Clifton B. Vann, IV – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Clifton B. Vann, IV – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

February 12, 2013


Clifton B. Vann, IV
President,  Livingston & Haven

Have We Quit Dreaming?

In an era of global competition and ever-growing complexity, innovation and education are critical to success.  But just as important is our ability and willingness to dream big, as citizens, as business people, as educators, as parents, and as students.

Click here to meet our other speakers.

The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools

Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools

Source: | February 11, 2013

WHAT would it really take to give students a first-rate education? Some argue that our schools are irremediably broken and that charter schools offer the only solution. The striking achievement of Union City, N.J. — bringing poor, mostly immigrant kids into the educational mainstream — argues for reinventing the public schools we have.

Union City makes an unlikely poster child for education reform. It’s a poor community with an unemployment rate 60 percent higher than the national average. Three-quarters of the students live in homes where only Spanish is spoken. A quarter are thought to be undocumented, living in fear of deportation.

Public schools in such communities have often operated as factories for failure. This used to be true in Union City, where the schools were once so wretched that state officials almost seized control of them. How things have changed. From third grade through high school, students’ achievement scores now approximate the statewide average. What’s more, in 2011, Union City boasted a high school graduation rate of 89.5 percent — roughly 10 percentage points higher than the national average. Last year, 75 percent of Union City graduates enrolled in college, with top students winning scholarships to the Ivies.

As someone who has worked on education policy for four decades, I’ve never seen the likes of this. After spending a year in Union City working on a book, I believe its transformation offers a nationwide strategy. (more…)

Amy Hawn Nelson – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

Posted by on Feb 8, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Amy Hawn Nelson – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

February 8, 2013


Amy Hawn Nelson
Director,  UNC -Charlotte Urban Institute, Institute for Social Capital

We Know What Works, So Why Aren’t We Doing It?

When it comes to transforming our schools, we’re not lacking for solutions. We actually know what works and what we should be doing. To be successful, however, we need to overcome some non-obvious barriers to how we gather data and insights that inform our policy decisions.

Click here to meet our other speakers.

‘Creative thinkers’ come together in Charlotte

Posted by on Feb 8, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

‘Creative thinkers’ come together in Charlotte

Source: | February 8, 2013


Charlotte Latin’s all-female seventh grade engineering class that found success with a $35 computer will be featured at TEDxCharlotteED 2013 Feb. 14, along with a number of Charlotte “creative thinkers and doers” to foster debate, according to an organizer.

TED, which stands for technology, entertainment and design, is a nonprofit organization that started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago.

In 2012, TEDxCharlotteED (adding ED for education) formed and had its first event.

“Charlotte’s group discussions are designed to highlight ideas worth spreading about transforming education,” said Lexee Zutz, co-organizer of TEDxCharlotteED. “How we educate our children and ourselves has a significant impact on everyone in our community, from individual quality of life to collective economic vitality.”

The Feb. 14 event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. at Silver Hammer Studios at the NC Music Factory in Charlotte.

Zutz said that in addition to eight speakers that day, Charlotte Latin’s all-female engineering class will speak along with their advisor, Tom Dubick.

The group was selected to participate after a nomination from Barbara Caldwell, the executive director of Teaching Fellows Institute.

“This program was chosen because we feel there is a great need to let the community know how a relatively inexpensive technology could be used everywhere around the world,” said Zutz.

This past fall, Charlotte Latin added 14 credit-card sized computers to the middle school girl’s engineering class. Known as the Raspberry Pi, the inexpensive computers have been used in engineering community overseas but are new to the United States. The computer comes with Scratch and Python, languages used for beginner computer programming, and have been easy for the Charlotte Latin class to use, said Zutz.

According to the school, the female students are already programming and hope to learn the concept of physical computing through the use of robotics by the end of the course.

“These TEDx gatherings will focus on programs both inside and outside the classroom, and range from early childhood education to adult workforce development,” said Zutz. “TEDxCharlotteED is more than just a conference. It’s an event by creative thinkers, for creative thinkers, who embrace the spirit of ideas worth spreading. The audience will consist of people who believe in the power of learning and education to improve our community.“

The lineup of local educators, business owners, and nonprofit directors also include: Chef Ron Ahlert, Community Culinary School of Charlotte; Deborah Brown, Garinger High School; Amy Hawn Nelson, Institute for Social Capital; Mark Moore of Mother Administered Nutritive Aid; Dawn Peebles of Providence Preparatory School; Henry Rock of City Startup Labs; Cheryl Turner, Sugar Creek Charter School; and Clifton Vann IV, Livingston & Haven.

Chef Ron Ahlert – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Chef Ron Ahlert – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

February 6, 2013


Chef Ron Ahlert
Executive Director,  Community Culinary School of Charlotte & Encore Catering

An Encore In The Kitchen

Community Culinary School of Charlotte (CSCC) combines culinary training, job readiness skills, and counseling to help adults find success in work and in life. This education provides a second chance while having
a positive economic impact on the city.

Click here to meet our other speakers.

Teachers and Policy Makers: Troubling Disconnect

Posted by on Feb 5, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Teachers and Policy Makers: Troubling Disconnect

Source: The New York Times | February 5, 2013

Can the school reform movement accept constructive criticism? Gary Rubinstein hopes so. Mr. Rubinstein joined Teach for America in 1991, the program’s second year, and has now been teaching math for 15 years, five of them in some of the nation’s neediest public schools and 10 more at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. He has a bachelor’s degree in math and a master’s in computer science, has written two books on classroom practice and at one point helped train new corps members for Teach for America. For years, he was a proponent of the program, albeit one with the occasional quibble.

