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Oct. 14—Fall book sale

CHELMSFORD — The Friends of the Library will host its fall book sale at the Town Offices at 50 Billerica Road on Friday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sale items include fiction, children's books, biography, history, cookbooks, textbooks and DVDs. Adult books, $2, kids' books $1 and Sunday's book box is $5. The Friends is one of the largest and most active groups in the state, and the fall book sale raises more than $20,000 for library programming and services. To volunteer, visit bit.ly/3EDDCHO. For information, email ChelmsfordFriends@gmail.com.

Multicultural day

LOWELL — Celebrate the diverse cultures in the city with Dwelling House of Hope on Saturday, Oct. 15, in the Fusion parking lot, 125 Mount Hope St.

The festival features food and traditional artifacts and attire from various cultures. No appointment is needed for a free COVID-19 vaccine clinic, ages 5 years and older. No need to present an ID or health plan card.

Get a free $100 gift card if this is your first vaccine, and a $25 gift card if this is your second vaccine or booster shot. The event will also feature a new clothing sale, with discounted prices on all items. For information or to participate, contact Levenia at 978-866-2327 or FLFURUSA@DwellingHouseofHope.org.

Freemason open house

LOWELL — The Ancient York Lodge of the Masonic Temple at 79 Dutton St. invites the public to an open house of its historic building on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Freemasons have been serving the community since 1852. For information, call 617-257-0567 or email ambassador@goolegroups.com.

Teen movie showing

TEWKSBURY — Join friends for snacks and the movie "A Quiet Place" at the Tewksbury Public Library at 300 Chandler St.

The film tells the story of a family forced to live in silence in a post-apocalyptic world while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing. The film plays on the meeting room's big screen on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2:30 to 4 p.m. This event is open to teens in grades 6 to 12 only. To register, visit bit.ly/3MAjE2v. For information, call 978-640-4490.

Purple Sage open studio pottery sale

MERRIMAC — Fifteen local potters will offer a variety of sculptural, decorative and functional ware on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a rain date of Sunday, Oct.16.

Booths will be spread out both outside and inside the Purple Sage Pottery studio at 3 Mechanic St. Founded over 28 years ago by owner and ceramic artist Iris Minc, and situated in an old mill building, Purple Sage Pottery has become home to potters from throughout the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire region. For information, call 978-346-9978.

'Something wicked this way comes'

LOWELL — The Merrimack Repertory Theatre presents "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare from Thursday, Oct. 20 through Sunday, Nov. 6.

"Macbeth" is the story of a man who becomes so possessed by power and ambition that he will destroy anyone who gets in his way. Are the three witches, or Weird Sisters, ancient prophets or contemporary witnesses?

The play starts at 7 to 8:30 p.m., with no intermission. Tickets priced $15 to $46. Recommended for 14 years and older. For tickets, visit mrt.org/macbeth or call the Enterprise Bank Box Office at 978-654-4678. The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre at Liberty Hall/Lowell Memorial Auditorium is located at 50 E. Merrimack St.

(c)2022 The Sun, Lowell, Mass. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Fri, 14 Oct 2022 07:47:35 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/the-five-minute-read/ar-AA12YfQD
Killexams : Children's Authors, Illustrators Connect with Booksellers at MPIBA 2022

The 2022 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association’s fall conference in Denver, held September 28-October 1, featured three days of programming that was bookended by groups of children’s book authors and illustrators presenting their latest work. The gathering kicked off with a bang on Thursday morning: eight authors and illustrators performed show-and-tells about their latest books in front of 192 booksellers at the Children’s Book & Illustrator Breakfast.

The morning’s host, Margaret Brennan Neville, buyer/manager of The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, pointed out the essential role that children’s books play in the sustainability of the entire publishing industry. “If kids aren’t reading now,” she explained, “they certainly won’t be reading when they’re 30 years old.”

Thyra Heder, author and illustrator of Sal Boat (Abrams) who is the granddaughter of a sea captain, was inspired to write the story of a boy “who wanted to build something big”‑a sailboat‑because she grew up with a love of the water and also wanted to write a book that included elements of “action, construction, and creativity” but also emotion, as “there are not many construction books with emotion.”

Heder modeled Sal, the boy who wants to build a sailboat that ends up looking like a house, on her own nephew, Milo, “who doesn’t want help when he creates.” Sal loves the water and loves being out there alone, she said, but after getting help launching the boat he built and sailing out on it, “he realizes that he doesn’t have to be alone to be free.”

Sal Boat is for anyone,” Heder said, “who gets overwhelmed and forgets to ask for help.”

Leo Espinosa, illustrator of Like (Chronicle), written by Annie Barrows, followed Heder. He described Like as a book “about all the things that make us human,” as “we are like hyenas, but we are not like hyenas.”

Like, Espinosa noted, makes the point that “we human beings are so much more like each other than we are different. We really need to hear that message more often.”

What drew Espinosa to illustrate Barrows’s text was, he said, “the challenge, the absolute challenge and I wanted to take it up.” The difficulties he faced in illustrating Like were magnified when a meeting with the book’s editor that was scheduled for April 2020 never took place. After suffering from illustrator’s block, he was able to overcome that challenge when his wife commented to him that the little boy he’d drawn as the focus of the story looked like him when he was young.

“Bingo,” he said. “I now had a personal connection to the book. The whole layout of the book happened the next morning.”

Espinosa ended his remarks by reading the last lines in Like: “I am more like you than I am like most of the things on Earth. I’m glad. I’d rather be like you than like a mushroom.”

Two’s Company in Creating Books

Philip Stead and his spouse and frequent collaborator Erin Stead next took to the podium to discuss their approach to the picture books that Philip writes and Erin illustrates, including their most recent effort, The Sun Is Late, And So Is the Farmer (Holiday House/Neal Porter Books, Nov.).

Philip explained that he and Erin work together in a 120-year-old barn in Michigan, and that the philosophy behind their creative pursuits is writing and illustrating books that are “gentle, and, yes, maybe a little bit old-fashioned. How gentle can we make our books, and will children still respond to them?”

The Sun Is Late was written during a time when the two were often not working at the same time in their barn. “We made this book as if we were pen pals,” Philip said, “It was a strange experience for us.”

