A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is a reality! – John Lennon
The IMAGINE Campaign is an education advocacy initiative being launched by The Long Island Progressive Education Alliance (one branch of The Children’s Sangha whereby parents, educators, administrators, clinicians, and other professionals work together on behalf of our kids). The campaign is geared to raise awareness, educate, and take action on behalf of ALL children and young adults with particular focus on “Kids in the Middle” who have average – above average – gifted cognition with a learning disability or difference and whose abilities are often not being cultivated and needs are not being fully met.
At this time when education reform is in the air, let’s take this opportunity to IMAGINE! What would the education of our children look like if we became a collaborative community that values all of its members? This cannot happen if we remain silent and follow the norms being imposed by our factory school system due to lack of understanding and the impact of state and federal mandates. The voices, protests and resolutions of parents and educators alike need to be heard!
Let us widen the circle of potential for our students and schools which benefits our communities and beyond. What works for “Kids in the Middle” can also work for other students. We should all be “free to be you and me”! IMAGINE… an education that challenges and inspires, honors your child’s individuality, nurtures mutual respect, fosters relationship building, connects community… an education without labels and without limits!
In keeping with The Children’s Sangha’s Different Abilities Development Model, our IMAGINE Campaign takes into account the “whole child” which includes the individual abilities, needs, ideas, interests and cultural identities of ALL children. Through IMAGINE, we direct both families and schools towards community solutions and initiatives that will guide true and meaningful student success and encourage a more balanced educational experience for our youth.
What’s next? IMAGINE! Let’s learn and grow together and continue the dialog related to education reform at the level of the individual student, throughout the community including our schools and into local, state and federal government. The Children’s Sangha has been building a collaborative community working on behalf of the rights, education and wellness of our youth. Please join us!
We began the New Year 2016 by supporting a petition to provide Multiple Pathways to a Diploma to ensure that ALL students have the opportunity to graduate from high school in New York State (not restricting students based on Regents Diploma requirement). Tell NYS to reinstate the General Diploma and RCTs OR make the CDOS a pathway to diploma for ALL students as one-size-does-not-fit all! Lives are in the balance! Visit the Multiple Pathways to a Diploma for ALL Facebook Page for news and related articles. During Fall 2016, we assisted movements to reinstate or elect new local legislators and senators who support our children and not failed education policies while establishing relationships across our region of NY. Together, we can make a difference!
In the New Year 2017, we put increased pressure on NYS and provided much needed input directly to the Department of Education and NYS Regents through our representatives and by collaborating with NYS Allies for Public Education. We participated in an education forum with Senator Todd Kaminsky: Diploma Options for Students where NYS Board of Regents Chancellor, Betty Rosa and others were in attendance (February 2017). Additionally, we held a Community Education Event around the film 2e: Twice Exceptional Movie at SUNY College at Old Westbury (March 2017) which follows the educational and personal journeys, struggles and outcomes of five students who have been identified as 2e in addition to interviews with students, parents and professionals. The film sheds light on some of the issues and some of the solutions that can help us help ALL students. We were joined by community partner organizations and a professional panel following the film to begin the “broader conversation” towards impacting change in education today. In speaking at the ESSA Forum with NYS Commissioner of Education, MaryEllen Elia, we continue to focus on the need for “Multiple Pathways to a Diploma for ALL” (June 2017). In addition to the DIPLOMA CRISIS jeopardizing high school graduation for so many students who are doing well in school and capable of being productive citizens, changes to ESSA have other implications for the kids who need our support most!
We have supported NEW candidates for school board, legislative, and NYS Senate positions during 2017, all of whom are parents and educators working on behalf of our children! Through the political process, we have had impact! The latest is that as of December 2017, the CDOS has been approved as a diploma pathway in addition to other modifications made earlier in the year. This is a step in the right direction, ensuring that more students have the opportunity to graduate from high school. Although, additional changes are encouraged in general education towards more balanced assessments and “whole child” learning methods.
More in 2018 in partnership with variety education-based and political organizations who have a true concern for our children at the center. Updates will follow during Spring 2018!
Visit The Children’s Sangha Facebook Page for IMAGINE Campaign updates. For more information, connect with The Children’s Sangha through our Contact Page. IMAGINE that we can empower schools to “respect the unique way a child perceives the world, and accordingly, shape the way a child is going to learn.” – Herbert Kohl