New KDSL Global Senior Associate

Ashley S. Green

Meet Ashley Green, our new KDSL Global Senior Associate.

Ashley Green’s passion for global education has led to her teaching in classrooms and collaborating with teachers from all over the world. Her desire to become a global educator began when she taught students in England, and had the chance to make connections between the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program and Common Core standards. Since then, she’s honed those skills in Dubai; in both Elementary and Middle school settings as a full time classroom practitioner.

 

Ashley is a lifelong learner and believes that while she is an educator; she will always be striving to improve her own practice. She’s currently employed as a Middle School Math Teacher Leader, specializing in differentiating within the Secondary Math classroom. She also works as an Achievement Coach, assisting students with preparing for life beyond grade school.

 

Ashley holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and has developed and written curriculums for English, Language Arts and Mathematics for grades 3-8. She obtained a Gifted Endorsement in 2015 and also served as an ambassador for Gifted and Talented Education in Georgia, USA. Ashley was selected in 2018 as the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East.

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KDSL Global Fellows

KDSL Global, based in the United Arab Emirates and in the United States, is pleased to announce our new fellow.  The fellowship will run for one year with a focus on writing, leadership and launching a new education idea.

 

Tifany

Tiffany Johnson was born in Chicago and raised in the south suburbs where she attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School.  After graduation, she attended Illinois State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. During her time there, Tiffany joined The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, which was an organization that linked her with minorities in the STEM fields and awarded her scholarships and mentorship opportunities. Her interest in teaching began in high school and carried her away to her favorite place, New York!  Tiffany taught 6th grade science to a group of brilliant boys in the historic neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy) Brooklyn. She is excited to return back to her roots in Chicago where she teaches 9th grade Biology in the south side neighborhood of Auburn Gresham.  She looks forward to bringing her skills to ensure there is a strong culture of achievement and a fearless interest in the STEM fields.  In her spare time, Tiffany enjoys traveling, Netflix, reading, and spending time with her son and friends.

Encouraging students to consider a career in teaching STEM*

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Profile on Julio Mendez: Science teacher, lifelong learner, and founder of the STEM Education Introductory Program

As well as being a busy Physics and Chemistry teacher in Chicago, Julio Mendez has founded the innovative STEM Education Introductory Program – it gives high school students the opportunity to earn college credit through a series of lectures and hands on teaching practice at a local middle school. We ask him all about the project, and how it came about.


You are a science teacher – where do you teach, and what led you down the path of both STEM and teaching?
 

I teach Physics, Chemistry and the Education 101 class at Perspectives Charter School – Joslin Campus, in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. I also teach Engineering courses (Project Lead The Way curriculum on Saturdays) through Project SYNCERE. This is a non-profit in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.

Teaching is a second career which found me more due to circumstance than through any active effort. I had returned to school for a Physics degree and was looking for a part time job when my wife suggested I look into Project SYNCERE. I decide to go interview and try it, and the rest is history, as they say. I fell in love with the kids’ ability to look past all the crap they are dealt and still seek knowledge. Having been raised on Chicago’s south side and dealing with a lot of the social issues they are living with made me relatable and my natural sarcastic demeanor and ability to look past slights allowed me to create good relationships with the students. I saw at once that this is where I needed to be and then I just found ways to keep pushing myself to learn, grow and sharpen my craft.

The STEM part is easier to explain: I’m a nerd. I love science and all that it tells us about the universe, I always have. I also understand the need for our communities to be better represented within these fields. We have been neglected for a long time and those who looked away are now realizing that they will need us in order for the world to continue its progress.

 

What inspired you to set up this program encouraging high school students to consider a career as science teachers?

When I was considering become even just a part time teacher, I started looking into the profession and the history of teaching and learning. I came to the realization that education is one of the oldest forms of community building that there is. Until recent human history, we have learned everything from the previous generations in our communities. From hunting and gathering, to planting and growing and so on, we learned it all from our elders, who did it before us and learned it from their elders.

