The BHS 21st Century Fund supports faculty-led pilot programs focused on curriculum innovation, fostering academic success and inspiration for all students.
School Year 2015-2016 VOLUME I

What's New in 2015-2016?
The inaugural Innovation Fellow

Few would argue that public schools are an ideal launchpad for cutting-edge technology innovation, but few people see the world like Sam Dickerman, the 21st Century Fund's first Innovation Fellow. In his youth, Sam was once a struggling BHS student who cut class and, at times, fell through the cracks. 

After an impressive career in the IT world, Sam returned to BHS as a faculty member in the Social Studies department. His real-world experience and passion for innovation are second to none. We are thrilled to welcome him to this new role.
How does Sam intend to be a catalyst for innovation at BHS?
Sam:  "I'm excited to help spark an interdisciplinary conversation. I enjoy collaborating with faculty and I welcome bottom-up ideas from every corner of the school. I'm talking to teachers about how we can use technology to improve learning outcomes and mine information from the massive amounts of data we collect to help understand our students and better meet their needs. I could have used that kind of help when I was a student here at BHS."
What Did We Do This Summer?
When the teacher becomes a student, we all have a lot to learn
In preparation for teaching EPIC, an alternative senior year experience (see description in "What Programs are Funded This School Year"),  co-teacher  Ben Berman set out to  learn by doing. This summer he tried his hand at one of his own personal interests: screenplay writing. Here are his lessons learned:
Uncertainty:  Students in EPIC will be choosing their own projects, developing their own questions, pursuing their own interests, and following their own messy path of research and action. This will feel liberating to some and bewildering to others, and we'll need to make sure that students feel prepared to tolerate (and perhaps even embrace) the uncertainty that comes with this style of learning.

Obstacles:  As I developed my plot, I was running into as many existential problems as my characters. I simply couldn't figure out how to end the story. Beginning a project is hard. Finishing is harder.

Resiliency:   I spent a little over a week [developing my first screenplay idea] before I realized how awful it was. Our students will need to learn how to navigate failure, ambiguity, discomfort and uncertainty. In many aspects of our lives, these can be scary words, but in a creative venture they are essential to the work. There is nothing wrong with setbacks during a project as long as we learn from those setbacks.

Goal-setting:   The ideal project, in my mind, is one that draws on a student's strengths and interests but also provides them with challenges and opportunities for growth. 
Not every teacher is eager to play the student. Many thanks to Ben for taking on an ambitious summer challenge. He is uniquely prepared to support BHS seniors as they pursue their own real-world ambitions.
What Programs Are Funded This School Year?
Transforming innovation at BHS
Transforming system-wide teacher training: 
The Content Reading Initiative  seeks to train teachers across all disciplines to improve students' reading skills. 

Transforming hands-on interdisciplinary learning: 
D rawing for the Understanding of Field Science teaches students to build scientific knowledge about their environment through observational drawing and field research. 

Transforming individualized project-based instruction: 
EPIC, an alternative senior year, is an Experiential Project-based  Independent Capstone course that supports self-directed learners developing expertise in their field of interest. (See article above about co-teacher Ben Berman.)

Transforming thought-leadership and collaboration to promote academic innovation: 
The Innovation Fellow serves as a catalyst for innovation in the BHS community. (See article above about faculty member Sam Dickerman.) 
Transforming to a less stressful school culture: 
T he Mindfulness Initiative integrates strategies for managing stress and building resiliency, transforming BHS into a healthier place to learn and work.

Who Received Our Awards? Congratulations to our honored teachers and students


Gavin Hui, BHS class of 2015 , received the 21st Century Fund's Award for Citizenship last spring. The Fund presents this award  each year to a student in one of its programs whose civic involvement has helped to create a better community. For years, Gavin has been a committed member of the Chinese Progressive Association, and he has worked tirelessly on behalf of A-TASK -- the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence. Gavin, a veteran of the Social Justice Leadership Program (launched by the 21st Century Fund in 2008 and absorbe d into the District' s budget in 2011), played an invaluable vocal role in Brookline High's courageous conversations about race and equity last year. He is now attending Boston University on a full scholarship. Clearly, BU recognizes Gavin's potential as a social justice leader in the twenty-first century!
Last June, Susan Moreno and Liz Crane were recipients of the 21st Century Fund's 2015 Teacher of the Year Award. Susan Moreno is a special educator in BHS's Pathways program for students with difficulties in self-regulation, social communication and executive function . One colleague said, "To see her in action with her students is to see a teacher, a social worker, mediator and psychologist. To her fellow teachers, she has been a rock of solid advice." Liz Crane, a beloved biology teacher, "always works to ensure that her classes are dynamic, caring spaces that push her students to learn." As one former student says, "I have never met a teacher who cares so deeply for her students -- not only for their understanding of the material but also for their well-being."

Congratulations to these two extraordinary educators!

Susan Moreno
Liz Crane













Congratulations to Amir Grice, a recent BHS graduate who received the Senior to Senior Scholarship. This award was made possible by the efforts of students in the Communications for Entrepreneurship course who teamed up with the 21st Century Fund and the Alumni Association to create a scholarship funded by seniors, for seniors. Thanks to the many members of the Class of 2015 who made donations. We wish you success in your future endeavors and hope you will join the ranks BHS alumni/supporters. 

Fall 2015
In This Issue
GALA-RAMA - The BHS Party of the Year -  Just 25 Days Away
What's New in 2015-2016?

What Did We Do This Summer?

What Programs Are Funded This School Year?
Who Received Our Awards? 

Gaelen Harrington
Program Liaison
(617) 713-5396

Astrid Allen
Program Liaison
(617) 713-5396

Sam Dickerman
Innovation Fellow
(617) 713-5054


Stacey Zelbow
Fund Director
(617) 713-5201
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