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September 2020 Newsletter

As we move into the new virtual semester, we seek to create spaces that continue to build our community and advance our scholarship. Check out Urban Ed’s September 2020 newsletter for all of the program’s happenings. Subscribe here for these updates to be delivered to your inbox twice per semester. You can also find top stories cross-posted here on the student-created Urban Ed website on the CUNY Academic Commons.

Have ideas for what you’d like to see in this space in future issues?  Use this Google form to contribute!

April 2020 Newsletter: Physically Distant, Socially Close Edition

There’s no CUNY red carpet, but if there were one, Urban Ed students would strut, sparkle and shine (walking 6 feet apart). This month, the shout outs section of the Urban Ed newsletter is bursting with the stellar accomplishments of our community members.

We’ve also crowdsourced a special section “Teaching and Learning Through a Pandemic.” Urban ed folks share songs to wash their hands to, tips for virtual pedagogy and scholarship, and the media that’s been getting them through what many are calling “physical” rather than “social” distancing. Stay safe out there!

Access the newsletter here.

Have ideas for what you’d like to see in this space? Use this Google form to contribute! This was technically last newsletter of the semester, but if folks write in with more to share, there will be a special May edition.

February 2020 Newsletter: Here comes the Spring (semester)!

Here comes the Spring semester! (Maybe not the sun just yet.) While you wait for the weather to catch up with the academic calendar, check out this month’s Urban Ed newsletter!

This month, we spotlight some of the authors among us whose books hit shelves this season. We also share upcoming events, and shout out some of the stellar accomplishments of our community members.

Have ideas for what you’d like to see in future issues? Use this Google form to contribute!

Urban Ed Bookworms

Winter is the perfect season for curling up with a good book. Luckily GC Urban ed students, faculty, and alum have plenty on offer. Check out these new titles, coming to a (digital) library or bookstore near you!

En Comunidad: Lessons for Centering the Voices and Experiences of Bilingual Latinx Students

By Carla España and Luz Yadira Herrera

Lessons and units that bring bilingual Latinx students’ perspectives to the center of classrooms.

Pre-order through Heinemann

Dr. Carla España and Dr. Luz Yadira Herrera, both C10, defended their dissertations within a few days of each other in April 2017. During a meal to celebrate the culmination of their seven years of graduate studies, their advisor and mentor, Dr. Ofelia García encouraged them to write together.

“That summer, we thought of the students we taught in our teacher preparation programs, our experiences teaching in NYC public schools, and our advocacy with and for bilingual Latinx children,” Carla said.

“It was a beautiful day, so we had to be outside.” Luz said. “I didn’t have childcare and brought Remi with me, and of course, Carla went full-on teacher mode with him, while we also discussed our ideas for the themes of the book and worked on an outline.” (see below)

That Fall, Carla and Luz crafted chapter one together in the 9th floor skylight cafeteria of the Graduate Center, checking in periodically with Ofelia, who wrote the forward to their book, over FaceTime. The following year they worked on the proposal with their editor, and during most of 2019, they met every Friday to share their progress towards their writing goals.

After nearly three years of work, their book, En Comunidad is nearly in hand. The text shares classroom-ready lessons that amplify the varied stories and identities of Latinx children, creating liberating learning spaces and experiences.

Carla said about the process, “Working as coauthors, friends, and Grad Center alum on this project helped us not only make progress on our book, but also nurture our friendship and reimagine our role in the field of bilingual education.”

Classroom Talk for Social Change: Critical Conversations in English Language Arts

By Melissa Schieble, Amy Vetter and Kahdeidra Monét Martin 

A guide for engaging students in noticing and discussing harmful discourses about race, gender, and other identities.

Pre-order through Teacher’s College Press

Kahdeidra Monét Martin, C16, and Dr. Melissa Schieble, Urban Education faculty member, wrote this book with co-author Amy Vetter to support teachers in having critical conversations in English Language Arts class.

Talking about key issues of race, gender, and other identities with students can be challenging for teachers. This book takes readers through a framework that includes understanding power, taking a stance as a critical learner, getting to know critical pedagogies, engaging in critical talk moves, and exploring issues of vulnerability. It features in-depth classroom examples and offers specific ways that teachers can begin and sustain these important conversations.

Children Framing Childhoods: Working-Class Kids’ Visions of Care 

By Wendy Luttrell

An alternative angle of vision on working class children’s lives—animated by their own photographs, videos, and perspectives over time.

