable of understanding issues of poverty, racism, homophobia, disabilities, and culture. Teachers are in a position to respond to these themes in the classroom in a way that upholds basic democratic ideals and principles.

"Teachers from British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington will come together to connect across borders in this first ever cross border social justice conference. Come! Bring your colleagues!"

A number of Rethinking Schools editors and writers will be offering workshops, along with other outstanding educators from around the region. We will have Rethinking Schools/Zinn Education Project tables there.

Please join us.

Bill Bigelow
Curriculum Editor
Rethinking Schools

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner at Madison High School, Thursday -- Climate Change and Our Classrooms


Dear Portland Rethinking Schools friends,

Please join the Portland Public Schools Climate Justice Committee and Rethinking Schools this Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Madison High School Library (4 pm to 6 pm) for an afternoon with Marshall Islands performance poet and activist Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner: "From the Frontlines of Climate Change to Our Classrooms."

Kathy has performed around the world -- including at the opening of the UN climate talks in 2014. It's a rare treat to have her perform for educators in Portland.

Resolution #5272, passed unanimously by the PPS school board in 2016, says that "All Portland Public Schools students should develop confidence and passion when it comes to making a positive difference in society, and come to see themselves as activists and leaders for social and environmental justice -- especially through seeing the diversity of people around the world who are fighting the root causes of climate change."

Come and listen to Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and talk about how we can implement this resolution in our schools and classrooms.

The facebook page for this event is: https://www.facebook.com/events/153441031974640/

Bill Bigelow, for the Portland Public Schools Climate Justice Committee and Rethinking Schools

Jim Wallace, 1929 - 2017 / Memorial Service, Sunday, December 3

Friends of Portland Rethinking Schools,

Some of us on this email listserv knew Jim well, some may have known him as an acquaintance, and many not at all. His passing is a chance to recognize the important part he played in helping establish and build the community of progressive teachers, other educators, and community members that we see around us today. 

First as director of the Reed MAT program in the late 60’s and early 70’s, and later in the Lewis and Clark Education Department, Jim attracted, supported and inspired others dedicated to the democratizing potential of public education. From early days as a Quaker service volunteer, public school teacher and counselor, Jim had a steadfast commitment to the public good, to social justice and public schools.

In Portland, hundreds of us have had the direct benefit, and example, of Jim’s teaching: skilled, humane, engaging, respectful, and in the service of a powerful social vision. He also leaves a more personal legacy: his dedication to family and friends, his decency, his loving and generous nature, his intelligence, his sense of humor and enthusiastic love of making music.

A memorial service will be held at Lewis & Clark College from 2-5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Smith Hall (formerly known as "Albany"). 
Jim's obituary in the Oregonian is HERE. You can view and contribute to a guest book there. 

An RSVP would be helpful for the planners, but please don’t let not RSVPing keep you away. RSVP to <shermand@teleport.com>.
Doug Sherman (Reed MAT 1971)

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Attend the 2017 NW Teaching for Social Justice Conference


Dear Rethinking Schools friends,

Our 10th annual NWTSJ Conference is just a week and a half away: Saturday, October 21, at Chief Sealth International High School in Seattle.

Take a look at the program at our website, www.nwtsj.org. More than 75 amazing workshops; a morning keynote by New York City teacher activist Brian Jones, on Teaching to a Future We Cannot Yet See"; special panels on ethnic studies and early-career teacher issues; and dozens of community and education groups at our Resource Fair -- including a full display of Rethinking Schools books and magazines.

The conference is still just $30 -- and $5 for students, including people in teacher education programs -- and that includes coffee and tea in the morning, lunch, and much more.

Need help with housing in Seattle? Write our NWTSJ Housing Coordinator, Peter Henry:

Don't miss this festival of justice and imagination. Come and meet other people of conscience from around the Northwest who are working to improve our schools -- and the world. www.nwtsj.org

The conference is sponsored by Puget Sound Rethinking Schools, Social Equality Educators, the Oregon Writing Project at Lewis & Clark College, the Portland Association of Teachers, the Portland-area Critical Educators Collective, and Rethinking Schools magazine.

