For years, WKCD kept track of upcoming grant opportunities and awards for middle and high school students. For better or worse, we've decided to drop this feature. To tell the truth, it's been hard to come up with a compelling list every month or two. We've been astonished (and saddened) at how few substantive grant and award programs there are for young people who want to think big and make a difference. For a reliable, ongoing list of what is available do see http://www.ysa.org/grants.
On the other hand , we've decided to round up each month a small collection of articles, resources, and examples of youth voice that synch with our commitment to saluting the contributions of America's adolscents and supporting first generation students.. These "Shout Outs" will first appear on the WKCD homepage and then be archived on this page.
The Story Behind the Absolutely "Worst Day Ever" Poem The first time you read Brooklyn high school student Chanie Gorkin's poem,"Worst Day Ever," it comes across as contentious. It begins: "Today was the absolute worst day ever/ And don't try to convince me that/ There's something good in every day/ Because, when you take a closer look/ This world is a pretty evil place." But if you read the poem again from the bottom to the top, the message flips. That clever twist is what made the poem go viral. In a recent interview on NPR's The Take Away, Gorkin explains why she wrote the poem and her surprise at the response.
Summer of Science "School is out, but science is everywhere." That's the tagline for a new online feature at the New York Times. A recent post describes an encounter with a venomous tree frog in Brazil. Another probes a dying star's remains. A third describes looking for clues to early life in an underwater volcano. "Bear viewing never gets boring," scientist Jenna Schnuer writes about her visit to Katmai National Park in Alaska, where the bears on Explore.org's bear-cams live.
PublicUniversityHonors.com More and more public schools are starting and expanding honors programs, including honors colleges that give students some of the perks of private schools without the exorbitant tuition. "While they're hardly secrets," writes Frank Bruni of the NY Times, "they don't get quite the attention from college applicants--most notably from those fixated on the Ivy League and its ilk--that they deserve." This new web site fills that gap.
Unlocked: An Investigation into Juvenile Incarceration and Its Alternatives Reported over four months, "Unlocked" is a three-part investigation into alternatives to juvenile incarceration, produced by young people at the award-winning Youth Radio. Their investigation documents how moves away from juvenile incarceration nationwide are affecting youth and the system, sometimes with unintended consequences. Youth Radio is a nationally acclaimed media production company that trains diverse young people in digital media and technology.
Adobe Youth Voices Awards Started in 2006, Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) engages youth across the globe in developing digital media to drive change in their communities. Each year, AYV recognizes the best of these youth-produced media. Among this year's 15 winners, a Palestinian teenage refuge named Majed recalls the day a fire destroyed the refugee camp in the Iraqi desert where he lived with his family for five years ("Better Than Baghdad"). In her collage "Representation Matters," 17-year-old Asian-American Valerie Kao urges the media to "go beyond exclusive standards on beauty, race, and other elements of self-identity."
Five Steps for Bringing Educational Justice to Your Community Started in 2006, Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) engages youth across the globe in developing digital media to drive change in their communities. Each year, AYV recognizes the best of these youth-produced media. Among this year's 15 winners, a Palestinian teenage refuge named Majed recalls the day a fire destroyed the refugee camp in the Iraqi desert where he lived with his family for five years ("Better Than Baghdad"). In her collage "Representation Matters," 17-year-old Asian-American Valerie Kao urges the media to "go beyond exclusive standards on beauty, race, and other elements of self-identity."
Five Steps for Bringing Educational Justice to Your Community Last year, parents, students, teachers and community members in Los Angeles achieved a huge victory: they successfully pushed the LA school board to adopt the "Equity Is Justice Resolution," which will direct the distribution of new state funding to prioritize the highest-needs students and schools. A new, short, bilingual video--from the Schott Foundation for Public Education and the Community Coalition--highlights the campaign and the dedicated parents and young people who made equity the guiding principle of their city's school funding system.
