Student Voice: Moriah Craig and Christian Addoh-Kondi on Career Development Conference


Wenonah student Kiaria Murray pitches an idea for a Prostate Cancer Walk to honor her late father.

It’s been a few months since our fall Career Development Conference and we have yet to recap the day for you but we hope that it was worth the wait.

Today, we are releasing a short film produced by 1504 Pictures that really captures the excitement we feel for this program, the power of partnership, and the potential of our students. Continue reading

Educator Spotlight: Rebecca Blumenfeld, Spanish teacher, G.W. Carver High School

Dia de los Muertos Birmingham

Blumenfeld and students at a Dia de Los Muertos celebration.

G.W. Carver High School’s Spanish teacher, Rebecca Blumenfeld, has a pretty ambitious idea about foreign language instruction.

“When students leave my classroom,” she says, “I want them to be motivated to become lifelong learners of the Spanish language, to use their Spanish to bridge differences between people, and to help their peers and their community as a whole. I want them to have a better understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the world through experiencing different cultures.” Continue reading

Student Voice: Corina Shipp and She’Lah Shreve

IMG_0030It is easy to go to work when you have days like the one we shared with students in the Academy of Engineering at Carver High School at the end of May.  As part of Bridging the Gap, tenth-grade students brought the school year to a close with a three-part trip to explore career options in the related fields of architecture and construction.


The day began with a tour of the Alabama Theatre, during which students learned about the history of the theatre and its artworks and observed the engineering of the historic Big Bertha Wurlitzer in action, with her intricate pipe system set inside the theatre walls.  Inside lobby, Carver student Corina Shipp had an epiphany.  “This is what I want to do,” she says. “I want to design beautiful things.”


Next, community outreach coordinator and TEDxBirmingham speaker Glenny Brock led students through the Lyric Theatre, a Birmingham landmark that is currently under massive reconstructive.  Students observed the building through the lens of its scaffoldings, walked on the top-level ‘dance floor’ to examine its murals, and followed in the footsteps of theatrical legends on the 100-year-old stage.  Brock spoke candidly with students about the era of segregation, its implications in the construction of the building, and the city’s decision to preserve that history in the reconstruction.

“This is the magic of Birmingham,” said student She’Lah Shreve. “People need to see these places and know our history.”

For the last part of the day, students travelled to Dunn Construction Company, where Bo Walters and Ryan Ferris talked with students about their educational and career paths, the perks of being a building science major, and the differences in the day-to-day jobs of the people who build roads and the people who build buildings.

In this month’s Student Voice, Corina and She’Lah tell us more about the day from their own point of view.  Watch the video below and check out more pictures from the event here.


Student Voice: Birmingham City Students Sound Off About College 101

IMG_0059_2One of Ed’s most long-standing signature programs is College 101, a college-prep initiative supported by Birmingham Coca-Cola Bottling Company United and bolstered by partnerships with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Miles College, Samford, Birmingham Southern, and other Alabama colleges and universities.

IMG_0033_2With College 101, Ed seeks to provide Birmingham City students with a comprehensive knowledge of college admissions and access to best equip them for life after high school.  This year, College 101 included two bi-annual tours, two high achievers tours, FAFSA completion workshops, HBCU presentations, and Entrance Requirement seminars.

IMG_0010_3 The spring bi-annual at UAB was designed to complement fall tours at UAB and Miles – which focused on the social aspect of college life, highlighting achievements of current students, and featuring step performances by fraternities and sororities – with an academic-themed tour.  Student participants had the opportunity to rank their interest in seven departments, and attended break-out sessions and tours that illustrated a major-specific view of life at UAB.  Students in all sessions engaged with faculty regarding popular majors, the job market, and course load, while also asking questions about how best to prepare in high school, choose a post-secondary institution, and prepare for admissions standards, such as the ACT.

At day’s end, many students were eager to talk about their experiences, and lucky for us, we got it all on film.  So check out this month’s Student Voice video to hear from four students about this year’s College 101 tour.

