Teachers Teaching Teachers #237 - Social Entrepreneurs Mike Town, Bill Ferriter and Kyle Meador, with Suzie Boss - 3.2.11

Post-Show description: 
The day after this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers, Chris Sloan, a frequent co-host and planner on the show this year, wrote to Susan and Paul: “I have to say that last night's TTT was an inspiration. It's really got me re-evaluating my teaching.”

The focus of this week’s episode was on social start-ups. Suzie Boss helped us decide who to invite to a show where we were asking to better understand social entrepreneurship. One of the projects that Suzie thought we would want to know about is Cool School Challenge, which, in her description is:
an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of schools. It was launched by Mike Town, environmental science teacher at Redmond High School in Washington, and partners with Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. Participating schools set CO2 reduction goals, figure out their own strategies to achieve them, and track results (and $$ savings for schools) on their website: www.coolschoolchallenge.org

We caught up with Mike Town while he was traveling. Mike currently lives in Washington DC on a year-long Einstein fellowship with the National Science Foundation, and will return to teaching next year. We ask Mike specific questions about Cool School Challenge, but we also ask him to help us to think about the whole idea of working with students to learn about how social justice issues and entrepreneurship can go together.

Bill Ferriter (One Tweet CAN Change the World) was another able guide in our inquiry on this episode of TTT. We talk to him about his micro-loans club of which he and his students are pretty excited:  
One of the projects that I've begun to engage my students in is studying the world through microloans that we are making through Kiva.  We've spent the better part of the past 8 months raising money, studying countries, and selecting entrepreneurs that we are willing to support with loans ranging anywhere from $25-$100.  We've even created a Lending Team---called Team Kids Care---designed to encourage other classes to join us in our efforts. (See more on his Microloans wiki page on Digitally Speaking.)

Another social entrepreneur on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers was our colleague from New Orleans, Kyle Meador, who is the Director of Educational Programs at Our School at Blair Grocery. Their "About OSBG" page on their web site summarizes some of the work that Kyle does with Nat Turner (5 Years After Katrina, Teacher Tills Soil of Lower 9th Ward) and others in the Lower Ninth Ward:

Our mission is to create a resource-rich safe space for youth empowerment and sustainable community development.
Currently, we:

  • Employ 10 neighborhood teenagers in our Growing Growers program,
  • Operate as the Gulf Coast Growing Power Regional Outreach Training Center,
  • Operate a Community Supported Agriculture-style market (Our Market) and a restaurant sales business generating an average of $1,500 weekly from 1/3 acre of land with our students,
  • Engage and educate over 700 high school and college service-learners annually, and
  • Operate an independent alternative school with 5 total students
For listeners who want some background about social entrepreneurship, Suzie Boss provides a couple of a couple of introductory links:

The New Heroes is a PBS documentary series (now a few years old) that profiles social entrepreneurs from around the world. (Full disclosure: Suzie helped write the classroom materials). Details here: www.pbs.org/thenewheroes

Youth Venture is the sister organization Ashoka, which has been kind of the mother-ship for nurturing social entrepreneurs worldwide. Youth Venture aims to get teens (and younger students) involved in leading their own sustainable solutions, and offers start-up grants to teams that come up with good ideas: http://www.genv.net/

We hope you too will find inspiration and encouragement from these beacons of social vision and business sense that we were able to have on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers.

