The Cover Story

Lessons in Community

BY MICHELLE KEARNS

Lessons in Community.
Lessons in Community.
Lessons in Community.
The Cover Story

Lessons in Community

BY MICHELLE KEARNS

Community matters.

It defines who we are. It aligns with our mission as a public research university and graduate school of education. Community and its lessons strengthen academics with innovations and evidence-based practices, improve opportunities for people and spark creativity.

Communities are organic opportunities. They form and intersect. Relationships develop and learning happens when education, ideas and impact expand.

This work is at the very core of our purpose. It’s in GSE’s DNA.

Faculty ground their research in local schools. They design projects that aid educators and address emerging issues, like racial justice and learning in virtual classrooms.

Our students pitch in with life-changing efforts, like providing free tutoring for a public school system when teachers, students and parents struggled with the shift to learning.

We come together to ensure that a student struggling with the isolation of the pandemic feels supported and included in his new GSE community so that he can imagine his future as a leader in higher education.

Newcomers are welcomed and supported, allowing them to bring a fresh perspective and to do their best work.

We offer help and expertise to a new virtual summer camp designed to keep young students on track. This work, in turn, enhances teacher preparation, giving our students a chance to learn as they worked.

By collaborating and partnering with communities we identify needs and find solutions. When we rally together, ideas materialize into empowering initiatives like the new Youth Alliance on Education, a consortium of teens from schools throughout the region talking about educational reform.

Working with communities is transformational. The stories in this issue of Learn highlight the seriousness with which we take our responsibilities as a public research university.

—Suzanne Rosenblith, Dean

Seven stories. Seven insights.

  • 6/25/21
    Kier Bishop, 14, made his mother proud and impressed her with his confidence and focus as he transformed his freshman year grades last semester. He had a rocky beginning as the pandemic shifts set in. When he started high school last fall at Frederick Law Olmstead, he was making a transition from a smaller Catholic school to a public school that he was not able to step inside of. Nor did he get to meet any of his classmates or teachers as he finished his first year.

Community, planted, rooted and in bloom.

Community is embedded in everything we do. At GSE, it is a noun that acts like a verb. “That’s where the power lies. This pandemic has taught us that,” said Terri Watson, visiting scholar and associate professor of educational leadership at the City College of New York. “There’s no singular person that’s more important than the whole.”

As a visiting scholar, Watson brought people together, lead conversation and created dialogue this past year, “We have to be in dialogue, and I think community is the best and safest place for that,” said Watson.

The “Beloved Community” title of the spring symposium, taken from Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to action, also reflects GSE’s core goals. In this age of the pandemic and social justice reform, it’s easy to become siloed in a divided world. In GSE’s community, people are invited to come together to learn, challenge ideas and grow.

Our commitment to using our teaching, research and outreach in the service of improving and transforming communities is authentic and true.

—Suzanne Rosenblith, Dean

Lessons in Community.