When the opportunity with the Shell Oil Company and the Smithsonian Science Education Center and their call for applications came to my attention I knew the solution had to come from within the community, to create a new lineage of education. There is also a long tradition of finding “fixes” for our communities from outside, as if we hadn’t the talent or abilities to be the solutions ourselves. I have seen our children do some incredible things and come up with some huge ideas that would amaze the greatest thinkers, but because they don’t show high scores or even high rates of high school graduation, their ideas and grand thinking and potentials aren’t acknowledged.  Given all this I knew that the solution to a lack of science teachers of color had to come from our own ranks, the students of color. It was just a matter of convincing the kids they could be the solution and that being a teacher is a viable career (harder than it seems) and convince all the powers that be, this is a viable solution (harder than it should be).

 

Could you describe your aim in setting up the Education 101 program? Who is it designed for and what will they learn?

The biggest aim for the program is to give students of color the opportunity to see themselves as STEM subject teachers. Let them see a side of teaching that they don’t get to see; mostly because they have a very different experience with the teaching profession. They do not have the opportunity to see a lot of themselves in these roles, so they can’t identify with the profession. They just need to see they can and some might.

The students in the class are exposed to the history of education in the country, including the injustices our communities have gone through, the  definition of what a STEM teacher needs to be, exposure to informal science education, observing teachers, the complexity of the classroom, the preparation for lessons, reading and writing college level papers. This will be set around Socratic discussions and group projects that will be catered to the students’ abilities and raising expectations at every turn.

Was the creation of your program partly in response to the lack of diversity found in the teaching profession?

The creation of the program most definitely has to do with the lack of diversity in teaching. It is very difficult to be a teacher of color within a system which serves mostly students of color and yet we are an overwhelming numerical minority, especially in the STEM subjects.

 

A Student’s Perspective: Here’s what one of the course participants, Jada Woodard, has to say about the Program

Why did you apply?

I applied to the Education 101 course because I am thinking about being an educator. I thought it would give me the upper hand when I do attend college to study education. In addition, I wanted to find out if it was really something that I wanted to do.

What’s the best thing about the course?
The best thing about the course is that I am able to learn about the previous educational system, the current educational system, and the future of the educational system. I love that I am able to give my perspective as a student while learning the perspective of a teacher. We are able to talk about topics within the educational system that others aren’t willing to talk about, students of colors and teachers.

What’s the hardest part of the course?
The hardest thing about the course is actually putting yourself in the shoes of an educator. My student mindset slightly limits my ability to think like an educator. It is something that we as a class are working on to do.

What are you learning right now?
At the moment, we are learning how to effectively make lesson plans. In a month or sooner, we will able to teach this lesson plan/activity to a middle school class using the five aspects of an effective classroom that we have learned.
I think the reason there are not many STEM teachers of color is because of the lack of knowledge and resources. I think that in some schools STEM is a luxury. Although we do get taught science and math, it’s not taught or introduced in a way that makes it relevant to engineering and technology.

 

To learn more about the STEM Education Introductory Program contact Julio Mendez at jmendez@pcsedu.org.

 

*STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

KDSL Global Teacher Fellowship

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KDSL Global Teacher Fellowship

KDSL Global, based in the United Arab Emirates and in the United States, is looking to provide fellowships for educators each year. We are a leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally. The fellowship responsibilities will include:

  1. Writing. KDSL Global is devoted to sharing and collaborating with K-12 education stakeholders worldwide. A KDSL Global fellow would have the opportunity to contribute to these various sources and introduce new education topics based on their interest.
  2. Leadership. There are many opportunities to learn and expand leadership skills within the organization. KDSL Global organizes conferences and forums focused on the American curriculum in the MENA region. A fellow would collaborate with the team to develop innovative programs and materials and contribute to professional learning opportunities in MENA, USA, and beyond.
  3. Launch. We will work with fellows to launch a new education idea. This could be a product or service specific to their context or created for the global education community.

KDSL Global seeks one resourceful, intelligent, detail-oriented, hard-working individual who are capable of excelling in an intellectually stimulating work environment. Our focus is on educators based in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and Australasia. Research experience is desired, strong writing skills a must, and Internet experience greatly welcome. The time commitment is 5-8 hours virtually a month for this one year volunteer fellowship. Please browse the KDSL Global website at www.kdslglobal.com and www.kdslglobalwordpress.com for more information about the organization.

Individuals interested in a KDSL Global Teacher Fellowship should send a CV and a writing sample about an idea they have that will disrupt the education field to Kevin Simpson at kevin@kdslglobal.com. Select candidates will be interviewed. This fellowship begins on 1 November.