After reading three pages from The Sun Is Late, a tale about farm animals looking for the sun and their food, Philip noted that the farm animals had never left the barnyard before, and that fateful morning embarked on a journey “to the end of the world, which took an extraordinary amount of courage.” But, he added, “They get there and Rooster does know what to do, and the sun does rise and the farmer does come, and we’re not afraid of happy endings in our books, so everybody does get breakfast.”

Another pair of illustrators, Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal, who partnered in illustrating I Don’t Care by Julie Fogliano (Holiday House/Neal Porter Books, Nov.) followed the Steads.

“Friendship runs through this book,” Neville noted before turning the podium over to Idle and Martinez-Neal, who took turns talking about how their collaboration came to be, and how it went, even after Martinez-Neal’s move to rural Connecticut during the pandemic from Tempe, Ariz., where Idle still lives.

The two had known each other for about 16 years but became good friends due to both having young children, they explained; their friendship was sealed after talking during an illustrator’s workshop about how to continue working on their art despite being sleep-deprived.

Idle explained that when she received from her agent the first half of the manuscript for I Don’t Care, it read as a monologue, but she thought it would read better as a dialogue, with “two people exchanging views on what they don’t care about.”

Like “a true best friend,” Idle said, she “volunteered” Martinez-Neal to collaborate with her on the project, and the two proceeded to decide upon such things as paper, media, and color.

“We had to figure things out, [such as] what was the book going to look like,” Martinez-Neal recalled. “Molly has a very distinctive style and so do I.”

“I trusted her,” Idle said, “and it was so much fun. It took four slugs to get the artwork done, from one studio on one side of the country to the other and then back. I made a spreadsheet of what got drawn when and what. It just made me feel better.”

“Everything came together organically,” Martinez-Neal noted.

Connecting with Animals

The next speaker, Skylar Hogan, is the illustrator of I’m Not Missing (Little Bee Books,) a picture book written by Kashelle Gourley—the jacket credits Gourley with “words and story” and Hogan with “art and story.”

Disclosing that he’d felt nervous earlier about speaking that day, Hogan said he was reassured, once he realized that “90% of you look like my mom—I mean that as a compliment.” I Am Not Missing, Hogan explained was the tale of a dog that does not want to be a pet, due to all the humiliations that accompany being a human being’s dog. “It is snarky,” Hogan admitted. “There’s some grown-up humor.”

His contribution to the story and art contained in I’m Not Missing was inspired by “being bit in the butt last year,” Hogan said while photos of angry-looking, growling dogs were projected behind him. As he was sitting on the ground “with a hole in my butt cheek,” he recalled, he wondered how two dogs belonging to his neighbors would become so angry that they would jump the fence and attack a human being without provocation.

“How did it go from these cute little things,” he asked, showing a photo of puppies, to “disgusting” attack dogs? “It had to be the owners, right?”

Noting that he collaborated with Gourley on the story, Hogan described the canine protagonist as a “humble little dog, regular mutt, nothing special.” After having to beg for treats “when all he wants is a snack,” experiencing a lack of privacy when pooping, and being dressed in silly costumes, he’s had it and runs away in hopes of a better life on his own. Showing off his illustration of the dog pulling off its collar, Hogan noted that it was one of his favorite images.

“It’s been a blast, seeing the kids’ reactions to this book,” Hogan said as he concluded his remarks, “It’s been fun.”

The last speaker that morning was debut author C.C. Harrington, author of the middle grade novel Wildoak (Scholastic Press), which Neville explained while introducing the speaker as “having the feel” of magical realism. Describing it as “a book that you will remember,” Neville praised it as being a story “about nature, about taking chances, about hope.”

Noting that Wildoak is set in 1963 Cornwall, Harrington explained that there were “three different threads of the story of Maggie, a 12-year-old girl sent to her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. There, Maggie, who stutters and thus has problems talking to humans but “has no trouble talking with animals,” finds a snow leopard cub that was abandoned by its owner—until 1976 people in London could buy wild animals, including lions, tigers, and leopards, at Harrods. “The third thread is the forest itself,” Harrington said, “which is where they meet.”

Wildoak was inspired by a photo Harrington discovered of a woman walking her pet cheetah on the street in London. She then did some research on the trend and discovered the story of Christian the Lion, who was purchased at Harrods by two men and raised in their apartment. “Pretty soon, things got complicated,” Harrington said. “Lions are not supposed to be in an apartment.”

She also related the story of Alan Rabinowitz, a doctor who’d stuttered as a child, but as an adult disclosed that he’d been able to communicate with animals—including an epiphany when faced with a jaguar. He realized that both he and the jaguar had so much to say, Harrington said, “but couldn’t get the words out.”

Harrington’s third inspiration for Wildoak was the 2017 release of The Hidden Life of Trees by P. Wohlleben, about the ways that trees communicate with one another. The book confirmed for her something she had always believed: “trees are sentient beings.”

“Every story begins with a mix of heart, imagination, and a huge amount of questions,” Harrington said, disclosing that neither she nor anyone in her family had a history of stuttering. She emphasized that while she created a protagonist who stutters, she was especially careful that Maggie be fully dimensional. “She stutters, but it does not define her,” Harrington said.

Ultimately, Harrington concluded, Wildoak is about “the nature of understanding and communication, how we speak to ourselves as unique individuals and the way we speak to one another as human beings: how we listen, how we try to empathize and understand and how we fail to, and then ultimately, as humans, think about, relate to our places as part of the whole of the natural world, and the interconnectedness of all sentient beings.”

As Neville returned to the podium to make her final remarks as host, she asked her bookseller colleagues, “It’s like falling in love, isn’t it? Aren’t you glad you get to work with books?”

Booksellers in Love with Books

Booksellers attending the breakfast shared Neville’s sentiments: Julie Shimada, children’s book buyer at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, Colo. said afterwards: “The Children’s Author & Illustrator Breakfast is always my favorite event. Maybe it’s because hearing the authors’ heartfelt words and seeing the illustrators’ gorgeous illustrations takes me back to when I was a child and books were the safest and happiest place for me.” Noting that she sat at Harrington’s table at the breakfast, Shimada added that Wildoak was one of her “favorites this year,” and predicted that it would be a store bestseller during the holiday season, as it “has the hallmarks of a classic.”

Neville’s colleague, Anne Holman, co-owner of The King’s English, declared her love for The Sun Is Late. “The Steads are just a magical team and their books speak to children with calm curiosity and light,” she added. “And I Don’t Care is a perfect friendship story, with the art by two women who are truly best friends in real life.”

