EPISODE 20: Teachers of the Year (Part Two)

On Thursday, September 10 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we celebrate with the twentieth (!) LIVE episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING SCHOOL. If you miss the LIVE show, we'll post the recorded version early next week. 

This week's episode is the second part of a two-parter. REINVENTING SCHOOL looks at the world of the teacher. We've been working with the Council of Chief School Officers (CCSSO), and we'll be joined by three winners of their "Teacher of the Year" awards. This week: Chanda Jefferson, 2020 South Carolina Teacher of the Year, currently Albert Einstein Fellow in Congress; Rodney Robinson, 2019 National Teacher of the Year, senior advisor, Richmond Public Schools; and Tabatha Rosproy, 2020 National Teacher of the Year (Early childhood education, Winfield Early Learning Center, Winfield, KS.

Please join us on Thursdays for our live shows, or visit www.reinventing.school for the recorded versions.

More about this week's guests:

7858066652?profile=RESIZE_400xChanda Jefferson is a ninth through twelfth-grade biology teacher and department chair at Fairfield Central High School in Winnsboro, South Carolina. She is passionate about teaching in underserved communities and building students’ capacity by developing their strengths. Jefferson uses engaging activities to elicit ideas while challenging students to investigate the world around them. She infuses culturally relevant pedagogy, STEM practices, and emotional intelligence strategies to empower students and prepare them for a competitive workforce. Jefferson is an ambassador and advocate for all teachers in South Carolina and serves as the Lead Facilitator of the South Carolina State Teacher Forum. She is also committed to recruiting new teachers by sharing her teaching experiences with hundreds of pre-service teachers throughout the state. Jefferson received many distinguished honors, including the South Carolina Educational Policy Fellowship, in which she collaborates with legislatures and educational stakeholders to develop policy solutions promoting diversity and access in education. She also received the South Carolina Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, the Phi Beta Sigma Lifetime Achievement Award, and was selected for the Princeton Molecular Biology Teacher Institute. In partnership with the National Human Genome Research Institute, Jefferson was granted a proclamation establishing South Carolina DNA Day by the governor of South Carolina, which serves as a day of unity throughout the entire state. Jefferson earned a bachelor of science in biological sciences and a master’s in teaching secondary sciences from the University of South Carolina. Jefferson also earned a master of education in public school building leadership from Columbia University.


7858078454?profile=RESIZE_400xRodney Robinson is a 19-year teaching veteran. He became a teacher to honor his mother, who struggled to receive an education after being denied an education as a child due to segregation and poverty in rural Virginia. In 2015, Robinson started teaching at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, in an effort to better understand the school-to-prison pipeline. Robinson uses the whole child approach to education to help students who are most vulnerable. His classroom is a collaborative partnership between himself and his students and is anchored in him providing a civic centered education that promotes social-emotional growth. Robinson uses the knowledge he has gained from his students to develop alternative programs to prevent students from entering the school-to-prison pipeline.    Robinson has been published three times by Yale University and has received numerous awards for his accomplishments in and out of the classroom, most notably the R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence.  He is a member of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s Education Compact Team, which includes politicians, educators, business leaders, and community leaders, and is working with city leaders and local colleges to recruit underrepresented male teachers into the field of education. He has also worked with Pulitzer Award-winning author James Foreman on developing curriculum units on race, class, and punishment as a part of the Yale Teacher’s Institute. Robinson earned a Bachelor of arts in history from Virginia State University and a master’s in educational administration and supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University.


7858084482?profile=RESIZE_400xTabatha Rosproy, a 10-year veteran Kansas teacher, is the first early childhood educator to be named National Teacher of the Year. She teaches preschool for Winfield Early Learning Center (WELC) in Winfield, Kansas. Housed in Cumbernauld Village, a local retirement community and nursing home, her inclusive classroom is an inter-generational program that provides preschoolers and residents with multiple daily interactions and serves special education and typically developing preschoolers in a full-day setting.  As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of school buildings across the country, Rosproy served as a co-chair of the educator task force that helped compile Kansas’s continuous learning guidance. A career preschool educator, Rosproy hopes to bring a voice to the important role early childhood education plays in our society and to highlight the value of social-emotional education at all age levels. Rosproy has served on her building leadership team and as the co-head teacher of WELC and as co-president of Winfield National Education Association. She is also active at the state level with the Kansas National Education Association. Rosproy is a member of the Cowley County Special Services Cooperative Early Childhood Academy Team, which provides training and support in positive behavior interventions for early childhood teachers in her county. Rosproy holds a Bachelor of Arts in unified early childhood education, including special education and typically developing students, from Southwestern College and is near completion of her Master of Science in Education (English as a Secondary or Other Language) at Fort Hays State University.


4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
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Before the virus, more than a billion children and teenagers relied upon school for learning. After the virus (or, after the current wave of our current virus), basic assumptions about school and education are no longer reliable. School buildings may become unsafe for large numbers of students. The tax base may no longer support our current approach to school. Without the interaction provided by a formal school structure, students may follow their own curiosity. Many students now possess the technology to learn on their own. And many do not.

Reinventing.school is a new weekly web television series that considers what happens next week, next month, next school year, and the next five years. Hosted by University of Pennsylvania Senior Scholar Howard Blumenthal, Reinventing.school features interviews with teachers, principals, school district leadership, state and Federal government officials, ed-tech innovators, students, leading education professors, authors, realists and futurists from the United States and all over the world.

Each episode features 2-4 distinguished guests in conversation about high priority topics including, for example, the teaching of public health, long-term home schooling, technology access and its alternatives, the role of parents, friendship and social interaction, learning outside the curriculum, the future of testing and evaluation, interruption as part of the academic calendar, job security for teachers and support staff, setting (and rethinking) curriculum priorities, special needs, student perspectives on the job of school, the importance of play, the psychology of group dynamics and social interaction, preparing for future rounds of a virus (or cyberattack or impact of climate change, etc.), college readiness, higher education transformed, the higher education promise in an economically challenged world, and more. Clearly, there is much to discuss; nearly all of it ranks high on the list of priorities for raising the world’s children.