Now available, Bristol University Press
Also see the companion website!

As Dr. Wendy Luttrell, Urban Education Executive Officer put it, she has “lots to report on” this month. Her book, Children Framing Childhoods, challenges those who think about educational research, practice, and policy “to see differently and, thus, set our sights on a better future.” The book describes how a racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse community of young people in Worcester, MA used cameras at different ages (10, 12, 16 and 18) to capture and value the centrality of care in their lives, homes, and classrooms, challenging dominant deficit-based narratives on these populations.

In addition to the book, which hit shelves after Thanksgiving, Luttrell has also launched her book’s accompanying website. Look out for a podcast interview on the Graduate Center website and a Spring book launch and a “salon” hosted by the Women and Gender Studies program.

Reimagining American Education to Serve All Our Children: Why Should We Educate in a Democracy?

By Deborah Greenblatt and Nicholas M. Michelli with Lisa Auslander, Stacy Campo, Sharon J. Hardy, Tina Jacobowitz, and Audra M. Watson.

Examines and re-evaluates the history and purpose of public education in the US

Now available, Routledge

In their new book, Urban Education Emeritus faculty Dr. Nick Michelli, along with Urban Education alumni Drs. Deborah Greenblatt, Lisa Auslander, Stacey Campo, Sharon J. Hardy and Audra M. Watson remind us that education is about more than “workforce development” — it is about providing students of current and future generations with a fulfilling and holistic learning experience. The authors define knowledge from a critical perspective, positioning education as a gateway to endless possibilities. This volume includes activities and strategies for developing assessment techniques which further help to illustrate concepts and discuss the relationship between education and policy.

CS for What? Diverse Visions of Computer Science Education in Practice

By Rafi Santo, Sara Vogel, and Dixie Ching

A framework for using communities’ core values and impacts to shape computer science education pedagogy and policy.

Download digital copy via CS for All

Along with co-authors Dr. Rafi Santo and Dr. Dixie Ching, Urban Ed doctoral candidate, Sara Vogel, C15, launched a paper during December’s Computer Science Education Week to help educators and policy-makers answer the question “CS for What?” It encourages communities to discuss and deliberate around their core values, and to use those values to drive design and implementation of efforts.

November 2019 Newsletter

The air is cool and crisp. You’ve got your tea or coffee brewing, a stack of papers to grade (and to write), and an inbox filled with unread messages. It must be November!

Take a break with GC Urban Ed’s quarterly newsletter! Click here.

This month, the spotlight is on Urban Ed students who use multimedia – podcasting, children’s books, TV journalism and beyond – to share knowledge and build movements. We’ll also update you on events and happenings in the lounge, shout-out some of our community’s stellar accomplishments, and tell you about some new jams and books to keep you going through mid-term.

Have ideas for what you’d like to see in this space in future issues? Write to Sara Vogel at svogel@gradcenter.cuny.edu or use this Google form to contribute!

Urban Ed’s Multimedia Makers

Building knowledge and movements across platforms

Knowledge takes many forms. It can be sung, spoken, embodied, drawn, captured on video, in still images, and beyond. Nobody understands this better than Urban Ed students. Through their work across platforms, communities, disciplines, and media, they push against traditional ways of doing and presenting scholarship, broadening their audiences, and building movements in education and beyond. See below to learn about just a few of Urban Ed’s multimedia makers.


Atasi Das, C15, and LaToya Strong, C12, have hit the one year mark on their podcast, Abolition Science “an anti-colonial project that envisions a science and math delinked from racial capitalism, imperialism, and oppression – a science and math that serves all people.” Season one explores the history and meanings of both abolition and science, and season two takes a deep dive into science in Palestine. By interviewing scholars, activists, students, educators, and artists, and sharing their favorite music, they aim to imagine and shape liberatory alternative math and science futures. Atasi says: “Thanks to all our Urban Ed followers for all the love, support, shares, and listens this year!” Available on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts!

While you’re at it, check out Color Theory Pod, another podcast produced by Urban ed students José Alfredo Menjivar, C12, Robert Robinson, C15, and Makeba Lavan of the English department. It’s all about being black, brown and queer in academia, and in life.

