Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tell social media gurus #YouMatter with a #BammyAwards vote!

Envision a world that values education like it values entertainment. That is the goal of The Bammy Awards. Earlier this month I nominated educators from across the globe for an award.  This time around, I’m nominating those I have the pleasure of working and connecting with in New York City. These are movers and shakers that I have come to know because of their pioneering work in the use of social media to support teaching, leading, and learning that will help guide students toward success with college, career, and citizenship.

The Bammy Awards nominations, are an honor that identifies and acknowledges the extraordinary work being done across the education field every day.  The Bammy Awards were created to help reverse the negative national narrative that dominates the education field.

Now, you, the online community, have a chance to bring recognition to those we know, admire, and respect by placing a vote for the Educator's Voice Award to recognize the nominees that you believe are making a significant difference in the field.  Below are my second round of nominations. Please take a look and if you like what you read, click that little “vote” link to find out more and vote for this person if you agree they should be honored.  

Deven Black - School Librarian
Deven makes a difference in many ways. For his students, he made a difference by taking over a library that had become moribund, out of date, anachronistic, completely disorganized and with no technology. In two years he turned it into a much more modern, way more up-to-date, fully automated functioning library that circulates 200 books a week. He also is always on a quest to support students in learning in ways aligned to their interests, strengths and talents as he wrote about in this great lesson that he implemented

For his colleagues at his school, Deven has led the development of a more technology-capable staff through one-to-one training of tech-phobic or reluctant teachers. On a larger scale, Deven has served on the review committee to help implement the new social media guidelines for NYC DOE employees.

You can read more about Deven and vote here.  
Sara Cottone - Parent Leader
Sara Cottone understands that in today’s struggling economy there are many more working parents. It is very hard for them to make the time to be at the school, but even a little time is so worth the effort so Cottone has come up with innovative approaches that not only support her school community, but have also become a model for the largest school district in American, New York City. The innovative practices Cottone incorporates to reach working parents are now used as a model and example for other parent coordinators across the city who are looking new ways to connect and coordinate with their school community. Cottone teaches us that even if parents can’t be at school, there are ways to keep them connected. Some of the ways she does this include creating online spaces where they can not only get information, such as the Parent Coordinator website (, but also a space for them to interact, a Parent Coordinator Facebook page

You can read more about Sara and vote here.  
Anna Dawidowska – High School Teacher
Teaching in an inner city school requires educators to not only instruct children, but to also be life coaches.  As a teacher of English, Psychology, and Career Exploration, Anna has been able to do just that and inspire students in many inventive ways. Anna believes that education must be relevant to students’ lives in order to be meaningful. Her goal is to use each student’s talents, passions, and interests to their best potential with real-world tools. Most recently Anna has been using social media with her students and athletes to connect their ideas in meaningful and collaborative ways. Anna is a pioneer in NYC in incorporating social media into practice. It is her Facebook groups which serve as a model for other teachers interested in doing the same. Many students are shy and feel intimidated to speak up in front of their peers. Anna has found the use of social media has opened new doors for these students and fostered the ability for them to express their literary opinions in a more concrete and honest way. It has also introduced them to using groups as a way of studying and preparing for exams that will benefit them not only in school today, but they will have the skills and knowledge to carry this over to college. In her college and career exploration group Anna has invited her high school alumni to interact with her current students to give them advice and guidance around what they can do in high school today to realize success tomorrow.

You can read more about Anna and vote here.  
Chris Casal - School Technology Support
Chris Casal is making a difference by facilitating communication with all school community stakeholders to establish a fully connected and transparent digital learning environment designed to build and strengthen relationships.

Parent’s can’t always come to school to meet with teachers, the administration can’t always observe every great lesson or activity. Chris helps to keep them in the know with the PS 10 social media platforms. This helps the school connect with parents & community members on a wide variety of digital platforms with a consistent message. There is the PS 10 Facebook page where he posts status updates with fliers about fundraisers, changes in schedules, links to news articles about the school or relevant NYC school information. He also manages the school’s Twitter account (@PS10Brooklyn) and hashtags #ps10bk & #ps10sw. This helps streamline the publishing of general information & student work, helping to create a very transparent learning environment. The transparency of Twitter and the school hastags allows parents and staff members alike to have a front row seat to the great things happening in school. Parents can follow teachers and get a regular glimpse into the classroom settings, even when they are unable to be there. The administration can more easily be aware of great instructional moments, even if they can’t be there first hand by keeping up with school hashtags and teacher handles. During Superstorm Sandy these social media outlets provided a lifeline for the school to keep all stakeholders up-to-date and supported.

Whether it is child, teacher, parent, or community Chris Casal works to ensure all members of the school community are supported in becoming active, engaged, and involved members of the digital world in which they live.

You can read more about Chris and vote here.  

Jean McTavish, High School Principal
Jean Schutt McTavish is a unique school leader for her activism in ensuring our children have healthy bodies and minds. She gave up a considerable amount of office space to build a student kitchen where students can cook food that they have grown in the school’s garden and teaches a spin class at 7 a.m. three days a week. In addition to supporting the health and fitness of students’ bodies, she also works hard to support their minds. McTavish works to instill students with self confidence and the belief that they can do anything they set their minds to. Part of her work to instil confidence in students and ensure their success involves speaking out about the deleterious effects of high stakes testing on students who are most at risk in America. McTavish believes educational leaders must stand up for our children and will fearlessly call out any leader willing to sell out the education of children to advance their career. She speaks, writes, and acts to effect change in this area and opts her own children out of high stakes testing.
You can find her activism at Our Village, Our Schools
Vote for Jean here!

Me! Education Commenter / Blogger
I recently learned that I too was nominated for an award.  Exciting!!!

Here’s what the nomination said:
Lisa Nielsen thinks in very liberated and liberating ways about education. She pushes the envelope in the area of reinventing what schooling means, what the objectives should be and how do it. Outspoken and courageous, she has taken many bold and controversial positions based on her belief that educators and education must be reinvented to be relevant in a brave new, technology-driven world.

Lisa is a strong collaborator and works with many groups to help move education reform forward. It's hard not to be impressed by the extent to which Lisa will go to push others forward, to empower and support the people she believes are on the right track. Her passion, energy and bias for action puts her in the league of proactive bloggers/commentators who go beyond writing and speaking about education reform to actually organizing and acting to advance the reforms she believes are critical to the field of education. Thoughtful, way out of the box thinker, more than and idea person...a "doer."

Vote for me here :)

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