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ACE Spectrum

ACE Spectrum


Ace Spectrum is about you — the ACE Learning Centers.
It’s a quick sharing of ideas, inspiration, opinions and best practices among our continuing education organizations.

Please join the conversation.

Tis the Season of Giving and Admiring

Posted by on Dec 4, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By Martha Sessums, President, ACE

This can be a lovely time of year when we connect with family, share stories about the year’s events and eat pie and cookies. I spent the last weekend doing that, along with a long list of chores around the house and at the computer for work.

The sit-down dinner with the grandkids was fun, and I gained points for not only knowing about TikTok but I have the app on my phone. I even taught the kids to tell me “OK Boomer” if they didn’t like my stories. In turn, I could say “OK Gen Z” for the same reason. And we all laughed at the labels because we were just having fun and there was no judgement involved.

Then on to our long-time friend’s house to join their family. Although I’m not as connected with their kids and grandkids, it was an enjoyable time talking about a wide range of topics from food to travel to health to family traditions.

ACE Learning Centers are a chance to make friends across cultures.

It’s these connections with family and friends that make me thankful for the ACE Learning Centers. They remind me how lucky I am that I have family around me and can visit friends when I want. That the grandkids – boys and girls – have choices about their education and what they want to do in life. That, in reality, our lives may not always be easy, but they don’t compare to many of the experiences of the students and parents that the ACE Learning Centers touch.

For example:
• Living in a country where you don’t know the language. Not only that, you were never, or poorly taught, to read and learning a language requires reading if one wants to read the bus schedule or information from Immigration Services.

• The first school you attended (if you ever attended one) was a mud and straw hut or a tent, so the sturdy walls and gates of this Bay Area school can be intimidating yet offer safety too. And you walked to that school tent in your sometimes shoeless feet. No cars, no carpooling, no buses, no BART, no bikes, no scooters.

• You’re a refugee who fled your country and passed through several others to get to the Bay Area. You and your family left to escape violence or war, yet the journey could also be violent.

• Because of your journey, you have not been to school for many months, and some of your fellow students have not been to school for years. You arrive at this new school hopeful, yet fearful.

• Everyone looks and talks different because the students in the school are from countries covering the alphabet from Afghanistan to El Salvador to Yemen. It can be isolating. But also a chance to make friends across cultures.

• You’re a parent who doesn’t know English, but you need to learn it to get a job and support your family. You need a school that will teach you in the evening hours when you’re not working or support you to perhaps earn a high school diploma.

• You are offered an opportunity to learn a new skill and the training you receive gives you the tools, courage and support to begin producing your own stories.

The students in the ACE Learning Centers learn many new skills. They learn English and math. They learn how to enter college and are emotionally supported once they get there, and some even have College Mentor jobs through ACE. There are amazing stories of students that succeed in high school and college and their lives. And stories of students who follow a passion or parents that succeed in learning new skills to improve themselves, their families and their businesses. Plus, stories where these successes are a struggle.

Sharing some of these stories is what I want to do in the ACE Spectrum blog for 2020 – the Year of Perfect Vision as I told my eye doctor the other day. Only by seeing into how others live and learn, their challenges and battles, their grit and dedication can we see ourselves.

The research firms like to put labels of Boomer, Gen Z, Millennial etc. on us, but the real label is that we are human, and we need to support each other. That is what ACE Learning Centers do and I admire the educational leaders who run the programs. So please look forward to ACE Spectrum sharing the ACE Learning Center student stories so we can admire their journeys and successes.

More Journalism Awards for KALW and the Audio Academy Team

Posted by on Nov 22, 2019 in ACE Learning Center, ACE Partners, Continuing Education | 0 comments

By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW, Listener Supported Public Radio

Over the last two weeks, our team has been honored with 17 awards from the San Francisco Press Club and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. There are always lots of people working behind the scenes for folks who win awards, so we’d like to thank our friends from the Association for Continuing Education for their continuing support!

In our last blog post, we noted the stories and programs we were recognized for in the Greater Bay Area Journalism contest. Several members of our team represented at the awards dinner in Burlingame on Thursday, November 7, and they took a joyful picture after the ceremony:

Clockwise from the left, with Audio Academy graduating class in parentheses, that’s Holly J. McDede, Andrew Stelzer, Eli Wirtschafter (’16), Kristi Coale, Marisol Medina-Cadena (’18), and Hana Baba.

Then, on Thursday, November 14, a whole bunch of us went to the San Francisco waterfront for the Excellence in Journalism awards. Our honorees for those prestigious prizes included Maggie McKay (’19) who won “Best Feature” with KALW sound engineer Gabe Grabin for “What to Do When Your Favorite Song Has Toxic Lyrics? Play it on Repeat

Maggie McKay at podium, behind Maggie are former KALW managing news editor Jen Chien and former National Association of Black Journalists president Bob Butler.

Later in the ceremony, KALW education reporter (and current Audio Academy mentor) Lee Romney won for “Best Ongoing Series” for Learning While Black: The Fight for Equality in San Francisco Schools.

