GOOD 100: Meet Jose Vilson, Providing the Megaphone for Student Voices
Jose Vilson is a math teacher, coach, and data analyst for a middle school in the Inwood/Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. His education blog—which focuses on reform and inner city education in New York—has been honored by Edutopia and Scholastic Inc. A graduate of the New York City Teaching Fellowship, he believes well-trained teachers will lead to well-trained students. He is co-author of the book Teaching 2030: What We Must Do For Our Students and Public Schools … Now and In The Future.
Vilson’s goals for 2013 include building up student voice in his school. An extension of the Penny Harvest program, a fundraising effort from the Common Cents organization, Vilson hopes to influence his students to take leadership roles in school.
“At first, I started the group just by collecting pennies to donate to others, but now I'm pushing it to a full-fledged leadership program for any and all comers,” Vilson says. “This differs from some of other advocacy pieces I've done because it requires me (and other adults in our building) to do a lot more listening than speaking. While it's easy to cast aspersions on kids who don't know any, we have to find a way to teach students how to lead.”
Vilson is also working on a memoir and a math book. While the memoir is ready for submission, the math book is in the proposal phase.
“I'm excited for both projects since the first one will read as a collage of narrative lessons for the world from the perspective of a Black/Latino male educator,” Vilson says. “Only three to five percent of us (Black, Latino, male educators) exist, so I'm hoping that's a start.”
Vilson says the math book also gets him “giddy” because it's a testament to some of the changes he hopes to see in teaching math literacy. It will be geared towards parents as well, who want to understand the "new math" without feeling like they've lost their own sense of numeracy.
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