Tue, 04 Oct 2022 09:04:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/90509-children-s-authors-illustrators-connect-with-booksellers-at-mpiba-2022.html
Killexams : ‘A bridge to something greater’

Mrs. Chris Brown, a lady of a certain age and that age is private, thank you very much, insists the honorific must be used before her name: “Mrs. Brown.”

“Everyone in North Lawndale knows me as ‘Mrs. Brown,’” she said, forcefully enough that, while I did make a stab at explaining the rigidities of newspaper style, for today it seems both prudent and polite that the rule book be set aside in recognition of a force greater than itself.

Mrs. Chris Brown, right, a longtime resident of North Lawndale, talks about the systemic racism that led to the long-term housing problems seen to this day in the community. Looking on is Jenny Merritt, community engagement manager of the Night Ministry.

Mrs. Chris Brown, right, a longtime resident of North Lawndale, talks about the systemic racism that led to the long-term housing problems seen to this day in the community. Looking on is Jenny Merritt, community engagement manager of the Night Ministry.

Mrs. Brown, elegant in a bright red jacket, butterfly pin and pink cancer awareness ribbon, came up to Chicago from Mississippi by way of St. Louis in the 1960s. She remembers contract buying, redlining and the way Blacks were jammed into tightly constricted areas where they were forced to occupy substandard apartments at jacked-up rents.

“Coming from the South, I got an apartment of my own,” Mrs. Brown tells a group of about 30 gathered for Sabbath dinner Friday night at the Stone Temple Baptist Church on West Douglas Boulevard.

“If I told you what that apartment looked like, nobody in this room would believe me. It was in a six-unit building, an apartment designed for one family that was cut apart for multiple families. Our apartment was two rooms of that unit, the back part, which was a kitchen and a little bitty bedroom. ... Filthy. Dirty, dirty, dirty. I mean, dirt like outside, that took me weeks to really clean. Got it clean. Got a job. Started to work. Went on from there.”

Including her current work to Strengthen North Lawndale.

“Our goal now is to get homes where people can live with dignity and pride,” she said.

Attending a dinner in North Lawndale is not typical for me. But when confronted with a bit of surprising information — such as the fact that Jewish groups this year sponsored the building of sukkahs, ritual booths for the fall harvest, in North Lawndale, an effort somehow connected to the large Jewish community that used to live there in the first half of the 20th century — there are two approaches a person can take.

You can immediately judge based on your own preconceived notions — I imagined these sukkahs being pressed upon uncomprehending residents, no doubt thanks to the transmission of money, as some kind of self-referential honor. If I had a program on Fox, maybe I would expand upon that notion, make fun of this obvious bit of urban colonialism, giggling and spraying derision based on my untested assumptions.

Or you can find out the real situation, even if that involves driving to North Lawndale on an overcast Friday night and standing in a light rain among a group of three substantial sukkahs, set up across Douglas Boulevard from the church, each designed by an architecture firm.

My attention was immediately caught by a bright yellow effort.

Alex Price, programming coordinator for the Chicago Sukkah Design Festival, in front of one of the three sukkahs — usually simple booths topped with branches used for Jewish holiday prayer gatherings — reimagined for use year-round by community organizations.

Alex Price, programming coordinator for the Chicago Sukkah Design Festival, in front of one of the three sukkahs — usually simple booths topped with branches used for Jewish holiday prayer gatherings — reimagined for use year-round by community organizations.

“This one is going to be used for a farm stand,” said Alex Price, programming coordinator for the first Chicago Sukkah Design Festival. “It was designed by Human Scale, but all of them were designed with community input.”

Another is going to be a pop-up museum telling the history of the Stone Temple Baptist Church, and before the program began, I ducked inside for a look with Bishop Derrick M. Fitzpatrick. The building was originally a synagogue.

“It was the first Romanian congregation, so the Queen of Romania was here,” Fitzpatrick said. “Then in 1954, my grandfather, founding pastor of the church, bought this building and moved his church on the South Side here.”

All the original trappings, the Star of David stained glass windows and light fixtures are still in place.

“A lot of the Jewish symbolism: We didn’t think it was necessary, or even proper, to remove it,” he said.

They also kept a small podium with a long history.

Bishop Derrick M. Fitzpatrick, a pastor at the Stone Temple Baptist Church, at the podium used by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. when he used the church as a base in the mid-1960s. The church has retained the symbolic trapping of its first 30 years of existence as a Jewish synagogue.

Bishop Derrick M. Fitzpatrick, a pastor at the Stone Temple Baptist Church, at the podium used by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. when he used the church as a base in the mid-1960s. The church retains symbols of its first 30 years of existence as a Jewish synagogue.

“Martin Luther King Jr. was here,” said Fitzpatrick. “He set up headquarters here. Mayor Daley asked the African American preachers not to allow King to come. Ninety-eight percent of them didn’t. My grandfather was one of the first who did.”

Dinner was hot dogs and pizza and truly excellent, spicy challah from Masa Madre, an artisanal Mexican-Jewish bakery in East Garfield Park.

It was a diverse group of about 30: a third students from Avodah Jewish Service Corps, volunteers working “toward a more just and equitable world.” Plus representatives from various North Lawndale groups such as Shangwé Parker, from the North Lawndale Homeowners Association, who pointed out that, before the riots following King’s death, the community had 125,000 residents.

“We’re 30,000 now, and that’s including 4,000 people in the jail,” he said, outlining a plan to turn that around. “We’re embarking on building a thousand homes here in North Lawndale.”

Added Charles Jenkins, of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, “By spring, we could be working to help build some affordable housing and wrap-around services that come with the housing.”

So how is a sukkah celebration going to help?

“It brings light to our efforts, what we’re trying to do,” Parker said, explaining how they’ve raised millions in private money, matched by state grants. “We’re slated to start breaking ground hopefully in the next two weeks.”

I lingered after the dinner broke up, talking with Pastor Reshorna Fitzpatrick, Bishop Fitzpatrick’s wife. Isn’t this just more talk?

“Many things that have taken place are because people sat down and had conversations,” she replied. “I believe this is a conversation that will lead to great things. In this community, we’ve made lots of strides, when we get together, we learn, and are able to grow and build. I’m looking for this to be a bridge to something greater.”

