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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.

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Poets Come in All Shapes and Sizes But it’s the Strong Mind That Counts

Posted by on Apr 25, 2022 in ACE Learning Center, ACE School Report, Continuing Education | 0 comments

By Dexter and Luna, ACE Poetry Contest Mascots, helped by Martha who seems to like punching keyboard keys one at a time instead of all at once like we love to do

Dexter (left) and Luna.

Dexter here. How’s your National Poetry Month been going, Luna? I must say I’ve been having a lot of fun barking poems to Russ as we go for walks. I also have barked poems to people who come to the door. They think I’m just barking at them, but I’m really barking poetry.

Ha, me too. Luna here, and I’ve been barking a few poems and pushing my way through groups of people to make sure they’re paying attention to my poems. Sometimes you need to be pushy to make them pay attention, but I’m friendly and cute when I’m pushy, so most people pay attention to my poems.

One of the cool things about this month is the different poets I’ve learned about. One is Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo who is considered to be Africa’s first modern poet and great literary artist from Madagascar. He grew up poor and never completed what we would call high school, but he educated himself in the French language and traditional Malagasy poetry. He published poems when he was a teenager that were published in literary reviews and then went on to publish several poetry collections as well as an opera and two novels.

Wow, Luna. That’s pretty cool. Thank you for introducing me (Dexter) to this poet and his poetry.  One of his poems we both loved is about birds. The cool thing about poetry is that it tells personal stories in a sometimes hidden way, and this poem says that the one who succeeds isn’t necessarily the strongest or the most beautiful. It’s the one that is a free thinker, one that is sure of him or herself and free from their “body” who makes an impact on others and the world. Check it out.

The Three Birds

Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo
Translated from the French by Vivek Narayanan

The iron bird, the bird of steel
who after having lacerated the clouds of morning
would want to puncture the stars
beyond the day,
retreats, as if in remorse,
into an artificial cave.

 The corporeal bird, the feathered bird,
who forces a tunnel through the wind
to get to the moon he’s seen in a dream
among the branches
falls with the night
into a labyrinth of leaves.

And the disembodied one
who ravishes the custodian of the skull
with a stammering song—
opens those echoing wings
moves to pacify space
never to return except once, as an immortal.

I’m glad you liked the poem, Dexter. Next time we bark at birds we’ll ask ourselves is this a bird of steel, a bird more concerned with their body or a bird who flies high and becomes immortal because they have a strong mind. That’s a poetic lesson for all of us.

Luna, that’s because both of us have strong minds. Just ask Ross who we hang with, takes us for walks and teaches us how to be good dogs and gives us yummy treats. We hope that all you poets out there are enjoying learning about poetry and are bravely writing poems. Poets come in all shapes and forms, but it’s the poet’s mind that finds the words to rise above and find each poet’s truths.

Happy last week of National Poetry Month. Enjoy those poem treats.

Great News Comes in Threes for KALW’s Training Programs

Posted by on Apr 21, 2022 in ACE Learning Center, ACE School Report, Continuing Education | 0 comments

By Ben Trefny, Interim Executive Director, KALW Public Media

I’ve got three pieces of great news to share with you.

Shereen Adel winning the award for “Captain Superfoods” last week at KALW.

One – KALW’s Editorial Operations Manager, Shereen Adel — Audio Academy class of 2016 and KALW’s current training director — was recently named as part of the Online News Association’s 2022 Women’s Leadership Accelerator! The inspiring group represents six countries and showcases a range of expertise: from local news; to production innovation; to audio. (Or, in Shereen’s case, all three!) You can meet the #ONAWLA cohort by clicking here.

Two – The station’s listeners really came through in our March membership drive, helping KALW surpass it’s $250,000 fundraising goal. In fact, we set a “stretch goal” of $275,000 that would ensure funding for our high school podcasting institute. And our supporters helped us meet that, too! I met with our program’s teachers, Holly J. McDede (Audio Academy class of 2013) and Sarah Lai Stirland (Audio Academy class of 2020), last week, and we’re setting plans in place for recruitment of teenagers around the Bay Area and the timing of our program. As I’ve shared before, the podcast we help teenagers create — tbh — won the most recent “Student Special Project” award from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California chapter. Can’t wait to get started on the new season!

