Bread Loaf Teacher Network’s NEXT GENERATION LEADERSHIP NETWORK: Youth Opportunity and Learning

From Middlebury College’s Newsroom: Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English Launches Youth Social Action Network.

The Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English (BLSE) has received a two-year grant from the Ford Foundation to establish a special project of the Bread Loaf Teacher Network (BLTN)—the Next Generation Leadership Network: Youth Opportunity and Learning. BLTN’s teachers and their students have been leaders of diverse activities, research, and advocacy, engaged as participant researchers in their own communities and networked across difference with principles and practices that arise from BLSE courses, faculty, the Bread Loaf theater, and the entire Bread Loaf community. The network was expanded and deepened through grants from the DeWitt Wallace Fund in 1993, which included teachers and rural areas in the South, including South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, and Kentucky, but also in rural areas in Vermont and the Southwest,  including communities from the Navajo Nation, which is located in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and parts of Colorado, as well as Native Alaskan communities.

These regions, places, and people make up the core of what has now evolved to be a special project of BLTN.  Grassroots Social Action Teams led by Bread Loaf-connected community mentors and young people from Lawrence, MA; Atlanta; rural South Carolina; Louisville, KY; Vermont; and Navajo communities will convene at BLSE’s Ripton VT campus July 12-15 for a planning session to launch BLTN’s Next Generation Leadership Network. Along with issues that need to be addressed, NGLN young people bring to the table insightful perspectives on their worlds, knowledge, skills, talents, and an extensive repertoire of communicative and expressive practices. They have the capacity to be thought leaders, researchers, analysts, and storytellers. As a cohort, they set a compelling framework for a more richly defined view of “American diversity.” Their presence and their roles change conversations about education inside and outside of BLTN and public school classrooms and about public policy.

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