Winter 2021-2

Photos by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Due to the COVID-19 situation most of my projects are on hold. However, things are beginning to look more promising. Below are some of the projects that are keeping me engaged and challenged during this winter period.

I’ve been working as part of the planning team for the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference. Even with a double whammy of COVID and a snow storm, TRETC took place on Sunday, January 16 with a preconference at the new Moonshot Museum and a full-day session on Martin Luther King Day at the Energy Innovation Center in Pittsburgh. I served as a virtual co-moderator with Justin Aglio from the Readiness Institute of Penn State for the final session of the conference – an incredible Roundtable with seven local authors: Gregg Behr, Ryan Rydzewski, Karen Williams, Annie Blake, Rachelle Dene Poth, Melisa Butler, and Melissa Ungar.

I’m part of an educational outreach team looking at a new project, “Discovering the Crawford Grill.” We’re hoping to assemble a team of students to research and create a variety of productions showcasing the variety of people who have been part of the history of this seminal jazz club in the Hill District of Pittsburgh.

Since most of my consulting work has been on hold, I’ve spent more time on some of my volunteer projects. Over the past year I’ve been reviewing films for Film Pittsburgh. This winter I’m previewing films for the spring JFilm Festival. The annual JFilm Festival (April) presents international Jewish-themed films that deepen audiences’ understanding of the stories, history, and common experiences that connect us all. The eleven-day festival is complemented by visiting filmmakers, guest speakers and collaborative events with other local organizations.

I’ve also explored new avenues with the Neighborhood Learning Alliance (NLA) for after-school programs. NLA has developed a health careers pathway with local healthcare institutions that includes college-level courses that high school students take at Carlow University and the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). This summer we’ll begin a new teaching pathway program with Chatham University. I’m part of a Board committee searching for a new Executive Director (ED) of NLA. Stephen MacIsaac, founder and ED for the organization for 18 years, will retire this winter.

I completed teaching my fall course for the CMU Osher program, “The Teachings of Fred Rogers.” The course included an amazing group of experts and used the book, When You Wonder, You’re Learning. This winter the authors of the book, Gregg Behr and Ryan Rydzewski, will host a book study on four consecutive Tuesday evenings, 7 – 8 pm (ET): 1/11, 1/18, 1/25, and 2/1. You can register at no cost using this link: Registrants will need to “request to join” the What School Can Be community (if not already connected). Here’s the link for the first session: If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can go to: When You Wonder, You’re Learning.

I had a chance to explore a variety of Pittsburgh areas and take a trip to the Central Highlands of West Virginia this fall. To see my fall photos, follow this link: . I’ve been producing a series of slideshows showcasing my photographs. Here’s a recent movie from a visit to the Frick Museum to see their show “Victorian Radicalism.”

©NLG Productions 2021