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

20:53:04 Peggy George: Hi everyone! So excited you're having Suzie Boss on tonight! :-) Welcome Suzie
20:53:19 Suzie Boss: Hi Peggy! Glad to be here--a favorite topic!
20:53:36 Peggy George: you have a lot of favorite topics :-)
20:53:41 Suzie Boss: ;-)
20:55:30 Peggy George: Hi Chris and Martha
20:55:37 Paul Allison: Hi All... a couple of tricky connections here.
20:55:40 Martha: Hey. :)
20:55:51 Peggy George: Lorna said she would ustream for you right?
20:56:03 Chris Sloan: Hello
20:56:09 Peggy George: we were just testing it out on her ustream channel right before your show
20:56:09 Suzie Boss: Hi Chris!
20:56:17 Paul Allison: Oh? Is ssusan not available or is that in addition?
20:56:26 Peggy George: coming through now :-)
20:56:43 Peggy George: in addition... Lorna often comes to the rescue along with Sheila Adams
20:57:04 Peggy George: I'm still trying to learn how to do it :-)
20:57:07 Paul Allison: oh... okay...
20:57:25 Peggy George: off air now but I'm sure it will be back
20:57:27 Chris Sloan: Hi Suzie.  I liked your Educon writeup on your Edutopia blog.  Wish I could have been there.
20:57:47 Suzie Boss: Thanks, Chris--would have enjoyed meeting you
20:57:51 Suzie Boss: It's a great event
20:58:18 susanettenheim: hi all can you hear us?
20:58:19 Chris Sloan: I checked out a couple of the recorded sessions.  Great stuff
20:58:23 Peggy George: hearing it fine
20:58:34 Peggy George: perfect Lorna!
20:58:45 Suzie Boss: I can't hear anything :-(
20:59:03 Peggy George: click on play to listen on ustream. If you're in the skype call don't listen to the ustream-mute it
20:59:17 Peggy George: Suzie you should be hearing on Skype not ustream
21:00:10 Peggy George: don't you love technology??!! I do!
21:00:26 Peggy George: the audio is really clear on ustream :-)
21:00:43 Peggy George: hooray for Lorna!!!
21:00:58 Peggy George: fantastic to have Bill joining us too!!!
21:01:42 lorna: sound ok Peggy?
21:01:54 Peggy George: sound is excellent!
21:02:09 Peggy George: Welcome to Bill Ferriter! So excited to hear from him again!
21:02:31 Peggy George: what an awesome team in this call!! woo hoo!
21:03:15 susanettenheim: hi everyone - welcome! how is our sound?
21:03:21 Peggy George: Mike will know Suzie after this call :-)
21:03:23 Chris Sloan: sounds good
21:03:32 susanettenheim: Lorna is rescuing us tonight on ustream - thank you lorna!!
21:03:53 Peggy George: always love to hear from Martha!
21:04:46 Peggy George: extra credit Martha :-)
21:05:54 Chris Sloan: quite a lineup tonight
21:06:16 Peggy George: incredible lineup!
21:06:44 Peggy George: the great thing about using ustream is there is no lag in the talk and the chat log
21:07:36 Peggy George: congrats Kyle!
21:07:43 kmeador: Thanks
21:07:59 Peggy George: Bill Ferriter
21:08:52 kmeador: www.ourschoolatblairgrocery.org
21:09:11 kmeador: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/education/16blair.html?_r=2&emc=eta1
21:09:12 Suzie Boss: www.coolschoolchallenge.org
21:09:20 susanettenheim: thanks Kyle and Suzie!
21:10:01 susanettenheim: welcome sittmrev where and what do you teach?
21:10:17 Peggy George: http://www.teacherleaders.org/node/4288 link to Bill's microloans info
21:10:35 Peggy George: thanks for those links Kkyle
21:11:05 Peggy George: perfect setup Martha :-)
21:12:27 kmeador: great question Martha!
21:12:30 Peggy George: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_entrepreneurship
21:12:50 Chris Sloan: Thanks for the link Peggy
21:12:50 sittmrev: www.nwphs.org
21:13:10 sittmrev: Current Director of NWPHS
21:13:21 susanettenheim: welcome!
21:14:24 Chris Sloan: Interesting school sittmrev. I like the philosophy
21:15:17 Peggy George: what an awesome project!!!
21:15:43 lorna: that is a fantastic idea
21:15:44 Chris Sloan: $3000 a week! That's impressive
21:16:49 Peggy George: the Kiva loans are such a great way to get started with that
21:17:08 kmeador: and with that we're able to pay stipends to our students and after-school "growing growers"
21:18:36 Peggy George: I got started with Kiva loans because someone gifted one to me and then I continued from there. Love that concept
21:19:56 Peggy George: @Kyle how much time do you have to spend sustaining your project?
