Now in its second year, Allied Media Project's Detroit Future Schools program is growing a network of teachers, artists and students who are committed to transforming the purpose and practice of education in Detroit. Essential to the formation of this network is a 5-day intensive training called AMP Camp, which prepares teachers and artists to enter the school year with a shared vision and purpose.
This week, eight DFS digital media artists will begin year-long residencies in 12 Detroit schools. They will work with teachers to integrate digital media, critical pedagogy and community-school interactions into their core content.
This curriculum and vision-development process began at AMP Camp. DFS Coordinator, Ammerah Saidi shares her reflections below:
In August 2011, I wrote a blog post about a remarkable gathering of passionate, committed artists, educators and community organizers.
Fast forward to August 2012 and we’ve done it again. AMP Camp is the summer retreat for Detroit Future Schools' teachers and artists who are committing to reinventing the purpose of education for a more just, creative, and collaborative world.
We gathered 12 teachers and 8 artists for 4 days and 3 nights at a YMCA camp for an intense review of critical ideas, theories and practices that will allow us to authentically achieve our purpose. We gathered elementary, middle, and high school educators. We gathered artists who specialize in web development, graphics, video, audio, dance, and photography. We gathered teachers specializing in English Language Arts, social studies, mathematics, physics, drama, and Spanish. We gathered people with decades of living in Detroit to months of experiencing life as a Detroiter.
And with all our varied experiences, interests and passions, the one intention we shared which brought us together is the belief that the way we educate children today will impact the way we live in this world from this day on into eternity.
Over this 5-day retreat, teachers and artists have collaboratively constructed the way they will focus their instruction for the year. From a second grade classroom that will work to answer the question: “What is power?” to a high school ELA class investigating the question: “Who are you in the world?”--DFS is pushing individuals to work from a place of purpose and defined principles. This purpose and principles then inform the skills we seek to develop in ourselves and our students.
One participant wrote of his experience at AMP Camp:
This was one of the most important, enjoyable, and relevant teacher PD sessions I've ever had (in my short career as a teacher). The conversations about education, theory, classroom application, digital media (not merely integration, but the essentiality of media in today's classroom), critical pedagogy, and the state of education in Detroit today have been essential to my growth as a teacher. These are conversations I've been waiting to participate in...
The work has only begun and I for one cannot wait to see what our youth and participants produce when we trust them and trust the process of collective, truly transformative education.