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CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.

The Soundtrack of CCE

Music has the power to unite and inspire. At the Center for Collaborative Education, we draw on this power to drive our work. Recently our staff gathered to share the songs that empower them in work and life. Here are just a few of their selections.

Children Will Listen - Into the Woods

The message of this song from the musical Into the Woods is to be careful what you say to children, how you treat them, and how you act around them because these actions affect how they learn and how they grow (and glisten as the song says). In our efforts in schools, we are working to show teachers how their actions affect their students, and how they can help them learn, grow, and be the best version of themselves (glisten).

Truth - Kamasi Washington

"Truth" by saxophonist Kamasi Washington is comprised of five separate melodies introduced one at a time, layered on top of each other. This song illustrates that there isn't one "truth" or one "correct" way to express yourself. Instead, the song demonstrates how truth is democratic and how multiple voices together telling a story can be greater than following one single definition. When I think about the work of CCE, I think about how we are working towards a more equitable educational system with more equitable assessments. We want to create a system where we aren't reliant on restrictive assessments, but rather ones that allow for students to express their truth in multiple ways.

Eye of the Tiger - Survivor

My selection was "Eye of the Tiger", the theme song from Rocky 3. It's relevant to my work at CCE (and beyond) because it's all about the importance of keeping the fire in your belly and not becoming complacent. So even when this work gets tough or tiring, I remind myself to keep pushing. Every step forward is progress.

A New Unsettling Force - Poor People's Campaign

Many of the practices in our public schools are based on compliance, control, and classification, which ultimately leads to division. In our work with performance assessment, we work against these confines toward rigorous, meaningful assessment systems that free learners and teachers from boxes and bubbles. This is not easy work, as we are pushing against big systems that have controlled our educational narrative for so long. This song is from Poor People's Campaign, a continuation of the work of Dr. King. I chose it for my support of the campaign, but also because the words remind me that together we can be a powerful force for liberation. Performance assessment for life!

Little Bit - Mavis Staples

This song speaks to why I do the work I do, why I am committed to CCE taking the needed steps to actualize our mission/vision. The song starts off giving voice to my reality and the reality of those I serve. The song states that, “No, you are not crazy." The society and system that you think is in place, is in place. What you are experiencing are valid experiences. You must recognize and acknowledge this before you can bring about change. I truly connect with the song because it closes with one of my core beliefs, that we are all inextricably connected.

Little bit from you ( little bit)
A little bit from me (little bit)
Simple as it gets (little bit)
We set each other free

My Shot - Hamilton

To me, "My Shot" from Hamilton speaks of everything that is going on in the country today.

Every burden, every disadvantage
I have learned to manage, I don’t have a gun to brandish
I walk these streets famished
The plan is to fan this spark into a flame

We have so many that are disadvantaged, famished and are trying to fan the spark to a flame...

I'm joining the rebellion 'cause I know it’s my chance
To socially advance,
I’m gonna take a shot

It feels like every day we are rebelling against what's going on in the capital to socially advance what the public really needs—we are all trying to take "our shot".

Rise up
When you’re living on your knees, you rise up
Tell your brother that he’s gotta rise up
Tell your sister that she's gotta rise up
It's what we need to do "rise up"
Ay, let ‘em hear ya

Let 'em hear ya—that's how the change happens. It's the only thing that has ever made the change happen.

Let's go—We're not throwing away our shot

This is the anthem we need today to get us all mobilized to get the status quo out and rise up and make the change happen.


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Rosann Tung shows how leaders in education are coming together to disrupt systems of oppression that target young men of color.
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The Boston Collaboratory School is a new, fully developed school model that seeks to empower Boston students through mindfulness practices and flexible, collaborative learning. All it needs is a place to call home.
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Becoming Social Agents of Change

July 11, 2018
The Holmes School has fared poorly in past years on the state’s standardized test. However, this assessment is based on a single measure which is most closely correlated with parental income and race. What is going on inside the school is exciting. While most schools experiencing these results might double down on test prep in English language arts and math, the Holmes has chosen a different, radical route.