Lee Romney, KALW education reporter and current Audio Academy mentor.

KALW content manager Shereen Adel (’16), who now helps guide Audio Academy fellows every day, won the special “Unsung Hero” award.

KALW content manager Shereen Adel (’16).

Marissa Ortega-Welch, who runs KALW’s training programs, was honored as the “Best Emerging Journalist” across all media.

Marissa Ortega-Welch runs KALW’s training programs.

And the Bounce team plus Bo Walsh (’18, not pictured) won for “Best Sports Reporting” across all media.

Ben Trefny, News Director on the left, with KALW managing editor David Boyer (’14), Jen, Bob, KALW’s East Oakland reporter and Sights & Sounds host Jeneé Darden, Marco Siler-Gonzales, and Raphael Cohen.

After the ceremony, Audio Academy alums and award winners Maggie and Shereen snuck in a classic KALW twins moment.

Audio Academy alums and award winners Maggie and Shereen.

And altogether, doesn’t KALW’s award winning team make for an outstanding looking group of journalists?!

KALW’s award winning team.

That was fun.

We’ve got a lot to celebrate, and a lot more great work to produce. Back to work!

KALW and Audio Academy Journalists Win San Francisco Press Club Honors

Posted by on Nov 5, 2019 in ACE Learning Center, ACE School Report, Continuing Education | 0 comments

By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW, Listener Supported Public Radio

It’s awards season for Bay Area journalists, and this is a big one for KALW. On Thursday, many members of our team will be honored by the San Francisco Press Club for stories and programs produced during the 2018 calendar year. And many of those are graduates of our Audio Academy training program!

See below for the honorees (with Audio Academy fellows noted with their graduating years in parentheses):

Overall Excellence — Team — “Crosscurrents

Public Affairs ProgramRose Aguilar, Malihe Razazan, Kevin Vance, Laura Wenus — “Your Call

DocumentaryNinna Gaensler-Debs and Holly J. McDede — “Meet the lawyers fighting the federal government to save their clients from deportation”

Feature Story / Light NatureEmma McAvoy and Holly J. McDede — “At Alcatraz Alumni Reunion, former convicts are rockstars

Feature Story / Light NatureChristine Nguyen (’18) — “Finding home in San Jose’s Grand Century Mall

Feature Story / Serious NatureMarisol Medina-Cadena (’19) — “Oakland-raised Maya are bridging the Mam language gap in local courts

Investigative ReportingClaire Stremple (’17) — “San Francisco may be the first city in the nation to open safe injection sites

News StoryMarco Siler-Gonzales — “United Methodist Church alleges moral corruption in Glide’s leadership

SeriesDamon L. Cooke, Steve Drown, Spoon Jackson, Hannah Kingsley-Ma, Joe Kirk, Bryan Mazza, JulianGlenn “Luke” Padgett, Jessica Placzek, Andrew Stelzer, b.f. thames, Eli Wirtschafter — “Uncuffed

Sports FeatureKristi Coale — “19th Century Baseball Lives On In Bay Area Parks

Sports FeatureBo Walsh (’18) — “The Stanford Band scatters on

Take a few minutes to click on some of those stories and see what makes them among the best produced in the Bay Area.

Meanwhile, of course, we’re still busy producing, and training the next cohort of award-winners! Here are some thoughts from Audio Academy fellow Precious Green:

Precious Green winning her first award — our in-house trophy — for recording her first story:  “an election brief about San Francisco’s Proposition F
Photo credit: Ben Trefny

I applied to the Audio Academy out of curiosity. My public radio listener bonafides were solid. I just wanted to know a little more about how the stories are made and how I could tell some of my own. I honestly didn’t think much about a reporting beat or what this might mean as a career. My goals were simple: create a good story and maybe get Audie Cornish or Scott Simon to notice me. And so I gave it a shot, and KALW said, “Yes!”

At some point during our orientation, our coordinator, Marissa Ortega-Welch, let us know that we were journalists. We even got KALW News business cards. You know that nervous chuckle you make when someone tells you something about yourself that you aren’t really ready to believe? Well, that was me at that moment. Thankfully, it soon clicked. My fellow Academy classmates and I are journalists. We are a diverse array of life experiences, training and voices that represent all corners of the Bay Area. We are uncovering and crafting powerful stories for and about our community.

There is so much that happens before a listener hears a news story that she shares with her co-workers. Iconic “driveway moments” don’t just happen. They take work. For me, it’s also taken a lot of learning of newsroom fundamentals. Each week, another fellow and I work side by side with KALW’s dynamic reporters, editors and engineers to craft news broadcasts and programming.

I am grateful to have a cohort to experience it with. During our time together, we’ve bonded during our weekly seminars. We’ve gone into the field with headphones on and mics at the ready to capture the sounds and stories of our neighbors. We have anxiously uploaded clips and tracks to Pro Tools and learned the fundamentals of storycraft. Each of us has worked on breaking news, researched and prepared election briefs, and now we are diving into truly immersive storytelling. It has been amazing.