Module #19 – “Find Your Voice (Public Speaking)” LIVE! at STEAMPA

Sometimes you can get so bogged down in the urgent that you lose sight of the important. At least, that’s what happens to me.

I was reminded of this only a few days ago when I gave a 20-minute Zoom presentation for the monthly meeting of school leaders of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS). Thanks to our recent partnership with PCPCS, I was honored to share info and thoughts about the Discovery Process.

After a few intro slides, I showed a 6-minute video on “Conscience,” #21 of the 25 modules in the program.

The video features narrator Sonia Avila, the character education coordinator at Hyde-Brooklyn, a K-8 public charter school in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY. As with each module, the narrator — in this case, Sonia — provides an overview and then gives an in-depth training on how to facilitate two of the 5 or 6 lessons in the module. (For the record, Sonia focused on the lessons “My Conscience is My Guide” and “What Does Conscience Mean to Me?”)

After Sonia’s excellent distillation and instructive suggestions, we opened the “floor”…er, the Zoom… for comments. At this point, Jennifer Morrison, executive director of The Pennsylvania STEAM Academy (STEAMPA) — a K-4 (growing to K-8) school — offered to make a comment. (Note: Not only is STEAMPA a PCPCS member school, it is one of our initial cohort of Discovery Process schools.)

STEAMPA student “Leaving it Better Than She Found It”

Jen then launched right in with a story about a recent weekly Discovery Group “Check-In” (Module #1) where a 4th grade boy shared with the group that his family sometimes did not have food in the home and that he sometimes went to bed hungry. Suffice it to say that his would constitute a bold and courageous share. Jen went on to explain three things that then both happened and did not happen:

  • First, no one laughed at or acted with anything other than concern toward this boy.
  • Second, not only did no one tease this boy out on the playground — “Something I have seen happen at other schools,” says Jen. — many peers sought the boy out and comforted him.
  • Third, and this one brought tears to more than a few on the Zoom, including me: several members of that Discovery Group arrived at school the next day with food for this boy to take home to his family.
1500 N 3rd St, Harrisburg, PA

Over the last five years of working with our team to design, create, and complete the Discovery Process program, I confess that I have trudged home at the end of some long days and wondered, Is all of this trouble and toil truly worth the effort? Is it really ever going to make a difference?

STEAMPA Discovery Group Staring Down the Photographer

Jen’s story gave me my answer: Yes and Yes. If nothing else, it would appear that there most definitely is a Discovery Group in Harrisburg, PA that has internalized modules #5 (“Caring”), #13 (“Concern and Each Others Keeper”), and a whole lot more.

Onward, Malcolm

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