PARTNER POST: YouthServe & Student Changemakers Councils

E7205905-3AF8-44CF-A277-2B259975DC7AStudent Changemaker Councils (SCC) began in the Spring of 2016 with the idea to create student-led councils that focused on serving the community in positive ways while creating space for students to have time and resources to research, plan, and implement a project that supports the communities around their schools. Student Changemakers Councils Prepares third through 12th grade students to be civically minded and engaged in their community.

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Letters from Ed: Katrina Dada

With great enthusiasm, I offer a few words about why I engage in the work we do at the Birmingham Education Foundation (Ed). I am always reminded of how privileged I am to work on behalf of students when I’m ask, “So Mrs. Dada, what do you do?” to which I respond with the utmost excitement “THIS is my job!” Ed provides the chance for me to build a network of great stakeholders and partners who work together to offer opportunities to prepare our students for college, career, and life after high school graduation.

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Ed Alumni: Aspen Gorman

Aspen Gorman is a Freshman and a Business major with a concentration in Supply Management at Tennessee State University. Aspen graduated from A.H. Parker High School in 2017, and got her start working with the Ed Foundation as a student in the Academy of Urban Educators at A.H. Parker. At Tennessee State, Aspen is a Supply Chain Ambassador and a member of the Pep Club, and even after attending college out-of-state, Aspen continues to participate with Ed by being one of the Ed Alumni Group founders.

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Letters from Ed: CeCe Lacey

Student, parent, educator, community partner, teammate, or friend:

It is with gratitude and pride that I write to you today to share a tiny glimpse into my life at the Birmingham Education Foundation. The beauty of this opportunity is that it reiterates how much this team truly values bringing all voices to the table. Just as much as we want to share our stories, thoughts, and ideas with you, we want to hear yours even more. This is a journey we are taking together and it would not be able to be successful any other way. Continue reading

Ed Alumni: Robyn Gulley

For the first Alumni Feature of the school year, Kendal Harris sat down with Robyn Gulley, a Political Science major and sophomore at Birmingham-Southern College. Robyn graduated from Ramsay High School in 2016, and during her time at Ramsay, she was very active in Ed’s programs, including Ed Family Game Night.

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Educate Local: Building Skills with BCS Seniors

On Friday, October 13, seniors from all seven high schools in Birmingham City Schools met at the Harbert Center for the skill-building conference on public speaking. Participating students had worked with volunteer presenters, Ed staff, and their teachers to produce personal commentaries, which they wrote, practiced, and perfected through in-school sessions, before giving presentations to volunteers from Rotary Club of Birmingham.

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Partner Post: GEAR UP Birmingham

GEAR UP Birmingham Prepares Birmingham City Schools 9th and 10th Grade Students for Collegiate Success

GEAR UP Birmingham (GUB) is a federally funded initiative, currently serving a cohort of 9th and 10th grade students attending Birmingham City Schools. The initiative began in 2014, when the current cohort of students were just entering 6th and 7th grades.

“The grant was written with longevity and sustainability in mind”, said Dr. Kisha Tolbert Simmons, NBCT, Project Director, GEAR UP Birmingham. “It offers cohort students opportunities to participate in college awareness and preparation services throughout their middle and high school years, in an effort to promote and support postsecondary education attainment”, she said.

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A Letter from Ed

This Letter from Ed comes from Strategy Director Victoria Hollis. To learn more about Victoria, visit our Staff page here. To learn more about her role as Strategy Director, go here.

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Ask me why I do what I do and I’ll hand you a list like a phonebook. 25,000 names of kids in Birmingham City Schools and I am not lying when I tell you I do it for every single one.

I met Triniti and Josselyn when they were in the tenth grade. Continue reading

Lessons in Game-Changing: Three Internship Short Stories

Imagine us last summer, our program staff of six – the Hexapod – spread out across the city in different board rooms and different office buildings, sitting across a conference table or a desk making the same ask to twenty different partners:

“We think this idea is the game-changer. Are you in?”

What we were talking about, of course, was Ed’s Executive Internship Program (EIP), a pie-in-the-sky idea four years in the making, a seed planted on our first site visit to UAB Hospital, the answer to the questions we’d been asking ourselves since 2012: “How are we making a difference in the lives of our kids in Birmingham City Schools?” Continue reading

Educator Spotlight: Erik Batson, Academy Coordinator, Jackson-Olin High School

Despite the impressive list of places where he has taught—from the Bronx, to Austin, Texas, to the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina—you’d be hard-pressed to
find a teacher anywhere that has as much enthusiasm for their system as Erik Batson has for Birmingham City Schools.

