Spark. Grow. Unite.
2019-2020 CEEAS Initiatives
Announcing Our Brand New Initiative for March!
This March, your students will have the opportunity to explore a chapter from James Forman Jr.’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Locking Up Our Own. In this 10-day unit, students will learn to better understand the origins of efforts to decrease gun violence and delve into current activism around the issue. Students will read a chapter of the book, participate in a mock city council meeting, research current policy ideas to reduce gun violence (including student activism like the March For Our Lives and #NeverAgain Movement), and draft a letter to an elected official.
As with our other initiatives, CEEAS will host a competition and offer the opportunity for students to receive feedback on their work. First, students can submit designs for yard signs encouraging the community to act to reduce gun violence. Second, we’ll be working with a group of volunteers to offer feedback to students on their draft letters to an elected official-- there may even be the chance to receive feedback from individuals with policy backgrounds!
Check out our website now for more information, including
- Lesson Plans (Lessons are just 30 minutes, so you can fit them in!)
- Presentation Slides
- Suggested Calendar
Everything is ready for you to review and work into your teaching schedule!
If you're currently participating in Unbound, you can get ahead on the initiative by having your students read the chapter this month and count those reading minutes for Unbound!
We hope you consider joining us for this brand new and exciting initiative
Congratulations to our photo winners!
The LEADERBOARD is LIVE!
Check out the books you said you are reading this week!
Turning in your tally sheet...
First Week Tally Sheets Due Today!
Your first weekly challenge is due today! Please send your photos to email@example.com. We have gotten so many amazing submissions already! Keep them coming!
Weekly Challenge 2: Door Decoration Contest: Decorate a door in your school based on the setting of a book of your choice. Submit pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb 17th.
Weekly Challenge 3: Bookmark Design Challenge: Design a bookmark in one of these four book genres fantasy, mystery, action/adventure, and comic book/graphic novel. Click here for a bookmark template and submit your entries via email at email@example.com by Feb 24.
Unbound 2020 Teams
Unbound First Weekly Contest!
To enter the contest, send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb 10.
If you have any questions send us an email!
Happy Launch Day!!!
SHOUTOUT to Vel R. Phillips School!
Unbound 2020 Team Selection
Unbound Launches Monday!
Unbound will officially start this Monday, Feb 3. Tomorrow I will share a video of a live drawing of the Unbound teams and this year's theme. Tune into this page tomorrow to watch the video with your students. Get students excited about Unbound by hanging this promo poster. Keep tabs on the when to turn in your weekly tallies using this year's calendar. Have students track their reading minutes by using these bookmarks. Add the minutes to the weekly tracker (*see below) and upload your data to the tally form each Monday. If you are NEW to Unbound, we recommend watching this video to get started.
This year we will be having new challenges so stay tuned...we will have three weekly challenges and will announce the first one this Monday.
Please DO NOT hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com to ask us all your questions!
*The weekly tracker is a Google Sheet. When you click on the link it will make you your own copy. If you need an excel version just click File- Download as Excel. If you cannot open it at all please email us.
February is around the corner... Sign up for Unbound Readathon!
Unbound is a month-long readathon for students in secure settings, that provides a framework and incentives for them to increase their engagement with books. This is one of our most popular initiatives… you won’t want to miss it! Sign up using the button below!
Unbound updates for 2020
After 5 years of sponsoring unbound, we’re changing things up a bit. This year, we won’t be offering book bundles to every school that signs up… but, we’re increasing our prizes, which include opportunities to win book bundles for your schools. This year is going to be great!
If you’re looking to expand the book offerings at your school, we hope you’ll consider creating a DonorsChoose fundraiser. It’s a free and easy way to raise money to support projects in your classroom… we’ve had a few teachers already be successful in their fundraisers. Plus, if you share your fundraiser with us, we’ll do our best to share it! For more information on how to get started, read our guide here. We’ve also created a suggested booklist here.
It's not too late to join in on Uncovered!
There's still time for your students to write and submit stories for our journalism initiative, Uncovered. Read more details on this initiative below, and access our teacher resources HERE.
Uncovered is Here!
That's right, our new journalism initiative for January is here and we're launching it Monday 1/6!
We've created 5 days of curriculum to teach your students about writing articles for publication. All teacher resources are available on our website, here, including powerpoint slides, contest guidelines, and the contest calendar.
