DFS Rida Institute Transforms Teachers

"How do you tap into students’ resiliency and channel their personal frustration and dissatisfaction against the social system that undermines their humanity?"

– Patrick Camangian, DFS Rida Institute Plenary Speaker

Last month, 27 educators decided to spend the last three days of their precious mid-Winter break packed in the Allied Media Projects office re-imagining what is possible within their schools and classrooms. They explored the question above from both a theoretical perspective and a deeply nuts-and-bolts perspective.

They were part of the first-ever Detroit Future Schools Rida Institute: a condensed version of the year-long DFS’ professional development training in humanizing education. The training walked teachers through the DFS "Rida Framework," a curriculum-planning tool that flips the test-driven approach to education on its head. Instead of working backwards from the goal of test scores, the DFS Rida Framework supports teachers to articulate:

  • a clear purpose of education within the specific contexts of their communities,
  • the principles and skills they need to actualize that purpose in their classrooms, and
  • the metrics they will use to measure learning and growth.

Over the three days of the Institute, participants took a deep dive into each facet of the Rida Framework. They explored the educational theories of Paulo Freire, Jeff Duncan-Andrade, and James and Grace Lee Boggs, and they grew supportive relationships with each other.

To learn more about the Rida Institute, watch this recap video, produced by DFS Lead Artist, Nate Mullen.

Rida participant reflections

"This was by far the best and most clear presentation of education principles/practice I've ever experienced." – Matthew Cross, professor (Macomb County Community College)

"I felt validated being here. Being with other people who are working to humanize education made me feel less vulnerable in pursuing this honorable endeavor." – Ben Williams, teacher (Pioneer High School)

"I had to dig deep and stretched out of my comfort zone (and continue to) in order to define my purpose and principles, something we take for granted, but is a definite missing piece to the profession of teaching. I will definitely take this tool and encourage my cohorts and colleagues to examine for themselves." – Susan Matous, teacher and administrator (Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy)

"This is the best, most honest and reflective professional development I've ever attended. We were all deeply engaged in the work, because the leaders made this content so engaging. I became a teacher 20 years ago and so wish I had this kind of opportunity in my first years of teaching like other participants. Regardless, it has transformed how and what I will do with the remainder of my career. – Marcia Russell K-12 Educator/Consultant

Rida Institute

Become a sustainer of Detroit Future Schools if you want to help make sure trainings like this can happen again in the future.

If you wanted to attend the training, but weren't able to, you can connect with the DFS Ridas this Summer at the Allied Media Conference, where they will be leading sessions and participating in the Education for Liberation Network Gathering. Click here to register for the AMC!

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