My dream team would consist of Dr. Christopher Emdin, Marc Lamont Hill, Mayor Michael Nutter, Dr. Camika Royal and Dr. Shaun Harper. Both Emdin and Hill are amongst the foremost thought leaders on progressive pedagogical practices that promote culturally competent teaching and self actualization. Hill, a Philly native would be invaluable given his intimate familiarity with the community and the education system. Dr. Camika Royal's research that specifically focuses on Philadelphia's school reforms would provide adequate inside knowledge critical to the development of systemic policy-based change. Dr. Shaun Harpers research into black masculinity, that is, the lived experiences of boys of color in schools, would undoubtedly supply the need for more targeted approaches to learning outcomes along the lines of race and gender. Certainly, he would be bring his own contacts and trusted colleagues to the table to address the issues distinctly facing young girls of color. Finally, fmr. Mayor Michael Nutter would provide the political fortitude to establish relationships and conversations in spaces that traditionally were not created for us. The importance of making space and taking space within the system cannot be overemphasized. To this end, I think my entire team would be successful in elevating the conversation and movement necessary to institute change from the ground up and top down.

Okay so I would pick a dream team that would exist of 5 people. These people before academics is introduced would discuss passions and open mindedness which is true education. First, I would also bring the Ghost of Freire back as someone previously mentioned. Freire would talk about the importance of recognizing the role of an educator and that that person should be learning with you and not always taking someone's words as truth even if it is written. To think critically about what is good for you and your community and do that. The second person would be a phycologist. This person would meet frequently with students so that talking about emotions can be incorporated in their normal routine. This is too decrease the amount of mental illness in our communities which anyone can suffer from and may some times be overlooked. Third, Assata Shukur, who would be a representation of a strong women who doesn't hold her tough to make other people comfortable. Assata's life story is one that many should know and she is an example of strength, dignity, integrity, will and womanhood. Fourth, Huey P. Newton to explain that any revolution does not start when you get older but in your youth. Young people can do so much and your time is now. He would also explain how not to limit yourself. Huey studied Law to be a good criminal and soon understood that his ambitions were far to low. Never low ball your life. Finally Shanda Rhimes who would encourage talent, imagination and artistry because its important. How do we think differently if we discourage innovation in our practices and lack creativity in our messages. These too can ensure success. When we diversify our thoughts we maximize our potential and opportunites because we can't limited by limited people set for us.

My dream team would include Michelle Obama, Bill Gates, current and former Philadelphia teachers, Philadelphia community leaders, and students. I choose Michelle Obama and Bill Gates specifically because Obama is very empowering when talking to youth and has a strong understanding of how privilege affects student success, and Gates has been a strong advocate for stronger education systems. Current and former Philadelphia teachers would help identify institutional issues in schools and public policy as well as common challenges that their students faced. Philadelphia community leaders would help mobilize the changes that the team would like to make. Students would provide a ground-level understanding of challenges students (i.e., themselves and their peers) face in school, the communities, and at home.

I am not entirely sure on specific names of people that I would want to work on this dream team; however, I would have a general idea of the kind of people that I would want to include. Ideally, it would be great to have an array of educators from the area since they have been greatly exposed to the difficulties that the students face both inside and outside of the classroom. In addition, I would also like to include people from the community since their experiences and work in other fields may help provide another perspective on potential solutions and programming for the students. Lastly, I would also like to potentially include some type of liaison from neighboring universities that can help organize events to hopefully inspire students to continue their education once they graduate from high school. I personally believe that offering these kinds of services could not only help inspire and motivate students but may also help fine tune their interests before leaving for college.

I would start by bringing on my mom to the team because I think every team needs a few dreamers that combine their out of this world vision with years of hands on experience in the education world. Additionally, I'd have the ghost of Paulo Freire, author of "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", lead Leadership Development sessions on critical pedagogy to expand the teams' knowledge of types of learning and maybe dig deeper into the types of opportunities that are being provided to the students in Philly compared to the types of opportunities our team wants the students to experience. I would want former Philadelphia students and teachers to bring their personal experiences and histories to the team. One of the flawed aspects of service and change can be when a team of outsiders comes into a "place of need" (for lack of a better descriptor) and has a vision doing FOR others instead of WITH others. So it is extremely important that the team has members with first hand experience of previous and current opportunities afforded to the students. I'd round out the team with a few members with a positive, "can do" attitude. As a City Year alum, I have come to appreciate the optimism of an idealist and recognize that optimism and positivity can fade quickly, so I value team members who can bring that spark everyday.


For me, this response is definitely one that I need to develop more in order to be a stronger teacher with Philadelphia. I have never lived there - growing up in a smaller N. Texas town and then moving to Boulder, CO for school all aspects of lifestyle differ greatly from those in a city such as Philly. That being said, I am still fairly unfamiliar with anything beyond internet-based findings of Philly schools and creating a team specific for Philly is challenging for me at this point. Disregarding specificity, I so believe community involvement is key (parent, families, friends, community organizations, universities) - there is a lot that Philadelphia has to offer from the Higher Ed opportunites to the immense historical presence that when used purposefully, collaboratively, and continuously could have profound impacts on the educational opportunity.

The current posts have made me think more deeply about what my dream team would look like. My immediate reaction is that students, parents, and teachers would be represented on my team. Students understand student need, and parents and teachers are often the ones navigating that process. Teachers understand what resources are missing from the classroom, or what policies would be changed to provide a more transformational learning environment for students. That being said, I think local business, government, organizations, and policymakers would be of good use on a team of this nature. In no way should their voices overshadow that of the people on the ground in the schools, but I think local communities (on a government and education level) have the potential to work together to enact change. I also really liked the idea of including local experts — maybe professors or researchers at local universities who understand what the education system is like in Philadelphia and nationwide.

If I were to create a team to expand educational opportunities for students in Philadelphia I would include students, parents, representatives of local universities, school leaders and local business leaders.

I believe students currently going to elementary and secondary schools in Philadelphia need more opportunities to connect to the higher education and business opportunities available in the city. This integrated approach will give students more opportunities in post-secondary education. If those opportunities are also connected to work and employment, they will be more sustainable.

I also thought it was important to include students and parents, so they may have an opportunity to determine their own education.
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