We are opening applications for student editors today! Student editors will be involved in helping to select which student works go into the publication, reading content submissions and editing for spelling, punctuation, and grammar, ensuring that all copy in the assigned section is of sound journalistic value and adheres to journalism ethics, contribute to decisions on the layout of the publication. Please have your students submit their application by Jan 9th. We will announce our student editors on Jan 10th. Click here to apply.
Announcing our January Initiative!
Sending Some Love Update:
For all schools that ordered book bundles, all have been ordered and should arrive by end of today. As a reminder, you can find suggestions for how to record on our website. Also, please consider sharing your student recordings with us via this portal. We love receiving these and sharing them through our newsletter. If your students have more feedback on the project, you please submit that as well!
Sign up for our December Initiative!
Participants are recorded as they read a holiday book aloud. They then send the recording and the book, as a gift, to a child—perhaps their own child, a younger sibling at home, or a child at a nearby daycare center.
If you work in a secure youth facility and are interested in signing up for Sending Some Love, please visit our website for more information and register below CEEAS will provide book bundles to the first 60 school sites that register! Don't wait, get your students excited about the holidays and sending some love home now!
November: DIY Initiative Month
Thank you to all the teachers and students who participated in Unsung. November is a ‘Do It Yourself’ Initiative. We have lots of former initiatives to choose from, and we encourage you to explore some of the options below:
Start from Scratch: This curriculum teaches students how to use Scratch to design animations. The animations are centered around restorative justice and can be a great therapeutic storytelling device.
Code Combat: Do you have your own Code Combat licenses? Host a school-wide competition for a week-long coding initiative. See which students are most inclined to pick up the skills of Python in this game based coding program. Don’t have licenses? Write a donorschoose or email us to purchase some.
Cardboard Challenge: This challenge is one that anyone can launch in their school. Reach out to the cafeteria and ask them to save all of their cardboard boxes for your students. After that, you are ready to engaging students in this STEAM activity to build arcade games out of cardboard boxes. View the website for some additional materials that can enhance their building process. This is a FAN FAVORITE! Looking for a way to securely cut cardboard?...try these safe cardboard knives. Don’t forget to watch the video!
Academic Bowl: This is a wonderful way to build a sense of community in your school. Select some questions and run a school-wide Academic Bowl. We suggest you use LIVE Quizizz mode to conduct the rounds. Don’t forget that your questions can be anything...academic, sports, theme based on holidays, or pop-culture. Order some trophies and watch those brains go to work!
Please share your work with us! We think giving students feedback on their work is a critical part of the learning process. If you have selected a project and send us your top three final products, we will get some of our reviewers to provide your students with written feedback.
If you are excited about incorporating all of these ideas into one month...no need to worry, there is another DIY month in May!
We will be back in late November for our December initiative, Sending Some Love!
The Unsung 2019 Album!!!
**We will include 3rd place soon.
Unsung 2019 Top Five Album Dropping Tomorrow!!!
Unsung Top Five Winners!!!
Congratulations!!! We are in the process of pushing the songs out so you can all listen to them. We are so proud of all the students and teachers involved in Unsung.
A story from Houston...
We have incredible sponsors who make all of this work possible. These stories help us bring them into the classroom with you and see the impact of Spark Grow Unite! Keep them coming!!
Your Top Ten Finalists...
The scores are coming in...
Next Wednesday we will announce the top ten finalists. We can tell there is going to be a lot of competition already. We really appreciate how hard you have all worked on your songs. We have listened to every song in the contest and we are blown away by your talent!
ANNOUNCING a Finalist Reviewer from the NBA!!!
Greg Taylor Senior Vice President, Player Development National Basketball Association
As Senior Vice President of Player Development for the National Basketball Association (NBA), Greg Taylor manages the league's initiatives that promote the personal, professional and social development of NBA players. He is responsible for NBA programs designed to orientate and educate rookies during their transition into the league, and advise team directors on overall player development, including best practices for managing off-the-court player matters. Taylor also leads yearlong programs assisting players in continuing education, financial management and career transition throughout their NBA careers and beyond.
Prior to joining the NBA in February 2013, Taylor served as President and CEO of the Foundation for Newark's Future, working to forge private and public sector partnerships to support education reform policies in Newark, N.J. During his tenure, Taylor led the foundation in several groundbreaking investments that transformed and improved educational opportunities for children in Newark.
