This winter, we held our first annual Pivot Dinner. This event brought together corps members and members of the Greater Chicago-Northwest Indiana community, and asked them to imagine the future of education.
April 2, 2019
To kick off the New Year, we hosted our first annual Pivot Point Dinner for our second year corps members. This dinner brought our teachers and community members together, all with the aim of answering one big question: What could education look like in 2040?
Conversations covered an incredible range of issues, from universal pre-k to funding for special education. Corps members were able to share reflections from their classrooms, and community members were able to share takeaways from their work in other fields and sectors. “I loved the exchange of information across all ages and experience levels,” said Mike Harries, co-founder of Teachers Supporting Teachers. “It was empowering and rejuvenating seeing BOTH groups, corps members who were exhausted from their first days back in the classroom and change makers across the city, give up their evenings to come together to discuss how we can better this world.”
This point of the year is a crucial transition for our second year corps members. This past fall, they worked on Impact Projects focused around a particular development area for their classroom, such as social-emotional learning and personalized learning. This spring, they’ll be building on this work, developing a theory of change based around how we could better serve our students and communities. The Pivot Dinner is a meaningful first step, and helped many corps members begin to consider how individuals can spark systemic change.
“Throughout our conversation, I was reminded of how complex and deeply interwoven the issues around educational inequity are. I walked away from the evening with a larger commitment to continue learn about the sources of inequity and institutional racism- from legislation to socioeconomic factors, and everything in between,” said corps member Kelia Veiga, a kindergarten teacher in North Lawndale.
But beyond sharing ideas and perspectives, central to the Pivot Dinner was building community. Corps members reconnected with each other, and built new relationships with members of the Greater Chicago-Northwest Indiana education and civic community. “It was good to talk through some of the larger issues we all have been experiencing. I feel a part of a cohort,” shared corps member Brian Chan, an elementary teacher on the South Side.
Community members shared similar thoughts, but also walked away inspired by the work of our teachers. “I am constantly amazed at the job they do,” shared Richard Kincaid, CEO of Sagegreenlife and a Teach For America supporter. “It is not easy, but they are making a huge difference in the lives of these kids.”