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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

- Authored by: Gary Kaplan

Rising to the Challenge - How JFY’s dedicated staff helped teachers and students beat the shutdown

by Gary Kaplan

How JFY’s dedicated staff helped teachers and students beat the shutdown

When schools closed in March of last year, it was unclear whether or how classes could continue. No one had anticipated the need for a transition to full-time online instruction. (Why would they?) But teachers in our partner schools were able to continue their classes remotely using the same JFYNet resources they had been using all year in the classroom. Students were able to access their software curricula without interruption during the spring and summer. The transition from in-person to remote was not without its rough spots, but teachers and students were able to continue their classes. Our staff maintained their practice of working closely with teachers via email, text and video conference to track and support students’ learning throughout the shutdown. Working together, we kept school in session.

Independence Day-- or Equality Day? What are we celebrating?

by Gary Kaplan

What are we celebrating?

The Declaration of Independence is a curious document. Much of it consists of grievances against the actions of King George III which are summarized as “the establishment of an absolute Tyranny.” There are 27 discrete articles in the catalogue of complaints.

The themes are familiar: arbitrary governance and legislation; usurpation of justice and the rule of law; military occupation; economic imperialism in taxes and trade; overt military aggression and incitement of domestic insurrection. All tourists on the Freedom Trail and fans of the Boston Tea Party have heard these complaints recited since childhood.

The Healing Fountain, What poetry does

by Gary Kaplan

What poetry does

“Poetry is typically the touchstone that we go back to when we have to remind ourselves of the
history that we stand on, and the future that we stand for.”  –Amanda Gorman

“Poetry makes nothing happen,” wrote W.H. Auden in his tribute to W.B. Yeats. The line was a typically irreverent Auden quip. He loved to shock and subvert, but under his surface flippancy ran a deep current of humanistic faith. Yeats died on January 28, 1939. Germany invaded Poland on September 1, igniting the Second World War. Auden’s In Memory of W.B. Yeats was written in 1940, as was his September 1, 1939. Both poems attempted to find a way out of the “negation and despair” of a world collapsing.

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In Praise of Teachers Teachers are first responders too

Teachers are essential workers too

by Gary Kaplan

The end of the year is a traditional time for reflection. This year, the cup of reflection runneth over to the point of tsunami. Even in the delimited field of education, we could go on for volumes. But let’s pick a subject. Let’s focus on teachers.

Kevin McCaskill of Madison ParkTech Voc

Pandemic exposed a lack of access to technology for some Boston families.

DECEMBER 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast is the second part of the conversation between Executive Director Gary Kaplan and Kevin McCaskill, the Executive Director of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, the only Vocational High School in the Boston Public School system. Mr. McCaskill has been working in education for over 30 years and between them, Gary and Mr. McCaskill have close to 75 years of experience advocating for public education. In this episode, they discuss how the current pandemic exposed a lack of access to technology for some Boston families, how progress and change continues to work its way across the country, and the most important types of leadership needed in our schools to ensure they provide the best possible education to our students.

Kevin McCaskill of Madison ParkTech Voc

Technology could be the great equalizer for underserved populations.

OCTOBER 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast features a conversation between JFY Executive Director Gary Kaplan and Kevin McCaskill, the Executive Director of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, the only Vocational High School in the Boston Public School system. Mr. McCaskill has been working in education for over 30 years. Between them, Mr. Kaplan and Mr. McCaskill have close to 75 years of experience advocating for public education. In this episode, we’ll hear as they talk about a variety of topics, including Mr. McCaskill’s reason for leaving the private sector and beginning a career in education, why urban schools struggle to hire diverse educators, and how technology could be the great equalizer for underserved populations.

Cracks in the Bedrock, The destabilizing effects of inequality

by Gary Kaplan

History doesn’t repeat itself, Mark Twain observed, but it often rhymes.

Because of our peculiar history, the current calls for redirection of police funding to social programs fall with a familiar cadence at JFYNetWorks.

We are often asked what JFY stands for. It stands for Jobs For Youth, the original name of the nonprofit organization. Jobs For Youth was founded in 1976 with a Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention grant from the US Department of Justice. Our original mission was to help high school dropouts find jobs. Low-income youth were dropping out of high school at rates rising toward 20% nationally and 40% in the cities. In the early 1970s the Nixon Administration, predating Reagan, thought the best social program was a job. And so, our history began as a juvenile justice delinquency prevention program.