Taylor also worked as Vice President for Programs of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where he led a series of innovative initiatives that empowered community leaders and organizations through early childhood education, racial equity and family economic security programs. He has also been a longtime youth basketball coach and is a current board member of both Athletes for Hope and the Newark Charter School Fund.
Taylor received his B.A. from Hunter College, City University of New York and his J.D. from the Bloomington School of Law at Indiana University. He is a native of New York City.
YJAM Feature on Unsung!!
October 7th is the LAST day to SUBMIT songs!
I will be visiting a school tomorrow and your email response may be delayed. Best of luck!!!
Announcing Marcy Mistrett...
Marcy Mistrett has been the CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice since 2014. The Campaign for Youth Justice advocates to end youth being charged, sentenced and incarcerated as adults. In the decade since the organization opened, more than 35 states have changed their laws making it more difficult to treat children as adults by launching campaigns that are anchored in the experiences of the youth and families most impacted by these harmful policies.
Trained in social work, Marcy began her career working in community-based legal aid with court-involved youth. She worked as part of the legal team capturing psycho-social histories and contributing to mitigation reports for youth, particularly youth tried as adults. After 7 years in direct service, Marcy worked at a national funding collaborative, the Institute for Community Peace, focused on developing community-based responses to violence prevention. As the Director of Training and Evaluation, Marcy trained grantees on effective coalition building, promising practices in violence prevention, resident engagement, structural racism, and sustainability strategies. Marcy also oversaw $2 million in evaluation grants to measure the collective impact of the community-driven initiatives.
Marcy left the Institute for Community Peace to open the D.C. office of The Posse Foundation, a national college success and leadership program that identified and trained young, urban leaders from diverse backgrounds, leveraged full-tuition college scholarships at top tier colleges and universities, and supported them through college graduation and into careers, with a 90% graduation rate.
Prior to coming to CFYJ, Marcy was the Executive Director of a cooperative, play-based preschool in Washington DC and partner at Onward Consulting, a non-profit consulting practice in the District. She has her BA from American University and her AM in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.
New Final Reviewer: Amy Lopez!
Returning from last year...Aloe Blacc!
***The submission portal will open October 1st!
Student Art Inspired by Unsung- Douglas County Youth Center, Nebraska
Only 15 labeled as a menace
Pulled into the streets, watched my homies rest in peace
Talking to my family once a week
In a cell starving, nothing to eat.
In and out of court, with a judge who hate me
Look me in the eye while she say im guilty.
Then its back to the cell, with no one to hold
My counselors say they care, but they don’t really know me.
Justice is corrupt, and that ain’t even just for me
Everybody got a situation, we just want to be free.
Unsung will officially start on September 16th!
We will be kicking off the first week with a launch contest. Click here to access the additional launch materials. The winning student and classroom will each receive a prize! Students will receive a lyric journal and you will receive a microphone for your classroom to help record your students’ songs! (one entry per student) The launch contest submission window closes September 20th.
The deadline for submitting songs to the overall Unsung Contest is October 7.
We will announce the top ten finalists on October 17th and the top five winners on October 24th.
Please note the following change in contest rules: Schools will be allowed to submit a maximum of three (3) songs. We encourage schools to host an internal song contest amongst your students to determine your top three for entry into our overall contest.
Soundtrap accounts are coming soon. All schools will have their student accounts by September 16th!
Launching Unsung Materials
We are so excited to launch the Unsung materials!
Don't forget to sign up.
Get started with the contest materials:
We have created a series of activities that are completely customizable to meet the needs of your students or the time you have available for the initiative. You do not have to complete all of the activities and you can add to them to bring in additional standards and content.
Curriculum Activities- Google Slideshow
***Need a Powerpoint version? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Teacher Video Guide-
Click below to learn more about the contest guidelines:
Get ready for the technology:
If you don’t have the technology or the internet...don’t worry! We don’t want access to technology to be a barrier for students. You are welcome to participate and capture your student’s songs and submit MP3 files. Some schools are going to record on a teacher computer or a tablet with a microphone. Get creative!
We are looking forward to working with you this year. As we prepare our launch of Spark. Grow. Unite. we would like to help you connect to all the resources. Follow the steps below to get started.
Checklist to Get Started:
We will be in touch soon!
-Kat and Christina