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.
By Martha Sessums, President, ACE
ACE welcomes Diane Guthmann as our newest ACE Board member.
Diane has been following ACE for years and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the work the ACE Learning Centers do for the schools and communities they support. It seemed a natural to ask Diane to join the ACE board when we had an opening. Plus, she has considerable experience ACE can draw on as we move forward.
First, Diane knows technology. She has built a career in partner marketing and channel programs leadership for technology companies where she developed and managed global programs and teams. Companies like Dropbox, Ruckus Networks, VMware and Nortel Networks where she held director and senior manager positions and had many successes, including global product introductions, marketing campaigns and partner training programs.
Diane also worked for Network Equipment Technologies where she learned the basis of how networks perform, which is where I met her. She is currently at VMware on a consulting basis working on global demand generation programs for SaaS solutions.
Second, Diane is current with today’s communications needs. She has earned awards for social media success and integrated marketing programs – all skill sets that are important for any non-profit (or ACE Learning Center) to successfully deliver their message. An extra – Diane earned an MBA from Boston University Questrom School of Business, Boston, MA.
Welcome Diane. We look forward to working with you and using your skills to make ACE even better.
By Martha Sessums, President, ACE
They’re ready. The ACE Learning Center managers have spent the summer analyzing (and re-analyzing) what schooling will look like 15 months into a pandemic, after a sometimes wild path to a virtual learning experience plus the personal needs of students and teachers alike. Many programs and learning experiences were impacted in positive and negative ways, and the review of best practices to implement for the new school year has not only been masterful but has focused on looking forward, not backward.
“As we move forward, we intend not to fall in line behind notions of ‘learning loss,’ said Veronica Garcia Montejano, Principal, Oakland International High School. “Newcomer students do not need additional deficit framing. We will recognize the lost learning opportunities and continue to collaborate in designing learning experiences that grow soft and hard skills, motivating students to find purpose in learning and to assert their own voices.”
Examples of some of the forward-looking programs will be:
Alpha Parent Center – grow the community focus with parents and expand the high school Dream Club that encourages and supports students applying to and entering college.
Oakland International High School ACE Learning Center – provide greater support to dual enrollment students during the school day with elective reading and writing classes designed to support their success in the college courses they are taking; expand the internship/mentor program for Wellness Ambassadors to engage with and support an increased number of students who need the connection, plus include the Ambassador’s opinions and vision in creating school programming that is genuinely responsive to student needs.
San Francisco International High School ACE Learning Center – greater investment in the mentor program to provide meaningful academic support while helping students quickly connect to the community; expand the Span program with an Advisory class for graduating students to help them develop the skills needed to graduate and provide a connection with classmates to help heal the isolation and disconnectedness of the last 15 months; provide additional counseling support; connect and engage with families as a fundamental part of the learning community.
KALW Audio Academy – the 2021/22 Audio Academy class will be announced in September and students, while learning the skills of radio storytelling, will have a focus on community and telling stories that attract a new audience – the diverse and younger Bay Area community.
It looks like an exciting year and the ACE Spectrum blog will attempt to help tell the stories, successes and best practices of the ACE Learning Centers. Stay tuned to be amazed.
Lessons from KALW Audio Academy 2021 Graduation: Doing Great Community Journalism and Giving What is Needed to Help Others
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW, Audience Supported Public Media
The Audio Academy class of 2021 just graduated! Huge congratulations to:
We had a lovely final Zoom meet-up, at which the fellows’ extraordinary mentors Hana Baba, David Boyer, LIsa Morehouse, and Marissa Ortega-Welch shared their reflections on the year. Shout outs, too, to the rest of our incredibly supportive team of teachers and journalists: Shereen Adel, Jeneé Darden, Tarek Fouda, Ninna Gaensler-Debs, Gabe Grabin, Angela Johnston, Kristin McCandless, Sonia Narang, Andrew Stelzer, Judy Silber, and Eli Wirtschafter. I’m not normally sentimental, but I got choked up hearing the care, love, and connection shared by our staff with the students. For many in the Audio Academy, this is the only first professional mentorship they’ve received, and thanks to ACE, we’ve been able to provide that and much more for dozens of Academy fellows and hundreds of other aspiring journalists and storytellers over the last decade.
Happily, last week, we were also able to gather beyond the two-dimensional rectangles of video conferencing, coming together for a party at Lake Temescal in Oakland. It was a lifetime pleasure to see these folks in person, with whom we’d worked virtually the last nine months, and to host special guests including ACE board members Martha Sessums, Philip Mustain, and Ron Loiacono. And since we were vaccinated, many of us were actually able to hug each other! It felt like summer. It felt like an emergence.
Much of the conversation, naturally, was about our experiences of the pandemic. Many of us contracted COVID-19. Many of us lost family members. We’ve been forever affected, forever scarred, and we’ve learned so much.
For me, this time of isolation forced a period of reflection. I am so grateful to work in an industry, public interest journalism, that is intended to help make a better world. And we have worked very hard to do that in these last 15 months. We transformed, quarantined, worried, and wondered as the United States went through continued political upheaval, and took part in intensified and overdue racial reckonings. And as we reassessed who we are and why we’re here, I’ve seen our team step up. We’ve all worked harder, to try to do more, to help each other understand a changing world. It’s so exhausting. Overwhelming. And yet it is also so fulfilling.
I leaned into self-care to help sustain me through uncertainty and a heavy workload. For me that means surfing — disconnecting from everything wired and wireless and connecting with nature. It also meant building closer and more regular connections with family and friends. Our team at KALW was so good about regularly checking in with one another, encouraging breaks and bigger-picture perspectives. Even though we were split apart in our home offices for so long, we maintained our relationships, holding morning check-ins, not so much about the news of the day, but about the news of our lives, how we were feeling, and what support we needed and could give.
Ultimately, that has been one of my most significant takeaways from living through this continued pandemic. What can I give to help others? I was so incredibly appreciative to feel the warmth and camaraderie and gratitude of the Audio Academy graduates, and the many people who support them, in their families and friends, at KALW, and at ACE. As these graduates move into the next phases of their careers and lives, with this professional and personal foundation as part of their path, I know they will spread those critical values exponentially, as all of the classes have before.
KALW’s former general manager, Matt Martin, had a quote written above the doorway to his office: “It’s up to us, but it’s not about us.” I reflect on those words all the time.
It’s a gift to be able to give, to be able to help others make their way, to learn, to thrive, and to then pass the gift on to others. I am so grateful to be in a position through which I’m able to do that. To share what I can and help others reach their goals and dreams. I can’t do it alone. None of us can. But we’re all part of something bigger than ourselves.
As we’ve learned in getting through these hard times as best we can, we have each other. We have so much to give. And it will always make a difference.