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Team RWS: What We’ve Been Up To

Ah summer – no matter where you live, there is something about the season that says, “time to have some fun”. It’s watermelon, BBQs, and long weekends. For us, it’s also conferences, traveling, and working hard to launch the greatest year for EdCorps yet! We’ve been busy these last few weeks and we want to tell you how! Here is a snapshot of how team RWS does summer!

We Conference

  • UnConference: Fifteen of Pittsburgh EdCorps founders gathered in August to explore storytelling and how students can use their business to ship their work. Understanding how to use stories to gain community connections and build their Education Corporation was the main theme for this UnConference.
  • Big Bang: No summer would be complete without spending time with our friends from Big Picture at their annual gathering, Big Bang. This year, the gathering took place in Atlanta and Elyse was able to explore student entrepreneurship, important conversations around equity, and one of her all-time favorite displays of student talent. Picture a student-led drumline through the streets of Downtown Atlanta that culminated at Woodruff Park with a performance from the local high school dance team and local hip-hop artists.
  • Hacktivation Nation: Great things come out of the d.school at Stanford, but pretty great things happen in the d.school – specifically, Hactiviation Nation! This gathering of School Retool school leaders and educators was all about hacking our way to more deeper learning in our school. Elyse led a session around Ecosystem Mapping, working with six teams to explore their aspirations and how their community could help them create authentic learning opportunities for students. Take a peek at the session here!

    Photo taken by Alex Carter, Ed.D.. Find him on Twitter at @AlexCEICarter.

We Work Hard

  • EdSpace
    • Breaking ground this summer, Michael and John have been hard at work building EdSpace – a private, professional social network where educators can share, learn, and connect. With plans to open the doors in early 2019, Team RWS is currently recruiting all the people of education (educators, principals, superintendents, researchers, education nonprofit staff, edtech companies, etc.) to join the beta group. Interested? Sign up at www.edspace.live!
  • New Tools + Resources
    • Building a business can be daunting – we get that. That’s why Team RWS spent the last few months examining what tools and resources could help educators and students navigate their way through the process. There are a series of 20+ toolkits educators and students can use to build their business, ship their work, and tell their story.. Most importantly, this isn’t just a series of tools to build the business, but opportunities for students to unlock more funding as they do the work. It’s a big shift in our approach, one we’re hoping can lead to more freedom, creativity, shipping, and engagement.

We Have Fun, too…

  • Elyse, one of the overly committed co-founders, went to Costa Rica for the first long vacation she has taken since co-founding RWS five years ago. Nighttime bioluminescence kayaking, delicious local food, tree frogs and howler monkeys, and treehouse sleeping – Costa Rica is a wonderful place those needing to get back to the basics. Pura Vida!
  • Audrey, Program Manager for EdCorps, spent the summer traveling up and down the West Coast. Visiting family and friends in the Bay Area, spending a week at Lake Nacimiento in the central coast of California, and exploring Seattle – a solid lineup.
  • Melanie, Account Manager for the West/Best Coast, headed north to Whistler, British Columbia where she fly-fished, ATV’ed and hiked. A highlight of the trip? When she was minding her own business in the backyard and a black bear came by to say “hi”!
  • Christen Dunn, both a Pittsburgh-local and a Pittsburgh Teacher Supporter,  came to San Diego to work with the rest of the RWS crew for a week of deep dives and brainstorm sessions. Being immersed with the rest of the team was undoubtedly energizing.
  • John, the co-founder who literally can’t slow down, spent the summer racing cars and racing around the world. John and his wife spent time with their daughters in both London and Paris before becoming empty-nesters in August.  Thankfully, we’ve got plenty of things to keep him busy.  

  • Adam, Head Chef of our Harbor Freight Cohort of Skilled Trades Classes, and his brother took their dad (a former All-American soccer player!) to Portugal to watch the World Cup, mingle with local soccer fans, and take in some tremendous culture and scenery.
  • Michael, Director of EdSpace, spent the summer finishing his dissertation, which focuses on youth-adult partnerships. On any given night, you could find him at one of his local coffee shop haunts, pouring over edits and research. He plans to defend on his 35th birthday in October, after which we will insist on calling him, “The Doctor”.  

Team RWS is pumped for a great 2018-2019 School Year! Follow the journey on Twitter at @EdCorps and @RWScholars !