Uncovering the Tripwires to Postsecondary School Success (PDF) This remarkable report by 60 self-selected Kentucky middle and high school students and college undergraduates--all members of the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team--uncovers the unacknowledged barriers behind the state's troubling postsecondary graduation rates. In addition to poring over the latest research and data, the team interviewed academics, policymakers, parents, teachers, administrators and, most notably, students statewide to understand the challenges inherent in the postsecondary transition experience. See also an excellent article about the report by one of its high school authors.
What Middle-Schoolers Think About the Pope Middle-schoolers and Pope Francis have a lot in common. They love animals. They're anti-mafia. And they have some pretty enlightened ideas about what it means to be compassionate. On the eve of Pope Francis's visit to New York City, WNYC (the city's public radio station) talked to a group of students at Saint Saviour Catholic Academy in Park Slope, Brooklyn, about the "People's Pope," and what big issues he should take on.
Radio Rookies Talk About Romance and Relationships For years, WNYC has provided a platform for the award-winning Radio Rookies, a citywide program for NYC youth. In a new series, Radio Rookies turns up the volume on the challenges of teen love and relationships, both when they soar and when they crash. First Loves features four young people who are learning for the first time what it means to be in a healthy relationship. In What I Want, 15 young people show that when it comes to figuring out love, the devil is in the details. If you've never been in a serious relationship before, how do you know what you want? In Crushed Teens and Dating Abuse, Radio Rookies report on the impact of abuse on their lives and their families.
Being 12: The Year Everything Changes Here's another Radio Rookies series you won't want to miss. Everyone knows that 12 can be a tough age. Kids shed layers, test new roles, and transform before our eyes as they try on new identities. Their brains and bodies hit overdrive. Romances bloom and fade. Friendships mean the world and loneliness hurts. And school gets harder. The stakes ramp up in so many ways. Radio Rookies' "Being 12" brings to life the experiences of an array of young New Yorkers.
Kids on Race: "People Think I'm Supposed to Talk Ghetto, Whatever That Is As part of "Being 12," Radio Rookies took up the special issue of race. After a year that saw high-profile police shootings plus the deadly attack on a black church in South Carolina, middle school teachers told WNYC their classrooms were abuzz with personal and sometimes difficult conversations. And they didn't always feel prepared to handle what came up. In this video, we hear directly from the students. They answer the question "who am I?" Their answers will surprise you.
Everybody's Different For more than 30 years, New York City's Youth Communication has trainied a diverse teen writing staff to provide content with special relevance and appeal to marginalized youth. It has also evolved to reach audiences through video, the web, books, and curricula. This short film about Johileny Meran, a disabled and homeless Brooklyn high school honor student, was recently voted a web favorite and aired on public television (Channel Thirteen). Click here to read the story Johileny wrote for YCteen.
Young Activists Getting Results—in Chicago, Across the Nation For more than five years, a determined group of young people has demanded that University of Chicago Medicine open a trauma center on the South Side. From Ferguson, Missouri, where the "Black Lives Matters" movement took off, to the South Side of Chicago, where Fearless Leading by the Youth launched the trauma center campaign, young people are leading the call for justice. And increasingly across the country, they are strategically amplifying their message to get results.
California’s Upward-Mobility Machine The University of California is struggling with budget woes that have deeply affected campus life. Yet the system’s nine colleges still lead the nation in providing top-flight college education to the masses, according to the New York Times. This excellent article explores in depth what these U. of C. colleges are doing to insure that their students thrive, regardless of their backgroundand today's less than bright data around diversity—and higher education and what needs to be done. The article includes several videos of first generation college students talking about their experiences.
Homework: A New User's Guide This NPR story maps out six, research-based polestars that should help guide you to some reasonable conclusions about homework. How much homework do U.S. students get? How much do students in other countries get? How much homework is too much? Does homework improve students' performance? What kind of homework is most effective?
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“There’s a radical—and wonderful—new idea here… that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world.”
– Deborah Meier, educator