21 episodes

Take a deeper look at the new teaching and learning strategies that are transforming our nation. Hear from the nation‘s leading voices in education and from students whose lives have been transformed through new culturally responsive programs and practices that focus on improving students‘ social and emotional well-being. Learn how to adapt successful solutions in schools to create positive change in your home and community.

Defining US: Voices of Change Defining US

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Take a deeper look at the new teaching and learning strategies that are transforming our nation. Hear from the nation‘s leading voices in education and from students whose lives have been transformed through new culturally responsive programs and practices that focus on improving students‘ social and emotional well-being. Learn how to adapt successful solutions in schools to create positive change in your home and community.

    Voices of Change with Nicole Yarde: Generational Trauma

    Voices of Change with Nicole Yarde: Generational Trauma

    In this episode, Stacey DeWitt interviews Nicole Yarde, a passionate and dedicated educator and community leader committed to the development of students, educators, and families. With over 20 years of experience, Nicole has made a career of developing programs that center on the social justice, liberatory education and social-emotional well-being. Nicole has developed several programs, including the Emerging Leaders for Social Justice Institute (ELSJI) within the Office of Equity and Access, with the goal of improving the personal relationships of youth and the way they relate and respond to injustice. Her recent project, The Change Agent Academy, focuses on liberatory education supporting the transformation of oppressive societal structures and promoting more just and equitable communities.  
     
    Nicole is resolute in dedicating her time, energy, and voice to disrupting historical, systemic, social and racial inequities that continually work to impede the advancement of students of color. Nicole holds a B.S. in English and Journalism from Medgar Evers College (CUNY) and an M.A. in International Education from NYU.   
     
    Powerful Moments   
     
    Pay attention throughout this podcast to powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed, including:   
    0:34 – Nicole discusses growing up in Barbados and how education played a key role in her life. 
    5:18 – Nicole discusses the stereotyping of black boys and the education practices surrounding them in this country. 
    9:24 – Nicole talks about Generational Trauma and the effect it has on a person. What does it mean to have a reinforced negative narrative? 
    17:53 – Nicole explains the approach of “starting with the mind” in her work and the importance of young men talking about how they feel. She speaks on educators and the need to begin with affirming young men, valuing them, and seeing them.  
    20:17 – Nicole explains what Generational Trauma means to her. 
    27:14 – Nicole explains her approach to social emotional learning and shares the story of the student who brought her to create the Change Academy.  
     

    • 42 min
    Voices of Change with Tami Pyfer: The Dignity Index and UNITE

    Voices of Change with Tami Pyfer: The Dignity Index and UNITE

    Defining US uses the power of media and the promises of education to inspire educators to join the conversation on the socio-political cultural issues that matter. In this episode of Defining US… Stacey DeWitt interviews Tami Pyfer. Tami Pyfer is the Vice President of External Affairs for UNITE – a nonprofit organization that promotes national unity and solidarity across differences. Tami also serves as Chief of Staff to UNITE President and CEO, Tim Shriver, and is the Utah Project Lead for the Dignity Index initiative. Before joining UNITE, Tami served as Education Policy Advisor to former Utah Governor Gary Herbert, where she was involved in state-level education policy development, coalition building, and stakeholder engagement. She held local and state elected office for 12 years, including 4 years on the Utah State Board of Education. Tami’s professional training is in Special Education and before her appointment to serve on the Governor's executive team she worked at Utah State University, teaching coursework and supervising student teachers in the Special Education teacher preparation program. Tami and her husband Aaron are the parents of 5 children, and grandparents of 10.  
    Powerful Moments  
    Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.  
    1:11 - Tami discusses her experiences and background in education and working on the State Board of Education in Utah.
    5:58 - Tami discusses her experience with policymakers and the disconnect in communication between them and students, educators, and parents. 
    10:46 - Tami introduces the real meaning behind UNITE that it is not that everyone’s voices should be the same, it means that everyone’s diverse voices have a seat at the table and are heard. 
    19:33 - The introduction and importance of the Dignity Index. 
    26:10 - The introduction of the Dignity Index scale going from 1 through 8 and it is meant to ease divisions, prevent violence, and help us solve problems. 
    55:25 - The Dignity Index is not only for political conflict resolution, but also can apply to any conflict resolutions especially among educators.  