Student Voice: Deja Robinson and Bridging the Gap

IMG_0010On March 19th, students in the Academy of Urban Educators at Parker High School got to see what careers in education look like outside of the traditional classroom setting as part of Ed’s Bridging the Gap series.  For this event, students visited the Southern Museum of Flight to hear about career options in community outreach education and museums, and interacted with partners from Jones Valley Teaching Farm, Birmingham City Community Schools, McWane Science Center, Birmingham Museum of Art, Vulcan Park, and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

IMG_0063Southern Museum of Flight Executive Director Brian Barsanti led students through a session with the flight simulator, and gave students a tour of the museum from the perspective of an educator. “There are so many lessons you can connect to the history of flight,” Barsanti said, “From calculating how much fuel is needed to travel a particular distance to talking about segregation in the military to demonstrating angles of ejection from a plane in distress.”

IMG_0016Additionally, partners from McWane, BCRI, and JVTF led students through sample activities so they could experience the types of interactive learning that their jobs typically warrant.  McWane Director of Education Lawrence Cooper asked students to perform a series of operations to a simple piece of white paper – with their eyes closed – in order to demonstrate how different people interpret directions in different ways.

You can see more pictures for the day here.

But this is the Student Voice section, so we’ll hand it off now to Deja Robinson.  In this month’s video, Deja talks about what the experience meant to her and what opportunities she hopes to pursue.

Visit the Educate Local program page to learn more  or to become a program partner.

Student Voice: Walter Carr and Bridging the Gap

IMG_0026If you haven’t noticed it yet, some of our favorite times at Ed are the ones during which we get to spend time with students.  Bridging the Gap provides a perfect platform for this, both for Ed and a host of local business and community partners that help support career exploration for student in Birmingham City Schools Career Academies.  As part of the program, tenth-grade Academy students have the opportunity to visit our partners’ host sites once a month to learn about a variety of careers in their fields of interest.  Each month, students hear from 5-7 professionals and get to see the environments where they work everyday.

The January tour at UAB Hospital focused on lab careers, and students went behind the scenes at the blood bank, cytology and pathology labs, and in decedent affairs in the morgue.  But, we know you’d rather hear about it straight from the students, so watch the video below for an inside look into Bridging the Gap.  


For this month’s Student Voice piece, we follow Walter Carr, a 10th-grade student at Carver’s Academy of Health Sciences as he participates in a Bridging the Gap tour at UAB Hospital last month for Carver and Jackson-Olin students.  Bridging the Gap was the brainchild of Ed staff and our partners at UAB Health System, who wanted to get students into the hospital as often as possible.  Because of the success of the program at UAB, Ed has expanded the program to serve students at Parker’s Academy of Urban Education, Carver’s Academy of Engineering, and Woodlawn’s Academy of Business and Finance for spring 2014, and will seek to expand to Wenonah’s Academy of Hospitality and Tourism and Huffman’s Academy of Architecture and Construction for the 2014-2015 school year.

Check out more pictures from another trip to UAB Hospital here.

With College 101, Ed takes college admissions to lunch!

c101_1This spring, the 2014 College 101 campaign will provide multiple opportunities for Ed and several Alabama colleges and universities to interact with students and equip them with important information about the college admissions process.  As part of the program, Ed staff are visiting each high school during designated lunch hours to setup College Entrance Requirements Tables (ERTs).  Students that stop by an ERT receive individualized reports detailing the GPAs and ACT scores they need to get into the schools of their choice, have the opportunity to submit their contact info to receive more information, and are encouraged to commit to goal-setting and academic planning early in their high-school careers.

To learn more, visit the College 101 program page, check out this article on, or watch the short clip below that aired recently on WIAT CBS 42.  To find out when the next ERT is scheduled at your school, email us at

Student Voice: Michaelca Miles on Community Service

IMG_0022On December 12, 2013, tenth-grade students in the academies at Woodlawn, Jackson-Olin, Huffman and Wenonah High Schools participated in the inaugural Academy Service Day as part of Ed’s College Prep Institute.  Ed, in partnership with local non-profit YouthServe, assigned over 130 BCS students to six local service sites: Greater Birmingham Humane Society, Community Food Bank, YWCA’s Toys for Tots, Firehouse Shelter, Ronald McDonald House, DHR’s Foster Care Toy Shop.


Click the video below to hear from Michaelca Miles, a student from Woodlawn’s Academy of Business and Finance who joined Ed and YouthServe at the YWCA’s Toys for Tots site, and learn about the experience from the perspective of our students.