Mon, 17 Oct 2022 03:22:00 -0500 en text/html https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/10/16/23406995/north-lawndale-housing-activists-jewish-groups-steinberg
Killexams : DU’s Prison Arts Initiative navigated COVID to create “Tell It Slant”

Julie Rada, left, is a theater maker and educator who has published on prison arts practice an is affiliate faculty at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Elijah Null, center, has taught English and humanities at the high school and college levels and courses with the Prison Arts Initiative. Suzi Q. Smith, right, is a poet and affiliate faculty at Regis University’s Mile High MFA, Lighthouse Writers Workshop and the Prison Arts Initiative.

Julie Rada answered a few questions for the co-editors.

SunLit: Tell us this book’s backstory. How did the idea for involving incarcerated writers originate? 

Julie Rada, co-editor: The DU Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI) was founded in 2017 and provides in-person programming to prisons around the state. With COVID-19, we worked alongside the Colorado Department of Corrections to shift our model to remote learning. This was not easy in a system in which prison residents have little access to technology, computers, no access to internet, etc.

What prior to the pandemic consisted of custom 12-week classes designed for each facility delivered by arts-based practitioners of various disciplines (dance, writing, theater, visual art), became a single class delivered to all facilities via video lecture with independent work submitted weekly by participants. 

At the time, I was the Director of Programming for DU PAI and in practice this meant developing a curriculum with one or two facilitators, delivering folders of readings and materials for each participant and driving these folders to all of the participating prisons around the state, making weekly video recordings, burning about 12-24 DVD’s per week, mailing them out to each facility where they would be put on the closed-circuit TV channel for the facility, and residents would watch these lectures.

Then they would complete homework, often writing by hand, and submit it to facility staff. The staff would then scan the homework and upload it to a shared drive that DU PAI could access. I would then disseminate this homework to about 10 different homework respondents, educators and writers with experience in the course content who would grade and respond with a robust narrative to every individual’s work. 


Each week, The Colorado Sun and Colorado Humanities & Center For The Book feature an excerpt from a Colorado book and an interview with the author. Explore the SunLit archives at coloradosun.com/sunlit.

I would gather all of these and email them to staff who would then print them and hand deliver these responses to each person in their cell. We did this every week. It was a many-step Herculean effort with a lot of humans involved, with the DU PAI team and the CDOC team going above and beyond, working hard to get high-quality arts education to every individual participant. We usually had between 150-175 participants across the state in each of these correspondence courses. We delivered three courses in this manner, from mid-2020 through mid-2021. 

“Tell It Slant” was the title of the second course delivered in this way (“Imagining Worlds: reading and Writing Plays “was the first and “Drawing in Place “was the third). Local writers Suzi Q. Smith and Elijah Null co-facilitated the course. With “Imagining Worlds,” the DU PAI team made the collective decision to try a self-published volume of competitively-selected 10-page plays and put them in an anthology by the same name, published under DU PAI’s LuxLit Press. That book was short-listed for the 2020 Colorado Book Awards. 

We wanted to push forward with the idea of an anthology again with “Tell It Slant.” This was a creative flash nonfiction course and the writing that was coming out of it was incredible. We invited anyone who completed the class and wanted to submit to do so. 

This time it was not a competitive process. We reviewed and edited all the personal essays in the book with a small team of DU PAI staff. The next step was to send all the writing to CDOC for review (to check for issues of security, concerns for people harmed, etc.) and we sent along to Sonya Unrein for layout, and then to be published through Amazon’s self-publishing mechanism. We commissioned the cover art by Jerry Martinez, an artist who had recently gotten out of prison. 

Every person involved in the course got a copy of the anthology, as did a member of their family.

SunLit: Place this excerpt in context. Who wrote it and how does it fit into the book as a whole?  

Rada: This excerpt was written by Brett Phillips, at the time at Sterling Correctional Facility. Brett has been involved in DU PAI’s programming at Sterling since the beginning. He played the lead role of Randle McMurphy in DU PAI’s production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and has been a pillar of shaping what DU PAI looks like behind the walls. 

What I love about Brett’s piece, “Impact,” is the action and physicality, the nuanced masculinity, and the centering of love and sensitivity. In this short piece, Brett exemplifies a lot of what I have experienced as an arts practitioner going into prisons (men’s prisons, in this case). There is a kind of rawness blended with kindness, exuberant energy combined with tenderness. It’s a great piece of creative nonfiction, a tight and descriptive essay. And as someone who knows Brett fairly well, it’s Brett all the way. I’m sure he’ll say more.

SunLit: How did you bring this prison project to completion? What hurdles did you face and how did you overcome them? 

Rada: The hurdles were primarily logistical in the delivery of the course. There were technical issues with the lectures and so some facilities had lower participation simply because there were issues with the TVs in the units and participants could not complete the work. 

It was a massive coordination effort, and I am indebted to so many who were instrumental in pulling it off. On the DU PAI team: Joan Dieter-Mazza, Tess Neel, Nicholle Harris, Dan Manzanares, Madalyne Heiken, and countless affiliate faculty. On the CDOC side, there were so many staff and administrators who helped all while also dealing with all the challenges of COVID. 

That was the other major hurdle, simply the alienation, fear, and loss that came with the pandemic. Some participants sent us heartfelt letters saying they could not complete the course because of their own illness or their worries about loved ones. 

On the other hand, at a time when depression was high (both inside and outside the walls) and morale was very low, a lot of participants expressed that their experience with “Tell It Slant” was like a lifeline. 

Inmate author Brett Phillips, who wrote the essay “Impact,” also responded to a few questions. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

SunLit:  What influences and/or experiences informed your piece before you sat down to write?

Brett Phillips: There is so much in life that informs writing and shapes a writer. I know that being incarcerated has really fed my maturation process, and brought into sharp detail the areas in which I need to grow and the things I need to work on to strengthen my emotional and spiritual life. The University of Denver’s Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI) has been instrumental in that development and growth.

I first experienced DU PAI through gentle urging from my cell mate. He asked me if I would like to take part in a theater ensemble class and I distinctly remember telling him, “Hell no.” He then informed me that he had already signed me up for the class and that I should try it out. I decided I would deliver it one week to see what the class was about.

While in the class I met Dr. Ashley Hamilton, executive director and co-founder of DU PAI, and assistant professor in the theater department at the University of Denver. She asked us to do crazy things in prison, like closing your eyes in a room full of felons, sharing about yourself to people you hardly know, allowing yourself to be vulnerable — crazy. 