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Voices of Change with Bill Caritj: Making Great Schools

    Voices of Change with Bill Caritj: Making Great Schools

    For forty years, I was fortunate to lead the assessment, evaluation, and accountability departments of nine public school districts, including six of the largest in the nation – Washington, DC, Baltimore, St. Louis, Austin, Atlanta, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). In almost every instance, my position was relatively independent of the internal and external “politics.” As a result, I am not biased toward or against any particular theory, philosophy, or program. My only bias is to results.  Over the years, I have had a wide range of responsibilities including state and local test development, standards alignment, school improvement, information technology, and instructional technology. From 2014-2021, I supervised the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Information Technology, Instructional Technology, Assessment, Research, Evaluation, and Data and Information divisions. Over that period, our teams were credited with restoring the integrity and public trust in the district’s assessment, accountability, and data and information systems after the cheating scandal of 2008. During the COVID pandemic, these outstanding teams were also responsible for enabling and supporting the high quality, virtual programs provided each day to over 50,000 students who were forced to receive their daily instruction at home.  Since “retiring” from the Atlanta Public Schools, I’ve been very busy – working on a book, “How to Fix Our City Schools”, publishing a monthly newsletter (of the same name), and launching the Capital Schools Consulting Group (CSCG). CSCG services include executive coaching, training, evaluation, and data analytic services to district leaders and school boards. “How to Fix Our City Schools” is part memoir and part handbook and while I am very excited about finally completing an almost final draft, the process has made me even more acutely aware of the disappointment I feel about the missed opportunities and failures of the last forty years and my fear that they will continue indefinitely for future generations of poor and disadvantaged children.  
    Powerful Moments 
    Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   
    1:54 – Bill’s background and history of his career 
    6:30 – Creating a teaching strategy myths and truths 
    8:15 – Restoring public trust in public education  
    13:19 – Standards and evidence-based designations around curricula 
    19:00 – The effects of reading reform on students 
    21:57 – The effects of reading reform on equity 
    29:14 – Addressing all needs of all children 

    • 33 min
    Voices of Change with Suzanne McCormick: YMCA’s Bold Vision for the Future

    Voices of Change with Suzanne McCormick: YMCA’s Bold Vision for the Future

    As the first female CEO of the YMCA in 171 years, Suzanne McCormick joins the Defining US podcast with Stacey DeWitt to share her bold vision for the future. YMCA of the USA is a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, engaging 11 million members annually, including 4 million under the age of 18.
    Suzanne became President and CEO of YMCA in September 2021. She has 27 years of experience as a local and national executive leader in the nonprofit sector, most recently as U.S. President for United Way Worldwide and a member of its global management team. As President, Suzanne was responsible for helping the 1,100 United Ways across the U.S. build more resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities. Under her leadership, the United Way tackled community challenges with innovative, equitable and systemic solutions. 
    “Defining US” uses the power of media and the promise of education to inspire educators to join the conversation on social, political and cultural issues that matter.
    Powerful Moments 
    Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   
    1:08 – Suzanne McCormick discusses her experiences and the key things she’s learned in the changing times we’re living in
    3:20 – The purpose the YMCA serves and its true impact on the community
    6:40 – The importance of “local solutions”
    9:40 – Suzanne’s background and what her motivator is for the work she does
    14:50 – We need a moment of reconciliation
    19:10 – The values of the YMCA
    22:50 – Suzanne’s outlook for the YMCA in the future and the impact they can continue to have
    26:15 – Working with the YMCA  
    Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 
    Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 
    How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
    How does this topic connect with my current context? 
    What are the implications to my practice? 
    How can I support students in taking on and solving big important problems?
    How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 
    Inside the Conversation  
    Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 
    The Y on Facebook
    YMCA Twitter
    YMCA Instagram
    YMCA YouTube
    Listen to our previous podcast with Director of 211 at United Way Worldwide, Joshua B. Pedersen  
    Follow Us to Join the Conversation 
    Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  
    Defining US | Twitter   
    Defining US | Instagram 
    Defining US | Facebook 
    Defining US | LinkedIn
    Defining US | Spotify
    Defining US | PodBean
    Defining US | Apple Music 
    Follow Our Host  
    Stacey DeWitt on Defining US
    Stacey DeWitt on Twitter 
    Contact Us for Additional Information on:  
    Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
    Network Experts and Organizations 
    Professional Learning
    Multi-Media and Print Resources 
     https://definingus.org/take-action/ 
    Check Out More Defining Us Programming 
    If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

