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Ancora Imparo: What We’re Reading

“Ancora Imparo”—Still, I am learning—is a bit of a mantra around the Partnership. This summer, to help us keep learning from each other and from you, we’re sharing some of what we’re thinking about, thanks to the authors and ideas we’re reading. We hope you’ll join the conversation by sharing with us your thoughts, in the comments here or on Twitter, about our picks or your recommendations for further reading—or listening.

Ghipsel Cibrian, School Support Manager…

…is reading

Franchise, by Marcia Chatelain.

Because… I am intrigued by how institutions develop and impact the communities they capitalize on.

Despite my awareness of the fast food industry’s impact on communities of color, I know less of how the fast food industry got a foot-hold in our communities.  Chatelain moves to understand the structural and social problems, as well as the infrastructure, federal policy shifts on business and urban development, convergence of civil and economic rights, and the turn to the private sector when the government failed to deliver—all of which led to the expansion of the fast food industry in black communities.

By questioning what would have become of the fast food industry had the federal government chosen social policy rather than business development, Chatelain also makes me question what would have become of the Catholic schools in the same neighborhoods if local and federal policy prioritized school choice.

Partnership Schools’ families enroll because they want a school community where their children thrive and are loved. For centuries, our schools have collectively served their communities, and our mission is to continue to make a quality and values based education accessible to all.  For these reasons, we are motivated to continue building a cultural, social and scholarship infrastructure unique to Partnership Schools, making Catholic schools another institution that prospers with communities they serve.

A taste:

“The mainstream discussion about fast food and health in communities of color disguises the intertwined histories of capitalism, racism, and violence that undergirds every part of the nation’s existence, and therefore foodways and dining are no exception.The history of blacks in fast food franchising—when integrated into the historical analysis of black capitalism—yields a story of troubling success. The meeting of burgers and black capitalism worked. In fact, one of black capitalism’s greatest experiments—to bring fast food within the reach of black communities—went so well that its origins have been under researched, its impacts masked, and its history largely ignored.”


Elizabeth Nuzzolese, Principal of Our Lady Queen of Angels School

…is reading

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences have Extraordinary Impact, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Because…I’ve been a big fan of the Heath brothers since Christian Dallavis first introduced me to Switch during my Remick summer. I appreciate the comprehensible and direct application derived from real cases studies and research in business and schools.

The Power of Moments has captivated me because it helps me understand and learn from some of my own extraordinary moments leading, living, and constantly learning in the covid pandemic school year.

Chip and Dan Heath note:

“Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen. We can be authors of them.”

Furthermore, “Research suggests that reflection or ruminating on our thoughts and feelings is an ineffective way to achieve true understanding. Studying our own behavior is more fruitful.”

The great contemplative monk Thomas Merton said, “Every moment and every event of every man’s (woman’s) life on earth plants something in his soul.”

As a woman of faith, I do believe that God is in all things, all moments, and I remain committed to understanding the miracles of moments to help our grow my school and myself.


Portia Gadson, Enrollment and Recruitment Coordinator (Cleveland)…

is reading

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, by Gregory Boyle, S.J.

Because…  This book forces us to face the fact that no life is better than any other. We are challenged to love unconditionally with the guidance of God and manifest that love through our intentional acts of kindness, compassion, and empathy.  There are two things that can cure a suffering nation: God’s love for us and our love for one another!

A Taste:

“Compassion isn’t just about feeling the pain of others; it’s about bringing them in toward yourself. If we love what God loves, then, in compassion, margins get erased. ‘Be compassionate as God is compassionate,’ means the dismantling of barriers that exclude.”

Maggie Johnson, Vice President of Academics…

…is reading…

“Give a Universal Curriculum a Chance: The NYC Initiative Holds Promise,” by Robert Pondiscio

Because: We’ve longed believed in the power of a content-rich, common curriculum. Most teachers spend an enormous amount of time sourcing material for their lessons, which far too often sidelines the preparation necessary to deliver rigorous, knowledge-rich content in a way that deeply engages every student in the room and is informed by the science of learning. While the selection and curation of a curriculum is perhaps more important than the decision to share one, we agree that it brings transformative potential for student learning.

A Taste:

Here’s a dirty little secret about teaching: Nearly every teacher in America — 99% of elementary teachers, 96% of secondary school teachers according to a RAND study — draws upon “materials I developed and/or selected myself” in teaching English language arts (the numbers are similar for math). In theory, a child’s teacher is supposed to be an expert at “differentiating” instruction for every student in the room. In reality, it mostly sends them to Google, Pinterest, and the lesson sharing website Teachers Pay Teachers scrambling for materials of unproven quality.