ThreeJohanna Miyaki, one of KALW’s current fellows in its Audio Academy training program, is part of a class that’s just two months away from graduation. Here are some of Johanna’s thoughts about working on her first full-length feature story (which you can hear by clicking here):

Johanna Miyaki

My experience producing my first feature was such a great opportunity to identify how to play to my strengths and lean into emerging skills. Having the talent and support of the team of mentors, editors, and engineers at KALW available to me was such a great confidence boost and motivator. I am proud of the work I did and so grateful to my subject for trusting me with his story. His response to me meant so much, he was so pleased with the story and said one of the actualities I used (from someone else in the story about him) “brought a tear to his eye.” A high compliment! This meant I moved someone with the story, my subject no less, and it meant the world. I am digging into my next feature now. It’s sort of set a bar for me personally in the best way!

Four – I know I said three pieces of great news, but here’s a fourth: KALW is currently accepting applications for its next Audio Academy class! Learn all about audio journalism and storytelling from a well-seasoned team of supportive professionals serving the Bay Area. It’s a mission-driven, community-building, fun, fulfilling, and potentially life-changing experience, and we welcome you to apply to be part of it! Learn all about it by clicking here

Poetry Can Help Build Wings to Fly Because Change is Beautiful

Posted by on Apr 20, 2022 in ACE Learning Center, ACE School Report | 0 comments

By Bessie, ACE Poetry Contest Mascot, Oakland International High School, assisted by Martha because Bessie has a hard time punching computer keys to make words

Bessie here, poetry mascot for OIHS.

Hello from Oakland. I’m Bessie and I’ve been busy enjoying long flights up in the sky and looking down on the world below. Oakland International High School (OIHS) is my special world that I love to float around. I meet students in the main courtyard and stop on the edge of a bench to listen to them. Or I float to the soccer field, making sure I stay out of the way of both the ball sailing through the air and the students running to catch the ball to send it flying the other way.

I’m so proud to be this year’s poetry mascot for OIHS. I have long been a part of the school. There’s even a hoodie with my image drawn on it that says, “Migration is beautiful.” It speaks to the fact that students have traveled from many parts of the world to be a part of this great school.

But I like to think that the inspiration of butterflies like me isn’t just about migration but represents the great change that all OIHS students can experience. I’m a perfect example of change. I started out as a caterpillar, kinda slow and moving funny. Then something amazing happened. I started building a safe place around me, a cocoon that hugs and supports me as I learn about being a butterfly and how I want to fly. I stayed there until my wings formed and I felt comfortable to break free and spread those wings. Then I moved to my current beautiful stage where I fly up in the sky and do amazing things and people love looking at me.

There are many inspirations for changing into a butterfly. One is my namesake. Her name was Bessie Coleman and she was the first African-American woman and first Native American to hold an airplane pilot’s license. She learned the skills and earned the license in France and returned to the US to become a spectacular flyer in airshows that were popular in the 1920s. There’s a road at Oakland International Airport named after her and she will be honored on the US quarter in 2023. She came from sharecropper background but she always wanted to fly – literally.

Flying and changing into a butterfly is amazing inspiration for poetry too. Poetry can be flowery (my favorite type) but it often directly gets to the truth and spirit of how we feel, which can inspire feelings and hope to encourage all of us to fly. Earning wings is hard for humans but poetry can be an inspiration.

One of my favorite poets is a Maya Angelou and a favorite poem is “Still I Rise.” She strongly and a bit sassily tells the world that even if she is trodden on that “like dust, I’ll rise.”

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

And then she proclaims her flight path upward full of dreams and hope and we all know she makes it high into the air and inspires those of us still growing in our caterpillar cocoons to know that wings will help us rise.

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

I’m sure that the OIHS students will write poetry that will inspire everyone to work to fly upward toward each personal success. Even if the poem you write doesn’t win the contest, it’s a path to understanding our truths and that helps build our wings so we can rise.

Happy National Poetry Month. Time for me to fly off as I hear those dogs coming. Love ya Dexter and Luna, but you do like to chase after me.