A Message from Marlene
“Enabling the Future”

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am a quote collector. I keep a journal of quotes that have influenced, inspired, intrigued or made me laugh over the past forty years of my career. I often open the journal when I need some inspiration or a lift. “Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it” is a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of The Little Prince, a very popular read when I was a college student.

Enabling the future—isn’t that what educators do every day? Enabling, according to Merriam Webster, is providing the means and opportunity to do something. So how do we enable our students for the future? I would say that it is a much deeper process than simply teaching the ABC’s or memorizing math facts.

Our world is a very different place than when I grew up. With the incredibly rapid change and growth of technology in every aspect of our lives we need to enable students to harness and use that technology while still maintaining their human connections.

Allow me to elaborate on the five “C” words that in my opinion every student needs to enable their futures.
Communication: Are we teaching our students how to express themselves verbally and in writing? Are we giving them opportunities for critical thinking and the ability to express their thoughts and opinions in clear and concise ways?
Collaboration: Are we giving our students opportunities to work with their peers and in multi-age situations? With an increasing trend of students isolating themselves on 1:1 devices what are we doing to foster and encourage teamwork? What opportunities are we giving staff to work together?
Confidence: Are we helping students to be confident without becoming arrogant? Are they comfortable with failure and learning from their mistakes? Are they risk-takers?
Competence: Are we equipping students with basic skills and the ability to know how to navigate the vast amount of information that is a click away?
Compassion: Finally for me the most important question. Are we teaching our students to care about others, the world, their families, their peers, and those who look and believe differently than they do? Are we teaching them to be Christ-like connectors in our world?

Through our work with the S.M.I.L.E. Project we intend to assist our schools to make sure that students are enabled to be productive and caring citizens and good human beings. Our task is not to foresee the future but to enable it.


Astoria Lutheran School Awarded 2017 Lester R. Bayer Award

CUEM is pleased to announce that Astoria Lutheran School has been awarded the 2017 Lester R. Bayer Award for Excellence in Urban Education.

Granting recognition to those highly successful in operating innovative and effective urban education programs allows the Center for Urban Education Ministries to honor outstanding programs and people.  Astoria Lutheran School uses a blend of technology and face-to-face teaching to allow students to reach their God-given potential.

The mission of Astoria Lutheran School is to nurture in students a love of learning and faith in God, and to equip them to meet the challenges of the 21st Century with confidence, integrity, and a respect for others.  Students are encouraged to meet the New York State Common Core Learning Standards, but they do it in creative ways using innovative programs and instructional strategies that foster intellectual, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual development.  Astoria provides a caring, safe, Christian environment that encourages risk-taking for successful and joyful learning, respect for self and others, responsible behavior, compassion, and church and community participation.

Each week, students work in multi-age groups to investigate an aspect of a chosen topic or theme that provides an opportunity for students to apply learned concepts from a variety of content areas. Project-based learning, or “theme”, as the students call it, is the focal point and most anticipated day of the week. The school’s garden/outdoor classroom has, and continues to be, at the center of the multi-age, project-based studies, allowing students the hands-on opportunity to learn from and connect with nature.

The Center is proud to present this award to this fine group of students and teachers.

New Resource Available

I thought that this might be a resource for our urban churches and schools so wanted to share this email received from Dr. John Krahn:

There is no easy fix for struggling churches. Every Sunday one half of our Christian churches worship 70 or fewer people. Many of these churches can barely afford a full-time pastor… if one at all. Experts predict that one third of all churches will close in the next 10 years.  Rev. Krahn has written his latest book, From Surviving to Thriving – A Practical Guide to Revitalize Your Church, to help prevent this from happening. It is written for clergy, lay leaders, and all concerned Christians. Get more info or buy a copy at csspub.com or amazon.com.


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