21:20:46 Peggy George: http://www.kiva.org/
21:21:44 kmeador: we're a little ways away from being fully sustainable without grants, but getting there. Not entirely sure what you're asking... Our staff of 7 w/ 3 interns and a consistent flow of local and national service-learners we're making great progress
21:22:13 Peggy George: do any of you use the Carbon Rally challenges to reduce carbon emissions? http://www.carbonrally.com/
21:22:54 Peggy George: I was thinking more of time spent rather than funding support (just thinking about replicability)
21:25:20 Peggy George: http://www.kickstart.org/
21:25:21 Suzie Boss: http://kickstart.org
21:25:25 Peggy George: :-)
21:25:54 Peggy George: that's a great point Suzie about making it connect to the curriculum-very important
21:26:12 Peggy George: Bill's project is a perfect match with his curriculum
21:26:26 Chris Sloan: That's real world learning
21:26:27 Paul Allison: http://digitallyspeaking.pbworks.com/w/page/17791571/Microloans
21:26:44 kmeador: ahhh, got ya. much of our curriculum is built around our social entreprenuership work. business/math class studies sales reports,profit, loss, etc. science is compost, soil building, aquaponics, etc. Similarly, the issues of social justice that are related to who has access to food and who does not are integrated into our people's history course.
21:26:48 susanettenheim: welcome back sittmrev
21:27:15 sittmrev: Here is a recent project our students completed:
21:27:21 Peggy George: http://teacherleaders.typepad.com/the_tempered_radical/2010/12/one-tweet... Bill's blog post about how one tweet can change the world
21:28:01 Peggy George: great description Kyle
21:28:37 susanettenheim: hi renee welcome please introduce yourself!
21:29:06 Peggy George: funny Paul! all the best stuff happens after school... not always but often
21:29:06 Renee: Hi. I am teacher an elementary teacher at FLACS in the Bronx.
21:29:31 Martha: I should no. I spend a lot of time after school. :p
21:29:48 sittmrev: http://fieldnotes.nwphs.org/field-notes-adventures-i/2011/02/guatemala-d... NWPHS is a public charter school where we have over 45 expeditions this year and is completely free for students
21:29:55 Martha: *know. my bad.
21:30:23 Peggy George: that's incredible!! 45 expeditions this year! wow!
21:30:43 Renee: How were you able to fubd these expeditions?
21:30:44 susanettenheim: welcome renee!
21:31:14 Renee: Hi Susan. Thsi is a very interesting topic tonight.
21:31:16 sittmrev: We allocate 100k-140k per year for field studies, we use our per pupil allocation, no grants no fund raising
21:31:31 Renee: Wow.
21:31:38 susanettenheim: how did you find us renee
21:32:05 Renee: I met Paul last summer at NWP.
21:32:18 susanettenheim: ahh welcome!
21:32:22 Renee: I attended edtech talk last summer
21:33:16 kmeador: what state?
21:33:23 Renee: NYC.
21:33:26 kmeador: k
21:33:29 kmeador: thanks
21:33:45 Renee: What project are you working on?
21:34:05 Peggy George: two really key points!! fits in the curriculum and easy to implement
21:34:34 kmeador: I'm at Our School at Blair Grocery in L9W New Orleans. www.ourschoolatblairgrocery.org
21:35:03 sittmrev: Peter Pappas tweeted this out.  Met him the the Project Unconference last summer.  We teach a Foods in America, Sustainable Building, and E^3 (Ethics, Environment and Economics)
21:35:37 Renee: I heard about your school and attended a PBL summer camp where you spoke about that school.
21:35:56 Peggy George: that would kill it for sure! attach it to a test!
21:37:29 Renee: Are you able to get funding for the School at Blair Grocery? How are your efforts going with the Horizin Gulf Oil Spill?
21:38:01 Paul Allison: @Peggy about connecting to a test... I agree, but only courses that are tested get supported in many schools.
21:38:16 Peggy George: I know that is true--sad but true
21:38:53 kmeador: some grant funding, but working towards sustainability from sales of local organic produce to some of the top New Orleans resteraunts
21:39:06 Suzie Boss: Bill's microlending materials: http://digitallyspeaking.pbworks.com/w/page/17791571/Microloans
21:39:10 kmeador: our students make the sales