NWTSJ Conference Proposal Deadline: July 1


Dear Portland Area Rethinking Schools friends,

The deadline for workshop proposals for this year's Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference is this Saturday July 1st. NWTSJ is a festival of idea-sharing, inspiration, and resources. The conference rotates between Portland and Seattle, and this October 21st, for our 10th annual gathering, we'll be back in Seattle, at Chief Sealth International High School.

We depend on social justice educators and community activists sharing their wisdom through participatory workshops. Please consider proposing a workshop: http://nwtsj.org/workshop-proposal-applications/.

The website also includes past programs, so you can see the kind of workshops we have featured through the years. These focus on K-12 classroom teaching, education activism, policy concerns, and more.

The conference is sponsored by Rethinking Schools, along with organizations throughout Oregon and Washington: Puget Sound Rethinking Schools, the Washington Education Association, the Portland Association of Teachers, Social Equality Educators, the Critical Educators Collective, the Oregon Writing Project at Lewis & Clark College, and Portland Area Rethinking Schools.

In these scary times, educators of conscience need each other more than ever. Please consider proposing a workshop for this year's Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference.

Upcoming Anti-Bias Education Workshop from Katie Kissinger


Dear Portland Area Rethinking Schools friends,

Please consider registering for this workshop, led by Rethinking Schools friend and author, Katie Kissinger:

Now More Than Ever Recommitting to Anti-Bias Education

This workshop will validate previous efforts to implement anti-bias education in early childhood classrooms along with inspiring new consideration for the importance of this work. Participants will share stories, learn the most current understandings of social identities, and gain tools and strategies for responding to the needs and inclusion of all children and families. Supporting young children in their positive identity development and in learning about differences is more critical in our society than it has ever been. Join us for an in-depth exploration of this important topic for Elementary and Early Childhood teachers.

Join Katie Kissinger, Educator, ECE Consultant and College Instructor and OCCD Master Trainer for this workshop.

Date and Time June 24th 9:30-11:30 am
Cost $25 (cash or check only)
Location Wild Lilac CDC 3829 SE 74th Ave. Portland, Oregon

Katie is the author of the newly released “Anti-bias Education in the Early Childhood Classroom: Hand in Hand, Step by Step” published by Routledge Press in March of 2017. The workshop will be followed by a book reading and signing from 11:30-12:00. All workshop participants will receive a $5 off coupon to purchase Katie’s new book at the event!

To register or learn more: katiek@journeytowardjustice.org

Submit a Workshop Proposal for NW Teaching for Social Justice Conference


Dear Portland Area Rethinking Schools friends,

It's that time again. We are asking people to submit workshop proposals for next fall's Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference. We'll be back at Chief Sealth International High School in Seattle -- Saturday, October 21.

As many of you know, the NWTSJ Conference is a festival of conscience, creativity, and inspiration. Please consider participating as a workshop presenter. Here, below, are details from our website. All links can be found on this page: http://nwtsj.org/workshop-proposal-applications/ Proposals are due by July 1.

< Express a social justice perspective.
Be hands on and practical.
Give participants a chance to talk to one another.
Before you begin the proposal application form, please download our sample workshop overview and use it as a guide to create a detailed workshop lesson plan, including timeline and activities.

Once you’ve completed your workshop overview, please enter the required information on the workshop proposal form. Near the end of the form, you will be prompted to upload your workshop overview document. Please upload a word document and not a PDF.
All proposals must be submitted by Friday, July 1st, 2017. Any questions please contact rfp@nwtsj.org.>>

Again, all links can be found here: http://nwtsj.org/workshop-proposal-applications/

This work is more important than ever. Thanks for being part of a movement for social justice education.


Bill Bigelow
for the NWTSJ Organizing Committee

Portland Area Rethinking Schools has a 30+ year history of working to support public education and progressive reform in the schools. We are teachers, parents, students, community activists and teacher educators who believe excellent and equitable public schools are essential for all students to reach their potential and for the creation of a just and democratic society.