The craziest part is that I bought in. Full of self-doubt and shame, feeling like I didn’t deserve anything good in my life after all the damage and pain I have caused in the world, I saw the way she treated me, treated us, like we were real people, capable of and deserving of kindness and goodness and love. Human. We were treated like human beings.

It was completely new to me and at first it was difficult to accept. But there she was, every week, the same person doing and saying the same things and in a world in which the ground is constantly shifting, consistency is an oasis. And I started believing.

Then she brought to us the chance to be in a play, to perform in front of inmates and the public. The play was “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and I was all in. I I decided to try out for a small part (Dr. Spivey) and also be an assistant stage manager. 

“Tell It Slant”

>> Read an excerpt

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SunLit present new excerpts from some of the best Colorado authors that not only spin engaging narratives but also illuminate who we are as a community. Read more.

I felt like I could dip my toe into the “uncomfortable” by acting and stay in the shallows of tedium, schedules and record keeping by being in stage management. Dr. Hamilton, who was also the director of the play, had other ideas and asked me to audition for a slightly larger role, Randle McMurphy, one that I not only received, but that I cherish to this day. It was a beautiful experience, one that I will never forget, one that changed my life forever.

When the opportunity arose to take a playwriting class, I jumped on board. In true community fashion, we decided to hold a large workshop in the day hall of a living unit in Sterling Correctional Facility. I know my work would have never been as good as it was without this invaluable feedback. Beyond that, though, was the care and thoughtfulness we held these deeply personal works with, and in doing so, holding each other in compassion and love.

This is the basis for my piece, not just the story of a coach and a young man, but a tale of seeing people exactly where they are and embracing them in their humanity.

SunLit: What were the biggest challenges — either creatively or logistically — that you faced, or surprises you encountered in writing this story?

Phillips: The biggest challenge for me was definitely on the creative side. I fancy myself a writer, having penned hundreds of poems, some of them actually pretty good. The process of crafting a poem comes so naturally to me, finding succinct ways to convey large ideas in such small spaces. I love it. The concept of poetry is romantic and tragic and beautiful to me. 

When I started the “Tell it Slant” class, I was surprised how difficult it was to find my voice, to transfer my thoughts into a form I was happy with. This class was about fashioning creative flash nonfiction, a form I had not actually been aware of previous to this. As creative as I thought I was, I was astonished to discover that my brain faced a huge test in converting my memories into a piece that was not only accurate to the real event, but also interesting and compelling. 

I workshopped it to everyone I knew, trying to describe activities that are foreign to most people. Getting into the nitty-gritty of the senses, as well as the mind of a 12-year-old boy undergoing a life changing moment. I think I wrote like 14 drafts before I was happy with the result.

I know for this story in particular I was especially determined to do it justice, because the main character was very important to me, standing tall as a huge influence in my development as a young man. The man was my first football coach.

This story describes my initial practice and the revelation that it is not only OK, but crucial for men to be able to use compassion and warmth as a tool in guiding boys to be men. He was as strong as it gets, physically intimidating and a bigger-than-life persona and yet he showed real care to a boy he didn’t even know. What an amazing testimony to an insecure, undersized kid who just wanted to be a football player.

SunLit: Walk us through your writing process under these very unconventional circumstances. Where, when and how did you write?

Phillips: It is different, I suppose, writing while incarcerated. There is the dull thrum of not-so-white noise provided constantly by your fellow residents, the constant mechanical slamming of doors opening and closing, the invasive click of plastic dominoes on a wooden table, but I imagine that no matter where you are there are distractions aplenty, especially when you are stuck, and looking for one.

I like to write on my bed, a small bunk bed at the back of the room, a sheet metal base that pops every time you get up. Or move. Or roll over. I keep a dictionary and a thesaurus at the end of my sleeping space, handy for quick usage. I write on a tablet of paper with a cheap ballpoint pen that says “Inmate Property” on it. 

One thing about being in prison, there is no privacy. None. The most private place that there was in SCF is your cell. It seems like you could shut your door and block out a lot of the hub-bub going on outside, but you have a cell-mate. Now don’t get me wrong, the guy that shares the space with me is great. As a matter of fact we lived together for over eight years, and he is my best friend. But I don’t care how good the living arrangement is, you are still sharing the space, which means that there are interruptions in your process. Did I mention the bathroom is in the room?

I can say this about writing in prison: You have to really want it. There is a level of commitment you need to have and that commitment is tested every day. The journey is worth all of the distraction, I promise you that.

SunLit: What did you want to achieve by participating in this project? 

Phillips: Of course I wanted to create a beautiful and meaningful piece of art, and to learn another aspect of that art. The reality, though, is that we, the prison population, more than anything wish for the world to know that we are not the boogie men sensationalized on the TV, that we share our humanity with everyone out there on the street. 

Yes, we have made horrific decisions that have impacted many lives, more than we can ever know. And many of us in here are ready to face up to those impacts, knowing that we can’t ever make up for the crimes that we have committed, but willing to try.

I know in my experience, I can never repay the debt that I owe, never right the wrongs that I have caused. What I can do is live my life in a way that honors those that I have harmed, and strive to prevent future harm by spreading care and love into the world around me. This mindset has caused me a lot of turmoil here inside, but also much joy and peace. 

The idea of shared humanity, that we all have similar desires — to feel safe, to be loved, to find happiness — means we are all made from the same cloth. Instead of looking at someone and asking, “What’s wrong with that person?” how about we ask, “What happened to that person?” 

Projects like this provide opportunities to show the world that you cannot know someone by what they have done. We have to know their story, and find the common ground. That is what I want, what we in DU PAI want.

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 20:10:00 -0500 Sandra Fish en-US text/html http://coloradosun.com/2022/10/16/sunlit-du-prison-arts-initiative-tell-it-slant/
Killexams : Swedish party official suspended after referring to diarist Anne Frank as ‘immoral’

STOCKHOLM — A Sweden Democrats official was suspended by the far-right party for making degrading comments about Jewish teenage diarist Anne Frank.

In an Instagram posting that has now been deleted, Rebecka Fallenkvist called Anne “immoral” among other things, according to Swedish media.


Anne, who wrote a diary while in hiding in Amsterdam before she was captured, died at age 15 in Nazi Germany’s Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in February 1945.

The posting by Fallenkvist, a 26-year-old head of television programming for the Sweden Democrats, prompted strong reactions from Jewish groups and Israeli Ambassador Ziv Nevo Kulman, who in a tweet said: “I strongly condemn this despicable insult, disrespectful of the memory of Anne Frank.” His posting included what appeared to be a screenshot of Fallenkvist’s Instagram post.