Sitting at a table at Starbucks in Five Points South, wearing cycling clothes complete with a “Brooklyn”-emblazoned cycling cap, he professed, “I love my job. I love working for Jackson-Olin, and I love working for Birmingham City Schools—much better than other places I have been.” Continue reading

Program Spotlight: Camp Invention at Princeton Elementary

During the week of June 6 at Princeton Elementary, third-grader Jihan showcased the ‘prototype’ of an educational toy that he designed as part of Camp Invention. “I made something for little children to learn to read,” he said of the design, which used parts from a retired desktop PC keyboard, the keys popped out and rearranged. “This way my sister has to know what the letter looks like,” he said, “not just  the order.” On the top right corner of the keyboard, a small, green LED light attached with duct tape to a watch battery lights up when pressed. “If you get the letter right, you get the green light,” he explained. Continue reading

Partnership Feature: Birmingham Rotary Club

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Group tables gave students the opportunity to get feedback from Rotary mentors and their peers on pitching a presentation topic.

If you ever start to doubt the magnitude of the investment that the Birmingham community has placed in the success of our students, let me borrow an hour of your time and introduce you to Sanjay Singh, President of the Birmingham Rotary Club.

“Our members look forward to the Career Development Conference each semester,” says Singh. “Sitting across from these students, what stands out the most is their potential, their ambition, and their genuine desire to be change-makers in their community. It is an honor and a privilege to work one-on-one with Birmingham’s youth, supporting them as they prepare for their futures.” Continue reading

Partnership Feature: UAB Hospital’s Amanda Dubois

UAB Hospital Guest Services manager Amanda Dubois

UAB Hospital Guest Services manager Amanda Dubois

If there is one person that is responsible for helping to define Ed’s Bridging the Gap program, it is our friend and partner, Amanda DuBois.

A longtime resident of Birmingham, DuBois grew up in the UAB Hospital System, and received her BA in English from Tulane University in 1988 and a Masters in Social Work from the Univ. of Alabama in 1994. Continue reading

Student Voice: Thank you to our partners (in our students’ own words)!

5Last month, Ed and Rotary Club brought together over 50 individual volunteers to pull-off the fall Career Development Conference on Public Speaking for seniors in the Academies of Birmingham at six-BCS high schools.  Over the course of three months, students participated in in-school sessions that equipped them with the knowledge and skills they need to choose a presentation topic, engage their audience, and develop an elevator pitch.  Their hard work culminated in a full-day professional conference, where they learned event more about the art of storytelling, executive presence, and how to develop a presentation.   Continue reading

11/02/2017: Wylam Network Night at Faith Chapel

On Thursday November 2, 2017, Wylam K-8 hosted their first network night of the academic year. Students, teachers, neighbors and community leaders gathered together at Faith Chapel to discuss what the community could do to improve the school. Our Network Nights are designed in a way that allows us to work with our communities to address any needs they need met. Check out the photos below!  Continue reading

9/26/2017: 3rd Annual Ed Family Game Night

On Tuesday September 26, 2017, the Birmingham Education Foundation hosted its annual fundraiser, Ed Family Game Night! Ed Family Game Night provides an opportunity for four seniors from the Birmingham City School District to compete alongside executives at corporations such as Protective life, Adamson West, UAB, and Alabama Power! Our winner this year was Brooklin Ballard, who played on Team Protective Life! Check out the photos below!  Continue reading

11/17/2017: 10th grade Skill Building Conference on Democracy

On Friday November 17th, in partnership with Christian & Small our 10th grade students had the opportunity to craft and present an argument on how to be advocates and participants in a democratic society. Students were able to hear from Birmingham city officials, like Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin and also got the chance to hear from a panel on how to advocate for their opinions presented by Dr. Nyesha Black, T. Marie King, and Eva Kendrick. Check out the photos below!  Continue reading

10/13/2017: 12th Grade Skill Building Conference on Public Speaking

On Friday October 13th, the Birmingham Education Foundation hosted our first skill building conference of the new school year with our partners from the the Birmingham Rotary and Rotaract clubs. Our students were able to gain experience in public speaking by getting to hear from keynote speaker Cedric Sparks, listening to local professionals speak about their ideas and at the end of the day students were able to give their personal commentaries, where some students were able to receive the golden ticket to be able to further share their stories with WBHM. Check out the photos below!  Continue reading