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Another First Week

Last week my children started school again. My son attends a Spanish dual immersion school in Oakland, California. (My daughter attended Melrose Leadership Academy the first six years of MLA’s bilingual program. Now she attends 7th grade in a neighboring district middle school.) MLA is not for everyone, but I believe in the school.

 (bryan farley)

When my daughter was in the first class of bilingual students at MLA, I was concerned, but confident. I know what it means to be the first at something. I have also known people who were the first. I have known trailblazers, and this experience has given me comfort. I have probably taken these experiences for granted.

 (bryan farley)

This last year, my son started playing baseball. He loves playing catcher. I attended a high school that is known for producing Major League pitchers and catchers. Fresno High School also produced the first Mexican American MLB manager. When I was a kid, my grandfather had married into his family. Pat Corrales has had a long baseball career. He is also the only Major League Baseball manager to be fired while in first place. He came from Fresno High.

 (bryan farley)

When I was in high school, my principal was a woman. I thought that all principals at large high schools could be women. I expected that all women principals should be as qualified as Jeanne Contel. All principals could be legendary athletes. (You can search for her in the new book Fastpitch.) I have also gained comfort in knowing that trailblazers like Jeanne Contel are unique. I haven’t worked for an administrator as qualified or inspiring as Ms. Contel.

 (bryan farley)

At UCSB, I found trailblazers at the Women’s Center and the Women’s Studies department. Our campus pioneers led conversations 25 years ago that are finally reaching national consciousness. Change seems sudden to those who have just joined the conversation. In 1989, I felt that I had joined the conversation too late.

 (bryan farley)

Trailblazers are not measured by standardized test scores. Pioneers are often ignored until they have succeeded. To be a successful pioneer, one must take a different trail… a new path. Not everyone is comfortable doing this. Not everyone is comfortable with the discomfort required to take the necessary risk. Some people would rather aim for above average. We have standardized tests for above average.

 

 (bryan farley)

I took this photo Thursday morning. It is also the featured photo, but the featured photo will disappear after a few more posts. This is the only photo I took Thursday morning. I was aiming at my son when he unexpectedly lobbed the catcher’s mitt to me. The shutter speed was 1/500 and the depth of field was 3.5. It’s a lucky shot. The mitt fell into the frame perfectly. I lucked out on the yellow and blue color in the background. My son isn’t tack sharp, but this will do. This picture also helped me discuss the Corrales connection more. How many managers have there been in MLB history? Who were the first? What happens to those? Where are they from? Mason and the other students are positioned to be exceptional… we will let the other schools aim for above average education.

I took smart phone photos Friday. I may add those in a notes post here. (I edited this post on 8/29/16)

 

 

 

 

 

Into the Heart of Integrated Learning

Twilight, lost my way
Twilight, can’t find my way

In the shadows, boy meets man (from U2’s Twilight)

 (bryan farley)

Last week I photographed Inventing Our Future 2016 at Chabot Space and Science Museum in Oakland, California. The three day event was the Fifth Annual Integrated Learning Summer Institute sponsored by Alameda County Office of Education and other regional partners. The conference emphasizes how art can improve education across the curriculum. I have attended the last four summer workshops.

 (bryan farley)

As the photographer, I visit all 33 workshops. I also meet the morning plenary speakers. I follow each day’s theme as I follow the schedule. On day one, we explored “compassion for self and others.” Several of the workshops focused on trauma. How do we help ourselves? How can we help our students?

 (bryan farley)

Each year, I listen to music while driving to the workshop. This year I listened to U2’s first album Boy. The music inspired me, but I have not processed everything yet. With all the discussion about trauma, family stories and advocacy, there is still something stirring in the shadows and tall trees.

 (bryan farley)

On the second day, the theme was “recognizing our community assets.”

 (bryan farley)

Educators don’t create many (or any) standardized tests for “recognizing community assets,” so we have lost the ability to recognize a community asset. We must remind ourselves and our students to “engage and persist.” This is how we often find answers.

 (bryan farley)

“The Courage to Act” was the theme for the final day. Sometimes art leads to joyous discovery. Sometimes art leads to more questions. Sometimes art leads to both.

For photos of the week, see this gallery.

To read about last year, see the post Roots in the Key of Life

To read about 2014, see the post Tapestry of Art Education.

 (bryan farley)

NOTE: Added on 8/21

After the 2014 workshop, I added a notes section on my old blog More Than Kids. Tonight I added this link so that I can include more ideas as I remember them or as they are revealed to me.

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Two Looks at World War 2

World War II ended seventy-one years ago today. Japan officially surrendered on the USS Missouri a couple weeks later, so some people might consider September 2, 1945 as the official VJ Day. This discrepancy is just one small example of the problems with writing history. Even when the victor writes history, the stories are not simple to tell. For this post, I visited two parts of World War II history that are often oversimplified.

 (bryan farley)

My father was born in a small Texas town on October 7, 1940. Fourteen months later, Pearl Harbor was bombed. My grandfather was drafted; he served stateside near St. Louis. My father and grandmother lived in Oklahoma.

 (bryan farley)

My grandmother never graduated high school, but she understood history. She saved news clippings. She explained which countries fought for the Allies and the Axis. She knew Europe and Asia, though she never traveled off the continent. She hated and feared the enemy… and if the enemy had ever met my grandmother, they would have feared her too. She would have joined the service and killed if she had been allowed to do so. Instead, she worked for AT&T as an operator.

 (bryan farley)

Richmond, California is the home of the Rosie The Riveter WWII / Home Front National Historical Park. On Saturday, the museum held a Rosie Rally similar to the one last year that broke a Guinness World Record. I went this year.

 (bryan farley)

We broke another record.

I almost did not go, because I started to feel sad thinking about my grandmother. My grandmother was a complicated person. She was strong, but unhappy. She survived The Great Depression only to find herself with a toddler who missed his father. When the war started, her family and community were forever disrupted. After the war, she lost her freedom. She knew she was lucky, but she did not feel lucky. She would never have the family or life she wanted.

 (bryan farley)

A year ago today, I visited the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda. The Hornet is an aircraft carrier that is “anchored” in the San Francisco Bay. On August 15th, 2015, the USS Hornet honored the legendary 442nd Regimental Combat Team during a Living Ship Day. The 442nd was a segregated Japanese American unit known for their “Go For Broke” motto.

 (bryan farley)

On the left, is photographer Tom Graves. He has written and photographed a book about the 442nd called Twice Heroes: America’s Nisei Veterans of WWII and Korea. Tom’s book is both important and excellent. I expect that its value will increase as we understand the importance of the 442nd.

 (bryan farley)

Complicated stories can get lost in battle. Perhaps simple slogans are much more useful. “Go For Broke” is a better slogan than a long paragraph about the Japanese American World War II experience that includes relocations camp and decorated army units. “We Can Do It” is a much better motivator than a detailed explanation about working on the home front knowing that your family might be dying overseas.

Lawson Sakai, a soldier in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II, is being interviewed by ABC News Bay Area. The "Go For Broke" 442nd, a segregated Japanese American unit, became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service. (bryan farley)

I think that there is more to the fog of war than we realize. We won World War II, but we could not really celebrate. Before our country could explore how we had interned our own people and segregated soldiers or forced women out of the workplace, we learned about the Holocaust. Did the USA and the USSR decide that a Cold War was easier to process?

 (bryan farley)

I have included the featured photo again at the end.

There are also two photo galleries. There is a 442nd and the Lost Battalion Gallery and a Rosie Rally 2016 Gallery.