A photo of Anne Frank is displayed at the opening of the exhibition: "Anne Frank, a History for Today", at the Westerbork Remembrance Centre in Hooghalen, northeast Netherlands.

The Sweden Democrats’ media director, Oskar Cavalli-Bjorkman, told the Swedish news agency TT late Saturday that the party would take Fallenkvist’s “insensitive and inappropriate” comments seriously and launch an internal investigation on the matter.

While it remained unclear what kind of point Fallenkvist wanted to make with her comments on Anne’s diary, she sent later a text message to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter saying she had been misinterpreted.

“The book is a moving depiction of human good and evil,” Fallenkvist said in her message to the newspaper. “The good Anne, who in the first chapters is like any other young girl living her life in peace and finding an interest in boys (which I highlighted), is contrasted with the evil of Nazism. My story was aimed at the good and human in Anne while not playing down the evil to which she was subjected.”

Sweden Democrats was founded in the 1980s by people who had been active in right-wing extremist groups, including neo-Nazis. The party emerged as Sweden’s second-largest party in the Sept. 11 election under the leadership of Jimmie Akesson.

On Friday, three Swedish center-right parties agreed to form a coalition government with the support of the Sweden Democrats that has moved toward mainstream politics, but retains a hard line on immigration.

Sun, 16 Oct 2022 08:51:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation-world/ct-aud-nw-sweden-politics-anne-frank-20221016-a35koy6qdfat7m233af3gry32y-story.html
Killexams : Swedish party official suspended after Anne Frank posting No result found, try new keyword!An official from the far-right Sweden Democrats has been suspended from her duties for making degrading comments about Jewish teenage diarist Anne Frank. Sun, 16 Oct 2022 02:02:00 -0500 text/html https://www.sunherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article267386922.html Killexams : Friends of the Library to book sale Friday and Saturday

The Friends of the Corsicana Public Library will host a Book Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15. Book lovers won’t want to miss this annual event which will contain thousands of books. This year, expect to see a great deal of novels for adults, non-fiction for kids and everything in between.

The Books Sale is the main fundraising event for the Friends of the Library who in turn make summer programming at the library possible. During the summer of 2022, 2,200 children attended programs paid for by the Friends of the Library; creating new readers, library users, and fostering wonderful experiences and memories of the library and all it has to offer the community.

Interested in helping to support the library? Become a member of the Friends today! Forms are available at the library and the Book Sale.

Don’t forget to pick up a library calendar and make note of some of the many wonderful events the library is hosting this November and December, including: Family Mini-Golf Nov. 12, ‘Dino-vember’ with events all November, and The Very Merry Library Dec. 16. Call for details, 903-654-4810.

Fri, 14 Oct 2022 00:00:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.corsicanadailysun.com/news/friends-of-the-library-to-book-sale-friday-and-saturday/article_850444b8-48c4-11ed-81fc-ef9d38d0d856.html
Killexams : Friends of the Library to host book sale

The Friends of the Corsicana Public Library will host a Book Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15. Book lovers won’t want to miss this annual event which will contain thousands of books. This year, expect to see a great deal of novels for adults, non-fiction for kids and everything in between.

The Books Sale is the main fundraising event for the Friends of the Library who in turn make summer programming at the library possible. During the summer of 2022, 2,200 children attended programs paid for by the Friends of the Library; creating new readers, library users, and fostering wonderful experiences and memories of the library and all it has to offer the community.

Interested in helping to support the library? Become a member of the Friends today! Forms are available at the library and the Book Sale.

Don’t forget to pick up a library calendar and make note of some of the many wonderful events the library is hosting this November and December, including: Family Mini-Golf Nov. 12, ‘Dino-vember’ with events all November, and The Very Merry Library Dec. 16. Call for details, 903-654-4810.

Wed, 12 Oct 2022 00:00:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.corsicanadailysun.com/news/friends-of-the-library-to-host-book-sale/article_850444b8-48c4-11ed-81fc-ef9d38d0d856.html
Killexams : As attempts to ban books across the country increase, Chicago establishes ‘Book Sanctuaries’: ‘Encouraging and alarming’ Una selección de libros prohibidos y cuestionados se ve en una mesa mientras los miembros de City Lit Theatre Company leen extractos de ellos durante la Semana de Libros Prohibidos 2022 en la sucursal Lincoln Belmont de las Bibliotecas Públicas de Chicago el 22 de septiembre de 2022.. © Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS Una selección de libros prohibidos y cuestionados se ve en una mesa mientras los miembros de City Lit Theatre Company leen extractos de ellos durante la Semana de Libros Prohibidos 2022 en la sucursal Lincoln Belmont de las Bibliotecas Públicas de Chicago el 22 de septiembre de 2022..

CHICAGO— Una estantería de cristal con algunos de los libros más cuestionados del país adorna la entrada de la sucursal Lincoln Belmont de la Biblioteca Pública de Chicago. Los libros están rodeados de cinta amarilla y carteles rojos que inevitablemente dirigen la atención de quienes entran hacia los títulos que han sido prohibidos, o han intentado serlo, en otras bibliotecas del país.

Pero, en lugar de retirar los libros de las estanterías, se invitó a los visitantes de la biblioteca —con motivo de la Semana del Libro Prohibido 2022— a conocer cada uno de ellos y fomentar el debate en torno a los temas por los que fueron prohibidos. La compañía de teatro City Lit se sumó a los esfuerzos presentando una muestra teatral de libros icónicos prohibidos y cuestionados, permitiendo a la gente tomar su propia decisión de si leerlos o no.

Los miembros de City Lit Theatre Company, Cat Hermes, a la izquierda, y Brandon Boler leen extractos de libros prohibidos y cuestionados durante la Semana de Libros Prohibidos 2022, en la sucursal Lincoln Belmont de las Bibliotecas Públicas de Chicago el 22 de septiembre de 2022.. © Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS Los miembros de City Lit Theatre Company, Cat Hermes, a la izquierda, y Brandon Boler leen extractos de libros prohibidos y cuestionados durante la Semana de Libros Prohibidos 2022, en la sucursal Lincoln Belmont de las Bibliotecas Públicas de Chicago el 22 de septiembre de 2022..