    • 33 min
    Voices of Change with Dr. Paul Nussbaum: Practical Neuropsychology

    Voices of Change with Dr. Paul Nussbaum: Practical Neuropsychology

    In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt interviews Dr. Paul Nussbaum. Dr. Nussbaum is board-certified in Clinical Psychology and Geropsychology with a specialization in Neuropsychology. He is the Founder and President of Brain Health Center, Inc. that provides independent medical examinations, record reviews, and case management for those suffering neurological and neurobehavioral disorders. An expert in neuroanatomy and human behavior, he has published many peer reviewed articles, books, and chapters within the scientific community. Dr. Nussbaum educates the public on the basics of the human brain and how to keep the brain healthy over the entire lifespan. He has presented his views on brain health at the United Nations, National Press Club, Mensa, Sirius Radio, and CSPAN. His keynote presentations are both informative and fun and he is often interviewed by the local and national press/media.  
    Powerful Moments 
    Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   
    0:42 – Dr. Paul Nussbaum’s background and why he became passionate for the work he does 
    4;09 – How to position our brains to be loving, kind, and nurturing 
    6:07 – The pressure for us to focus on how we perceive things
    10:03 – The Importance of Mindfulness
    11:55 – The Reflex Metaphor
    14:15 – Use your cell phone in a good way
    22:59 – Developing new strategies for constructive conversations
    24:23 – Emotional intelligence in teaching 
    Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 
    Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 
    How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
    How does this topic connect with my current context? 
    What are the implications to my practice? 
    How can I support students in taking on and solving big important problems? 
    How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 
    Inside the Conversation  
    Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 
    Dr. Paul Nussbaum's Brain Center Lifestyle Website 
    Dr. Paul Nussbaum's YouTube Channel 
    Dr. Paul Nussbaum on Instagram 
    Brain Health Lifestyle on Twitter
    @DrNuss 
    Follow Us to Join the Conversation 
    Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  
    Defining US | Twitter   
    Defining US | Instagram 
    Defining US | Facebook 
    Defining US | LinkedIn
    Defining US | Spotify
    Defining US | PodBean
    Defining US | Apple Music 
    Follow Our Host  
    Stacey Dewitt on Defining Us
    Stacey DeWitt on Twitter 
    Contact Us for Additional Information on:  
    Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
    Network Experts and Organizations 
    Professional Learning
    Multi-Media and Print Resources 
     https://definingus.org/take-action/ 
    Check Out More Defining Us Programming 
    If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

    • 30 min
    Voices of Change with Scott Lee: Letting Educators Take the Lead

    Voices of Change with Scott Lee: Letting Educators Take the Lead

    In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt interviews Scott Lee. Scott directs curriculum design at the CWK Network and is the producer/host of The Thoughtful Teacher Podcast. They discuss a variety of issues related to teachers, the struggles they face in and out of the classroom today, and how asking the right questions can be a start for change.  
    Powerful Moments 
    Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   
    1:25 - Scott’s backstory as a teacher and the inspiration behind his podcast, The Thoughtful Teacher
    3:41 – Importance of developing the positive relationship as a teacher
    5:30 – Issues in teacher retention
    7:20 – The three issues teachers are facing today: COVID, Communication Issues, Control Issues
    10:00 – Teachers are feeling scapegoated by issues in the world
    12:01 – Importance of a teacher in helping students deal with social issues impacting them
    13:15 – Unintended consequences of telling teachers to not talk about certain subjects
    17:25 – What should school look like in the 21st Century?
    18:32 – We have to be asking the right questions
    19:00 – What are some solutions and how can everyone help?
    21:45 – Take a lead from educators
    23:00 – Everyone remembers the best teacher(s) they had.  
    Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 
    Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 
    How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
    How does this topic connect with my current context?
    What are the implications to my practice?
    How can I support students in taking on and solving big important problems?
    How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 
    Inside the Conversation  
    Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 
    Scott Lee on Twitter 
    The Thoughtful Teacher Podcast
    Chief Academic Officer of LA Unified School District
    Marc Brackett, Ph. D. – Yale University
    Defining Us Podcast with Tim Shriver 
    Follow Us to Join the Conversation 
    Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  
    Defining US | Twitter   
    Defining US | Instagram 
    Defining US | Facebook 
    Defining US | LinkedIn
    Defining US | Spotify
    Defining US | PodBean
    Defining US | Apple Music 
    Follow Our Host  
    Stacey Dewitt on Defining Us
    Stacey DeWitt on Twitter 
    Contact Us for Additional Information on:  
    Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
    Network Experts and Organizations 
    Professional Learning
    Multi-Media and Print Resources 
     https://definingus.org/take-action/ 
    Check Out More Defining Us Programming 
    If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

    • 26 min

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