Speaking of podcasts, José Luis Jiménez, C17 (above, third from left), and Kym Vanderbilt, C17, were both interviewed for the Ethical Schools show this semester. They shared their expertise as school leaders and teacher educators. Jiménez, principal of A.C.E. Academy for Scholars, PS 290, in Queens shared a story about coming out to his students, telling the hosts of his episode, “you don’t check a part of yourself at the door,” and describing how he he encourages teachers to design culturally-responsive project-based curricula. Vanderbilt, a Lecturer and Professional Development Liaison in the Early Childhood/Childhood Department at CUNY/Lehman College, traced the complicated history of early childhood education, and described how she supports teacher candidates long after graduation.

When she’s not in class or writing papers, Elena Romero, C19 (above, top row, second from left), is a TV correspondent for the new CUNY TV show, LATINAS, a monthly magazine show focusing on the lives and achievements of influential Latinas. In the premiere September episode, Romero debunked myths about Latinas and diabetes. In October, she featured Susan Jaramillo, the creator of the beloved award-winning bilingual sing-along book and Emmy-nominated animated television series Canticos (airs on Nick Jr.) This month learn the story and impact of La Borinqueña, the Boricua superhero created by graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez. Be on the lookout for future segments on the experiences of Latina Muslims and PhD Latinas. Watch online or view the show on Ch. 75 (Spectrum and Optimum), Ch. 77 (RCN) and Ch. 30 (Verizon FIOS).

While attending the Urban Ed program, alumna Whitney Hollins discovered that there were very few books for children dealing with the topic of incarceration, and those that were out there “were either dark and gloomy, or unrealistic,” as she put it. So she wrote one. Her book, Anna’s Test, seeks to lessen the stigma surrounding incarceration by providing caregivers, educators, and others with a tool to spark conscious conversation. She developed it as a project in a course taught by Dr. Wendy Luttrell. Dr. Luttrell and Hollins’ classmates encouraged her to publish it. “Once I found a directly impacted artist to illustrate the book, I knew everything was coming together,” Hollins said. She self-published in June. “So far it has received a wonderful response, I am looking forward to writing more books about Anna in the future.”

September 2019 Newsletter

The lounge and hearth at 4201/2 are once again filled with laughter, big hugs, and critical conversation — it must be a new semester! As you skim your syllabi, fire up Zotero, and reconnect with your classmates, check out Urban Ed’s September 2019 newsletter for all of the program’s happenings. We are testing out a new format, your feedback is welcome! These updates will be delivered to our students, alumni, and faculty members’ inboxes twice per semester.  To subscribe, click here.

You can also find top stories cross-posted here, at the student-created Urban Ed website on the CUNY Academic Commons.

September 2019: From the Hearth

Happy Fall, 2019. I trust you all had a healthy, restorative and creative summer and are ready for the new rhythms and routines of the semester. I love writing “from the hearth” as a message of gratitude to people who help nourish and sustain our community. This year’s message starts with a word of thanks to a committee of students and faculty who planned a full day Orientation Program for Cohort 19, which students Gladys Aponte, Leylah Bighach and Karen Zaino coordinated and facilitated. The incoming students were invited to make a collage depicting their personal journeys to graduate school. Their images and introductions were powerful, personal, and inspiring. We agreed that these images should be kept in a “time capsule” ready to be re-visited upon graduation.

In that same spirit, I chose an image from David Connor’s art exhibition in the Hearth to express how I want the UE program to be experienced: as a bright, bold, textured set of learning activities, stitched together with a vision of social justice.

I also want to thank Sara Vogel for experimenting with a new format of the newsletter as a means to keep us better connected and informed about program events and the lives of faculty, alumni and students.   Her idea of having a page for “shout outs” is an invitation to recognize and celebrate each other’s accomplishments as well as our affection and appreciation for the people who support us.  Thanks to Wendy Barrales for starting the ball rolling and setting just the right tone!

Finally, the summer was filled with loss and mourning: for Toni Morrison; the victims of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Midland and Odessa, Texas; for families separated at the border; and for the marking of the anniversary of 1919’s “Red Summer” (given this name because of the bloodshed caused by some of the worst white-on-black violence in U.S. history). I also chose Connor’s image because it reminded me of the comfort of quilts and the history of quilt making as a collective endeavor to honor the dead and bring solace to the living. This season, “from the hearth” is also “from the heart” with hopes for a season of healing justice.

– Wendy Luttrell, Executive Officer