La semana pasada, los responsables de la ciudad y de la Biblioteca Pública de Chicago declararon a la ciudad santuario para esas historias, estableciendo "Santuarios del Libro" en las 77 áreas comunitarias distintas de la ciudad y en las 81 sucursales de la biblioteca. Esto implica un compromiso para ampliar el acceso local a los libros prohibidos o cuestionados a través de la programación de la biblioteca.

Una selección de libros prohibidos y cuestionados se ve en una mesa mientras los miembros de City Lit Theatre Company leen extractos de ellos durante la Semana de Libros Prohibidos 2022 en la sucursal Lincoln Belmont de las Bibliotecas Públicas de Chicago el 22 de septiembre de 2022.. © Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS Una selección de libros prohibidos y cuestionados se ve en una mesa mientras los miembros de City Lit Theatre Company leen extractos de ellos durante la Semana de Libros Prohibidos 2022 en la sucursal Lincoln Belmont de las Bibliotecas Públicas de Chicago el 22 de septiembre de 2022..

"Como una de las ciudades más diversas del país, Chicago se enorgullece de seguir acogiendo a personas de todas las clases sociales y de ofrecerles espacios para compartir sus experiencias", dijo la alcaldesa Lori Lightfoot en un comunicado de prensa.

Mientras tanto, los intentos de prohibir libros en todo el país —incluso en los suburbios de Illinois— están aumentando a un ritmo nunca visto desde que American Library Association () comenzó a hacer un seguimiento de los datos hace más de 20 años, de acuerdo con su informe más reciente.

El año 2022 ya tiene el mayor número de quejas reportadas, documentando intentos de prohibir o restringir el acceso a 1,651 títulos diferentes, en comparación con 1,597 libros en todo el año 2021, de acuerdo con el informe. Los títulos atacados son historias que se centran en LGBTQ+, sexualidad, raza y racismo, informó la asociación.

La eliminación de estas historias de los estantes de las bibliotecas y las escuelas puede ser especialmente perjudicial para los jóvenes que pueden identificarse con las historias o los personajes de los libros, dijo Tracie Hall, la directora ejecutiva de ALA.

Hall elogió la iniciativa de la ciudad de Chicago de crear santuarios del libro, diciendo que "refleja la intencionalidad de la ciudad de ser un lugar de pertenencia para todos, especialmente para las personas que, junto con sus historias, han sido marginadas, silenciadas o dejadas de lado por completo", dijo. "Ahora, en un momento en el que las solicitudes a la censura de libros, [así como] los ataques a escritores y bibliotecarios están en su punto más alto, superando incluso los de la era McCarthy, el Santuario del Libro se erige como un recordatorio de que las ideas y las historias —incluso cuando no estamos de acuerdo con ellas— deberían convocarnos en lugar de separarnos".

Los esfuerzos por prohibir los libros no tienen un rostro específico ni provienen de un grupo concreto, dijo Hall. De hecho, dijo, los intentos de impugnar los títulos provienen de ambos lados del espectro político, demócratas y republicanos, ya sea en los suburbios de Illinois o en California. Sin embargo, el informe reveló que los grupos extremistas han desempeñado un papel clave en el aumento de los intentos de prohibir libros en el país, dijo Hall.

"Están reclutando a los padres y diciéndoles que, como buenos padres, deben avalar la prohibición de estos libros", dijo Hall.

El informe también destaca el papel que los políticos conservadores y la política han tenido en los recientes intentos de prohibir los libros que elevan las experiencias LGBTQ+. Esos intentos de prohibir los libros pueden consistir en una objeción escrita, un formulario de queja presentado en una biblioteca o una demanda de retirada del título en las redes sociales u otra plataforma.

"Son todos los libros que han sido escritos en su mayoría por o son sobre las experiencias de los negros, indígenas, personas de color, así como los escritores LGBTQ+", dijo Hall. "Eso puede estar ocurriendo como un deseo de silenciar a estas comunidades, porque cada vez más entendemos en este país que no vamos a poder progresar sin contar con la equidad y la inclusión".

PEN America, un grupo de defensa de la literatura y la libertad de expresión con sede en Nueva York, identificó 50 grupos que están liderando los esfuerzos para prohibir los libros a nivel nacional, estatal y local, de acuerdo con su informe más reciente respecto al creciente movimiento para censurar los libros en la escuela. Entre ellos se encuentran grupos conservadores de Facebook y otras redes sociales. Moms for Liberty, que tiene cabildos en los Condados Lake, Cook y DuPage, se menciona como uno de los grupos más activos, con un total de 200 cabildos.

En Illinois, varios distritos escolares prohibieron varios libros que elevan las voces queer, de acuerdo con el informe de PEN.

Gender Queer: A Memoir, de Maia Kobabe, fue prohibido en Community High School de Lake Villa. Ese mismo título fue prohibido en la escuela Harlem de Machesney Park. En la escuela Rowva Community United de Oneida, Illinois, se retiró de las estanterías The Hate U deliver de Angie Thomas, de acuerdo con el informe de PEN.

En total, el informe dice que, desde julio de 2021 hasta junio de 2022, los funcionarios locales prohibieron 2,532 libros de 1,261 autores, 290 ilustradores y 18 traductores. Las prohibiciones se produjeron en 138 distritos escolares de 32 estados, de acuerdo con el informe.

El libro más prohibido fue Gender Queer, que se prohibió en 41 distritos, caracterizado como "pornográfico" por sus ilustraciones de actos sexuales mientras cuenta una historia de no ficción del autor que navega por la identidad de género y las relaciones con su familia y amigos.

En junio, el consejo de administración del instituto de Downers Grove votó por unanimidad mantener el libro en sus bibliotecas incluso después de que un grupo de padres y algunos miembros del grupo de extrema derecha Proud Boys plantearan su preocupación por el controvertido título, informó Chicago Sun-Times.

La semana pasada, en Barrington, el consejo escolar votó a favor de mantener Flame y This Book Is Gay, dos libros acerca de género y sexualidad.

En una votación de cuatro sobre tres, el consejo aceptó finalmente la recomendación de un comité asesor de expertos de la escuela de mantener los libros luego de determinar que no cumplían la norma de obscenidad y pornografía.

Erin Chan Ding, miembro de la junta, dijo que la eliminación de los libros podría afectar a los jóvenes que podrían identificarse como estudiantes LGBTQ+. Y aunque los libros pueden tener imágenes y palabras fuertes, debe ser hasta los padres si sus hijos los leen.