21:39:19 Peggy George: http://teacherleaders.typepad.com/the_tempered_radical/2010/12/one-tweet... the story about Karl Fisch's tweet :-)
21:39:24 kmeador: meet with chefs like emeril, john besh
21:40:15 kmeador: ...in addition to supporting sustainability of the school, it provides students weekly stipends
21:40:55 Peggy George: that must be highly motivating to the students Kyle-weekly stipends
21:41:19 Chris Sloan: I notice how all of these projects blend economics with social good
21:42:39 Chris Sloan: In the current budget climate economics might be the best way to introduce these projects that promote the common good
21:42:44 Peggy George: http://go.solution-tree.com/technology/reproducibles_TTiG.html  Bill's book-a fantastic resource!
21:43:00 Renee: @Kyle, thanks. How can other schools help?
21:43:12 Suzie Boss: Teach a Man to Fish: http://www.teachamantofish.org.uk/
21:44:08 Chris Sloan: Another good link Suzie
21:44:32 Peggy George: I love the name of that--teach a man to fish!
21:46:47 Peggy George: you are ALL so resourceful and inspirational!-what great examples!
21:47:45 Renee: Motivated and dedicated.
21:47:52 Peggy George: that's what I was wondering about too--sustainability and scalability with full time teachers
21:48:37 Peggy George: but successful models like yours make it easier for other teachers to replicate--not starting from scratch
21:48:37 Renee: It needs to be a cause that you are really dedicated to or your students are really interested in.
21:49:39 Peggy George: it seems really important to take a team approach with many teachers/students involved so it doesn't all depend on one key person
21:50:17 Peggy George: that is an excellent point Renee!
21:51:09 Peggy George: that's so funny about the lending term
21:52:35 Peggy George: so many aspects to their learning and decisionmaking
21:52:54 Peggy George: I'll bet they are teaching their parents some of these things too B
21:52:59 Peggy George: Bill :-)
21:53:10 kmeador: @Renee, other schools can help in several ways...come visit and work with us, host a fundraiser to help us raise money for resources and program costs, we have some great youth allies in NYC who could come speak at your school, and we have a wish list that of materials and supplies we need.
21:54:29 kmeador: OSBG wish list: https://sites.google.com/site/greenshortypledge/home/our-school-at-blair...
21:54:49 Peggy George: @Kyle--you have thought of everything! :-)
21:54:53 Suzie Boss: Youth Venture: http://www.genv.net/
21:55:13 Suzie Boss: Do Something: http://www.dosomething.org/
21:55:25 Peggy George: have you posted any of those requests on donorschoose?
21:55:50 kmeador: One of our 19 year old youth interns just submitted a application for Do Something!
21:56:21 kmeador: @peggy, not for a little while. we definitely should
21:56:42 Peggy George: absolutely!! will reach people outside of your community
21:57:34 Renee: How do we find out more about that?
21:57:45 kmeador: www.ny2no.org
21:58:43 susanettenheim: we need to be sensitive to lorna tonight.. pls.. I'll work on this for next week
21:59:27 Suzie Boss: www.pbs.org/thenewheroes
22:00:33 Chris Sloan: Thanks Suzie.  This is an approachable way to approach this for a lot of teachers
22:02:17 Peggy George: such a great conversation tonight!! wish it didn't have to end!
22:02:41 susanettenheim: ahh peggy - you don't have to teach in the morning!
22:02:45 Renee: There should be a part II to this conversation.
22:02:59 susanettenheim: definitely!
22:03:10 Peggy George: so true!!
22:03:31 Chris Sloan: Wow. What a bunch of inspirational educators!
22:04:03 Peggy George: I was just wishing... :-) I understand the realities and really appreciate all of the time people have taken tonight to share stories and information! Incredibly valuable!
22:04:29 Peggy George: yes! yes!
22:04:51 Suzie Boss: ssireview.org
22:05:01 kmeador: I'm game for part II. Next time I'd love to get at least one of our students on with me!
22:05:32 Peggy George: that would be great Kyle!
22:06:02 Peggy George: thanks so much Lorna!
22:06:02 Renee: Great discussion. Thank you.
22:06:07 susanettenheim: thanks everyone!
22:06:10 Suzie Boss: Thank you all!
22:06:12 Chris Sloan: Thanks to you all.  Inspirational show