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 that completed a search for a new Executive Director (ED) for NLA. Stephen MacIsaac, the founder and ED for the organization for 18 years, retired this winter. Kashif Henderson left his role as the Gifted and Talented Education Coordinator for Pittsburgh Public Schools to become NLA’s new ED. In the interim before Kashif assumes his NLA role I’ll help to guide the Programming for NLA.

I had a chance to explore a variety of Pittsburgh areas this winter. To see my winter photos, follow this link: . I’ve been producing a series of slideshows and collages showcasing my photographs. In the winter weeks I’ve explored exhibits at the Frick Museum and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. I’ve also been playing with new ways to use my photos. Here’s an example of a movie I created from this winter’s photos with a quotation from Percy Bysshe Shelley.