En agosto, los miembros del consejo escolar de Barrington también votaron para mantener Gender Queer en la biblioteca de Barrington High School.

"Estamos poniendo estos libros a disposición de los alumnos, pero no estamos incorporando activamente los libros que fueron cuestionados en el plan de estudios", dijo Chan Ding, madre de un niño de ocho y otro de cuarto grado.

Como madre, dijo, entiende que algunos padres cuestionen los libros y quieran impedir el acceso a ellos. "Siento empatía por los padres que no están de acuerdo con nuestra decisión y reconozco que hay todo un espectro de opiniones. [...] Es responsabilidad y papel de los padres hacer lo que es mejor para su propio hijo, pero eso no significa restringir el acceso para otras personas".

Chan Ding dijo que el reciente anuncio de Chicago de crear santuarios de libros es "alentador y alarmante a la vez".

Le preocupa que los esfuerzos por prohibir más títulos sigan creciendo en los suburbios, pero dijo que se alegra de que los niños tengan acceso a los libros en su ciudad vecina.

El Comisionado de la Biblioteca Pública de Chicago, Chris Brown, dijo que "Las prohibiciones de libros amenazan con silenciar las historias de las personas —la mayoría de las veces procedentes y representativas de comunidades marginadas— y reducen el alcance y la diversidad de las historias y perspectivas que podemos compartir".

El Santuario del Libro, dijo, "pretende capacitar a la gente de todo el mundo para que siga demostrando su apoyo a los libros —y a las personas que los aman y protegen—, movilizando la acción en sus propias comunidades".

Brown invitó a los habitantes de Chicago a unirse mediante el compromiso de crear espacios seguros para las historias, poniendo en marcha su propio santuario del libro en una biblioteca, aula, cafetería, parque público o incluso en la estantería de su habitación.

Los compromisos incluyen la recopilación y protección de libros en peligro de extinción, haciendo que los libros en peligro de extinción sean ampliamente accesibles, organizando charlas sobre libros y eventos para generar conversación, incluyendo tiempos de cuentos centrados en diversos personajes e historias y educando a otros en la historia de la prohibición y quema de libros.

Brown dijo que las instalaciones de la Biblioteca Pública de Chicago estarán abiertas a los lectores de los suburbios: "Tenemos el papel de asegurarnos de que nuestros lectores comprendan que siempre pueden acudir a nosotros".

Brown también invitó a otras bibliotecas y habitantes a usar las directrices que la biblioteca ha puesto a su disposición.

©2022 Chicago Tribune. Visit at chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 07:00:42 -0500 es-US text/html https://www.msn.com/es-us/noticias/otras/conforme-aumentan-los-intentos-de-prohibir-los-libros-en-todo-el-pa-c3-ads-chicago-establece-santuarios-de-libros/ar-AA12jCTF
Killexams : RSU 9 Board discusses 2022 summer programming

FARMINGTON — The Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors heard updates on the district’s summer programming at the Tuesday, Sept. 13, meeting.

The Summer Learning Camp, hosted at W.G. Mallett School in Farmington, sends students based on referrals from teachers.

According to Mt. Blue Middle School Assistant Principal Katherine Duchesne and Director of Curriculum Laura Columbia, 89 students were referred to the program across pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, excluding zero referrals in third grade, and 56 attended.

Cape Cod Hill School in New Sharon also held a pilot summer-tutoring program. That was attended by 24 students – 14% of the school population. This program offered parents flexibility with a choice of time slots for their children. It also made attending the program more accessible for families in more remote locations, Columbia said.

In grades five through eight, 129 students were referred and 88 attended the program.

In grades nine through 11, 42 students were eligible to attend an extended-year program and 37 students participated.

The bulk of referrals are from first and second grade classes, “which is where so much of a focus is on literacy and those skills,” Duchesne said.

Duchesne said that one of the goals of the literacy-focused programming is to ensure “maintenance of skills through the summer so they don’t slide.”

Looking at some results, Duchesne said:

• 100% of first graders either maintained or improved their math and reading levels.

• 100% of students in the Cape Cod Hill School tutoring-program made progress from their first data point to their last data point.

• 94% of second graders either maintained or improved their math and reading levels, which is lower because one student missed two weeks of classes.

•  96.6% of students who attending programming in grades five through eight “successfully completed all of their subjects,” with three students who attended only briefly.

• Students in grades nine through 11 who participated “recovered a total of 46 credits through participation in 46 course recoveries.”

“If [the students are] not there as often, they’re not going to necessarily see the same maintenance or growth as if they were attending four days a week for five weeks,” Duchesne said.

Pre-kindergarteners attend a program called Kindergarten Jump Start (KJS), which she said is a valuable program that focuses on “basic skills like letter recognition.” However, the program is not something “frequently done” in the district because there isn’t always funding, whether via local funding or grants.

Duchesne said the KJS program is particularly important because data shows screenings of pre-kindergarteners and  kindergarteners is “much, much lower than it has ever been before.”

“This is an opportunity if the funding is available to help a chunk of those students kind of get where they need to be to be at a better place to start,” Duchesne said.

Despite those low screenings, Duchesne said referrals to the overall program “were much lower this year, which honestly surprised me.”

But, she added, teachers were having conversations with parents ahead of submitting referrals and some declined to have their kids participate in the program.

Columbia said that there are “many factors that go into these numbers [of enrollment].”

Families might be busy during the summer, older students might be less inclined to attend summer school, Columbia said. Thus, not all students who are eligible or recommended are ultimately referred.

During discussion, Director Alexander Creznic asked whether there was opportunity to advance students beyond their next grade, given results like first graders who had 100% maintenance or improvement.

Duchesne clarified that no student “improved” by that margin great enough to skip a grade.

Were any “exceptionally gifted students … [identified] in this program” that can be advanced, Creznic asked.

“In this programming, we are typically getting those students that are behind level to try to get them where they need to be so they’re successful to start the next school year,” Duchesne said. “In the summer, we typically don’t have any of the gifted kiddos participating in summer programming.”

“But I really do like the idea of having a summer program for gifted-and-talented students,” Columbia said. “Not yet, but possibly in our strategic planning, we might see that as an area we can work on.”

Superintendent Chris Elkington added that perhaps theme-based summer programming for gifted-and-talented students could be a way to go.

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 10:08:00 -0500 text/html https://www.sunjournal.com/2022/09/20/rsu-9-board-discusses-2022-summer-programming/
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