Then, in 2010, Mr. Rubinstein underwent a sea change. As he grew suspicious of some of the data used to promote charter schools, be became critical of Teach for America and the broader reform movement. (The education scholar Diane Ravitch famously made a similar shift around this time.)

Mr. Rubinstein, who knows how to crunch numbers, noticed that, at many charter schools student test scores and graduation rates didn’t always add up to what the schools claimed. He was also alarmed by what he viewed as misguided reforms like an overreliance on crude standardized tests that measure students’ yearly academic “growth” and teacher performance. Mr. Rubinstein, who favors improving schools and evaluating teachers, says using standardized test scores might seem “like a good idea in theory.” But he also thinks the teacher ratings based on the scores are too imprecise and subject to random variation to be a reliable basis for high-stakes hiring and firing decisions. (more…)

Mark Moore – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

Posted by on Feb 4, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Mark Moore – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

February 4, 2013


Mark Moore
Founder / CEO,  MANA Nutrition

A Fire In Their Bellies

Sure we all teach for the sake of passing along information… but Google is almost always better at it than we humans. However, when we humans teach other humans we do much more than pass on information, we also inspire and equip them to act.  The crazy story of a rolling classroom called the MANAbago highlights how the act of learning can spark people’s imagination, resilience, and actions.

Click here to meet our other speakers.

Raspberry Pi Creates New Engineering Buzz

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Raspberry Pi Creates New Engineering Buzz

Source: | February 1, 2013



Inspiring young minds to take interest in science, technology, engineering and math has always been a top priority at Charlotte Latin School. Now they’re taking action to ensure students get the education they need at a young age – and they’re the first school in the United States to do it this way.

The school recently introduced 14 credit-card sized computers to the middle school girls’ engineering class. Known as the Raspberry Pi, the small computer is cutting edge in the Great Britain engineering community, allowing students to easily learn physical computing and programming. Since the computer comes with a $35 price tag and features an open source operating system, students are able to take apart and reassemble the small device without fear of destroying expensive technology.

“The benefit of the Raspberry Pi is that it allows our kids to go ahead and become creators of technology, not just consumers,” Tom Dubick, engineering teacher at the school, said.  “What I mean is being a $35 computer that is a productivity machine and does things like Word processing and PowerPoint, the computer also has the ability to connect with the physical world. We can do imbedded computing, also known as physical computing, like robotics.”

The computer debuted in British classrooms in 2011 and since spread to other European classrooms and in developing countries where its low power requirements and affordability are making computers accessible. Dubick, who is involved with Charlotte’s STEM and engineering community, is working with McClintock Middle School to become Charlotte Latin’s engineering partners. He found the Raspberry Pi while researching computer options for McClintock.

“McClintock didn’t have enough computers for their program, so I found the Raspberry Pi and I said, ‘I could use these at Latin,’” Dubick said. “This computer isn’t as powerful as an iPad or anything, but it doesn’t need to be. That’s not what we need it for. It’s giving people opportunities to use it to create things.”

Dubick said the computer comes with Scratch and Python, both programming languages used for beginner levels in computer programming. So far, he says his small class of seventh-grade girls is really catching on, since the computer is easy to explore and understand. The girls are already programming after only a few weeks, Dubick said, hoping by the end of the class they will know the concept of physical computing through their use of robotics.

“I want them to see the creativity that can be found in computing and technology. It’s a lot more creative than people realize,” Dubick said.

This year’s engineering Raspberry Pi class is a pilot program for Charlotte Latin, Dubick said. He hopes that in the future, all kids at the school will have access to the small computer – and at only $35, he thinks it’s possible.

“A college degree no longer guarantees you a job and it won’t for the foreseeable future,” he said. “What we want is for our kids to go a step deeper into technology and really understand how technology works. We are entering a new world where everything is hooked up to the Internet. If we are going into a world like that and it’s happening really, really fast, these kids need to understand it.”

Dubick’s students are loving their time with the small computers, mostly noting that since the computers are so cheap, they’re not afraid to really explore what they can do and how they work.

“We can program with them and mess with them, and we know it’s not a huge deal if we mess them up,” seventh-grader Breck Stenson said.

The Rasperry Pi connects to the Internet and television monitors to create a media center. Multiple units can be connected to create a supercomputer. For more information on the computer, visit


Cheryl Turner – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

Posted by on Jan 31, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Cheryl Turner – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

January 31, 2013


Cheryl Turner
School Director / CEO,  Sugar Creek Charter School

What Are We Trying To Accomplish?

The premise that kids from generational poverty cannot learn is actually an excuse.  And it’s not good enough.  Taking a student-centered approach, the educators at Sugar Creek Charter have redefined their school around their students’ needs in order to help them learn the skills to be successful inside and outside the classroom.

Click here to meet our other speakers.

Dawn Peebles – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

Posted by on Jan 30, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dawn Peebles – 2013 TEDxCharlotteED Speaker

January 30, 2013



Dawn Peebles
Executive Director / Owner,  Providence Preparatory School

Why Not The Best For Our Children?

A growing body of scientific evidence clearly shows the impact that environment and early education have on the brain development of young children.  We know what works.  The challenge is whether we are willing to do whatever it takes to create the best environment we can for our children or if we will simply accept “”minimum standards.”

Click here to meet our other speakers.